As Kobe beef is a type of wagyu beef, Kobe beef is graded using the wagyu grade system. I am not about to get involved in the discussion regarding the definition of Kobe/Wagyu beef but let me tell you that as a visitor from South Africa to Brisbane in Australia, I had the most wonderful 300 gram Wagyu rump at a lovely restaurant called the Grove in Ashgrove, Brisbane. These cattle are massaged with sake and are fed a daily diet that includes large amounts of beer. If you ever find yourself in the unique position to try authentic Kobe beef, do it! I’ll let you know if they come up with any suggestions. The name “Kobe” is a reference to the specific region in Japan where a premium variety of that beef is raised. While there is no hard evidence to suggest that any of these techniques improve flavor or texture, they certainly give the imagery of the cows living as kings, adding to the decadence of a Kobe beef meal. Hi Jessica, Glad you enjoyed it. I like the line “epitome of fine dining.” I’ve never been to Japan before but really looking forward to go there in the future. Are you from HK yourself? When we do spend our hard-earned money on something expensive, we just want to get what we pay for. I love their steak. During its life, it must have been fed only grains and grasses from within the Prefecture, and upon its death, be processed in approved slaughterhouses in Hyōgo, and have a gross carcass weight of 470kg or less. I recently had Kobe beef in Kobe, Japan and it was by far the best beef I’ve ever had. While you may not agree with it, this is the official definition of Kobe beef, hence why cattle reared in the US cannot be labeled as such. Kobe beef must come from Tajima-gyu cattle that were born, raised and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture and have only been fed from grains and grasses from within the Prefecture, and hence any beef produced in the United States, whether from Tajima-gyu cattle or … Do you have any recommendations for good eats in South Africa and/or for any must-do’s in general? But, in fact, it's not even the most expensive or most prized wagyu. I live in Maine and cattle farming has been in the family for five generations and I’ve heard everything imaginable on the proper rearing methods of Kobe. It is often cited as being healthier than commercial beef because of its high concentration of monounsaturated fats and omega-3s. I appreciate your comment but I don’t understand your reasoning. In addition, the Beef Marbling Score (BMS), must be 6 or above. Address: 1-3-14 Motomachidori, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0022, Hyogo Prefecture. A Tajima-gyu cow in America may be sent to Japan and, if it spends half its life there, can be considered wagyu (Japanese cattle), but never Kobe beef. What are the requirements for real Kobe beef? I appreciate your examples and gets at exactly what I am trying to say about geography being an important factor in producing genuine Kobe beef. The reality is that only a portion of the wagyu beef raised in Japan comes from Kobe, and it is not regarded as the highest quality wagyu beef produced in Japan. For wagyu beef to be classified as Kobe beef, it must have a yield and quality score of A4 or A5. Kobe beef consistently scores this phenomenally; domestic Wagyu or hybrids reach 6 to 9 on the BMS scale while Kobe typically reaches 10, despite 6 being the minimum. Well I got news for them the exact same breed can and is raised in many other places of the world now and it is a fabulous product. The issue here really lies with misleading the consumer. Awesome article, I enjoyed it very much. Even if the beef has come from a Tajima-gyu bloodline cow, it must meet all other criteria to be considered Kobe beef. Morgan Ranch. And because it taste as good as what they raise? Legal rules for Kobe beef, raised only in Hyogo … We’ll go more in depth to make sure you get the gist.Kobe beef is a particular variety of Wagyu beef. You may not agree that Kobe beef should have the exclusive status it does or may feel that you can get better value for money by buying wagyu beef locally in the US. Justin Peck In the case of Kobe beef, no regulations exist outside of Japan so the term can be used freely without any repercussions. Have a great time and let us know how you like it. Remember the yield and quality scores for wagyu we talked about above? What did you think? As much as we'd all like to think we can get a premium Kobe steak or burger for an extra $10 at the local gastro pub, unless you're paying a couple of hundred bucks for it, it's not Kobe beef. Yet despite growing media attention, it seems to have made little difference to consumer awareness or spending in the US, where menu items like Kobe sliders have already taken a foothold in the new age of foodie-ism. However, there is no evidence that this is practiced across the board and it certainly cannot be deduced to a requirement or method in the production of Kobe beef. Then this is it. Even prior to that, only boneless, fresh Japanese beef could be imported and none of it was Kobe, as slaughterhouses in Hyōgo Prefecture (from which only authentic Kobe beef can come from) were not approved for export by the USDA. That higher concentration of fat is just how Kobe beef gets its superb marbling complexion. Can you also email me a list of restos you recommend for Kobe beef either in Osaka or Kobe? I very much enjoyed the article as I am going to Japan on Sunday and am going try kobe beef. Yes Kobe beef is divine! Jessica, You were very clear. Kobe beef is rare and expensive, even in Japan. While some genuine Kobe beef is now being exported to the US, it still is quite exclusive to Japan given the small quantities that are leaving the country. I might not be in Japan for a while. This looks so good! Although this doesn’t mean that the quantity of exported beef has increased dramatically, as there is still very little genuine Kobe beef to begin with and most still remains for domestic consumption here in Japan. 5: Excellent 8 – 12 I’m staying in Osaka for 2 days and am thinking of making a side trip to Kobe to get the real deal. Luckily for them, one bite of the famed “melt-in-your-mouth” fare usually requires little convincing. Again, this may not be something you agree with, but this is what Kobe beef is. If you’re ever in my country of South Korea, be sure to seek out hanu (한우), Korean domestic beef. If you are a producer of fine beef stock, then market it for what it is, great beef, not Kobe beef. Regarding the beer and massage, as I mentioned in the article, some farmers may do this and it can be argued that the myths originated from actual practice. We enjoyed our first meal there so much we went back on our last night. I am going to japan next month, as chat, can u please send me where I can taste some real deal kobe beef as well? Thank you, Jonathan. (Hyogo’s capital city is Kobe, thus the name). Beef in particular has a few special brands and varieties that people pay top dollar to try. Kobe Beef How Is It Raised; Kobe Beef How Its Raised; Recipe: Appetizing Stuffed corned beef in pretzel bread. To search for the closest one to you, please click the link within the article (in the Kobe beef in the U.S. section). While the USDA's ban on Japanese beef importation was lifted on 27 August 2012, only very small quantities of Kobe beef are distributed to select buyers. Please understand that wagyu beef only means it is meat from Japanese cattle, it doesn’t mean it is Kobe beef. That accolade goes to Matsusaka beef, which domestically in Japan is generally considered to be the best Japanese beef due to its higher on average fat content, a key indicator of quality wagyu. Along with these important steps in the raising and preparation of the meat, each animal has its own 10 digit serial number that allows its entire lifecycle to be entered and checked from a large database to ensure authentic meat. Stuffed corned beef in pretzel bread. To protect the authenticity, each cattle that are born inside the prefecture has its unique serial number to keep track and validate the animal’s lineage and life cycle. From 2010 to August 2012, the import of any Japanese wagyu beef from Japan, Kobe or otherwise, to the United States was banned due to concerns over foot and mouth disease believed to have originated from livestock in Japan. However, for those who wish to make that decision for themselves, there are few opportunities in the US (at least for now) to do so. In the US, you can expect to pay $50 per ounce (less than 30 grams). However, just because the beef may come from the same breed, does not make it Kobe beef. Are there any places you can think of that sell this beef in Alberta Canada! Get a grip on yourself; there is absolutely no possibility that the meat industry will disappear entirely. The term Wagyu actually means Japanese beef, and Kobe beef is just a Japanese beef from the region of Kobe. A prerequisite of beef to be officially certified "Kobe beef" is that the bullock or virgin Tajima cow has been born in Hyogo Prefecture from a Tajima cow having a pure lineage, and that the bullock or virgin cow has been bred and raised by a designated farmer in the prefecture and slaughtered at one of the slaughterhouses in the prefecture. Kobe beef comes from Tajima-gyu cattle, and has to go through rigorous screenings and checks to ensure that it is proper Kobe beef. Cheers and good luck on your food safari. :), Thank you for this very interesting article Jess!!! Kobe beef must be assigned a 10-digit ID number, so that its authenticity can be traced back to the individual cow it came from. Given its price and reputation, you might think that Kobe beef is the most expensive beef in the world. That said, there have already been several class action suits filed against restaurants in America who were allegedly selling fraudulent Kobe beef, and affected consumers are demanding their money back. You have no right to shame other people for their decision to enjoy meat, don’t shove your beliefs on other people. Although, if lower quality beef is being marketed as Kobe beef then that may do something to its reputation worldwide. Kobe beef is highly coveted and regulated in Japan; they don't just send it anywhere without knowing exactly who it is going to and where it will end up. This system uses a combination of letters and numbers and is used to rate the quality of Japanese beef. Often wagyu in the United States is cross-bred with Angus cattle and may be more Angus beef than wagyu. Come, eat, and be happy! Kobe beef, sometimes misspelled as Colby beef, comes from the Tajima-gyu breed of cattle found in Japan's Hyōgo Prefecture, of which Kobe is the capital and the meat's namesake. Once you’ve found a reputable restaurant that serves legitimate Kobe beef, you’ll be pleased to know that most dishes feating this delectable meat are right around the $50 mark. My business partners and I are going to SW Steakhouse next month. By no means does any wine connoisseur believe that the best sparkling wine is champagne. A third-generation ranch located in the sand hills of … Sound confusing? Kobe beef must come from Tajima-gyu cattle that were born, raised and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture and have only been fed from grains and grasses from within the Prefecture, and hence any beef produced in the United States, whether from Tajima-gyu cattle or not, cannot be Kobe. I’m going to Japan soon and will try the Japanese A5 Wagyu. If you are going to spend money on Kobe beef because you want to try it, then you should be getting the real deal. I have tried Japanese and it is good, but for half the price I can buy American Kobe and it is not much different when you buy from a quality producer. With a diet of rich barley, golden wheat straw and potatoes, free of artificial hormones and animal byproducts, the cattle at Snake River Farms are fed four times longer than average cattle are fed. Though there are many rumors about how the cows are fed and raised – such as the rumor that these cows are massaged daily and given beer to induce a larger appetite – the actually rearing process is a closely guarded secret that few know about. Only meat of Tajima-gyu cows that fulfill strict lineage and quality criteria can be termed ‘Kobe beef.'. Not sure where the confusion was. Many thanks. Are French fries better in France/Belgium? If you’re looking for something a little more personable, then you better book ahead at Steak Aoyama. The late great Anthony Bourdain described Kobe sliders as the worst dish in America. Sounds fantastic! Me too, Ariette! I therefore recommend contacting the restaurants on this list in advance to confirm whether they will have Kobe beef on the menu during your visit or whether it can be pre-ordered. Only when you start getting a nice, smoky oil in your pan, drop in your pre-cut pieces of Kobe beef and simple sear the outsides. Follow to get the latest 2020 recipes, articles and more! The very specific requirements of genuine Kobe beef are what make it so highly sought after, again, whether this is something you agree with or not. If you think that only Japanese people can breed such cows then what does that say about Japanese people in Australia or American breeding the same species with the same food and conditioned the same way? The massage is only done because they are kept in a stall most their life and not allowed to move very much because of the linited amount of pasture in japan so it is required to keep the animal healthy. There are a couple 100% Certified Waygu beef ranches in the US. Great article! Kobe beef has a … We’ll let you know if anyone responds with suggestions. I’m not sure, but I can ask our readers if they know of any places. Trim the fat around the edges of the meat and use said fat trimmings to grease the pan. Using a greenhouse with soil imported from Thailand a California grow company could not reproduce those alkaloids even with altering the variables they could control. Nanakusa offers Kobe-style beef that has been domestically raised in the traditional Japanese manner at Snake River Farms in Idaho. If you've ever asked yourself, why is Kobe beef so expensive? Yes it is unsustainable, but it’s never going to go away entirely. We have a growing community on Facebook, join our Facebook Group and be a part of it! In the words of Yoshinori Nakanishi, a Kobe cattle farmer who’s been in the business for nearly 40 years, “Neither I nor any beef farmer I know would ever dream of giving cows beer.”. Most Japanese farmers refute the beer theory although it is said to induce appetite. They also, of course, serve delicious Kobe beef cooked to perfection! 4: Good 5 – 7. :) Their website does have some delicious looking images! Kobe beef contributes to just 0.06% of beef consumption in Japan, and only a very small fraction of that is exported. :). Perfect and flawless explanation. Oh and one more thing, this is like saying the Japanese can raise angus beef if the wanted too, and the only good angus beef comes from one little part of the United States get real. I found the article extremely interesting and informative. To be classified as Kobe beef it must adhere to all the criteria including being born, raised and slaughtered in Hyōgo Prefecture. and what is the expected average price for it? Hmmm. However, out of respect for what that region has managed to accomplish, foreign producers should respect what Kobe means, and not ride the coat tails of the Kobe region. So when I’m rubbing my wife’s back I’m actually promoting fat growth like this Kobe beef? :) Prepared to pay for a special local experience though and I feel it’s different when you live and spend a long time in one place. Even the term ‘wagyu' is very loosely applied in the United States. One such beef hails from the tiny island country of Japan, and is called Kobe Beef. Yield grade determines the ‘cutability' of the meat, meaning the proportion of meat that can be obtained from a certain part of the cow's carcass. Sorry for the belated reply! Looks like the author of this article has read to many Forbes articles! Kobe beef is a highly marbled type of Wagyu beef that comes from the Tajima cattle strain of the Japanese Black breed. Kobe beef is the most popular brand of the wagyu beef coming from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle. So it is really in terms of fairness to the consumer that the issue of labeling has arisen in recent times. Although cattle were raised in Japan for thousands of years, they were draught animals for a long time. By far the best steak I have ever tasted and the whole in the wall atmosphere and welcoming staff made it even more special. 1: Poor 1. However, even this very broad definition of wagyu only applies to farmers and abattoirs; it does not extend to restaurants. Glad to hear you had a great experience there too! For that we need to dig a little deeper. Firstly, the cow itself must be a purebred Japanese Black steer (castrated bull) or virgin cow from the Tajima-gyu lineage. I’m sure you will, Kat! I really appreciate it. Any restaurant serving real Kobe beef should be able to tell you exactly where it came from, its precise grade, their distributor, and be able to produce the 10-digit authentication number. Just because you like the “Big Three” (beef, pork, and chicken) doesn’t mean that you’re settling for a lesser quality of meat. Its prized value must also be credited to the mysterious rearing techniques said to aid the meat's delectable flavor and texture. Address: 2-14-5 Shimoyamatedori, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0011, Hyogo Prefecture. Hi Robert, thank you! You may think that rearing the same type of cow elsewhere produces the same end product. I’m heading to Japan in a couple of weeks and having Kobe beef is on the list! In the United States, there are currently only 33 restaurants that have access to genuine Kobe beef. So, what is wagyu beef and what is the difference between wagyu and Kobe beef? I can’t speak for your own tastes and I’ve never been to that restaurant, but, in my opinion, Kobe beef takes wagyu to a whole other level. A Brief History of Kobe Beef. And even if it meets those requirements, it's still subjected to a strict grading policy to guarantee it's only the best quality of meat before it's certified. While I hate to put a dampener on a good story, it basically has to be put down to myth. This is all a matter of personal taste and opinion. By this I mean that for us, we age the skun halves in a sterile environment at refrigerator temp for 2.5 days. In fact, only around 3,000 heads of Tajima-gyu cattle are certified as Kobe beef each year. The fact that they almost never walk anywhere or get to graze in a pasture is why the muscles are so soft and undeveloped. “American Kobe” is one of those misnomers – there is really no such thing. The number of restaurants authorized to sell Kobe beef in the USA has actually increased one since I last updated this article and now stands at 33 – this is straight from Japanese sources (as per the official link I posted in this article). However, that too, is already quite well established. Hi Matt, thanks for stopping by! This restaurant has always been a hotspot of activity throughout the years, and with so many satisfied customers coming back for more, they’re always happy to serve top quality meat with top quality service. Must be two definitions of Kobe beef here. If you’re lucky enough to even see Kobe beef being sold somewhere, you might be disheartened after one glance at the price tag: $150 (American) and up per pound. And Kobe beef is one of those once or very few times in a lifetime kinds of foods for most people. All this information may sound confusing, but at the end of the day, it's quite simple. Never without a pen and paper, you'll most often find her delving into the world of festivals and culture. Japanese beef must grade at the same level across all quality criteria to be given that status. Yeah, those myths make for a good story but not really reality, I’m afraid. Yes. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest and don’t miss any blog post! Typically, most cattle are raised either on pasture or in a feedlot setting until the reach somewhere around 1,000 pounds, give or take a few hundred pounds. While there are strict laws in place on the usage of the term ‘Kobe beef' in Japan, such standards are largely unrecognized abroad, meaning that restaurateurs outside Japan are not bound by the same stringent guidelines, leaving them to get creative with their menu descriptions. That is the point that some seem to be missing, for you to have Kobe beef in another country it has to have fit those criteria and therefore could only be if the meat has been exported, not the cow (unless already dead), Anyway I absolutely can’t wait to try it next week. Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa. Thank you very much for chiming in. The difference I guess with the champagne case is that the French have successfully patented it worldwide. Because the region was so isolated, however, these original wagyu cattle were not transferred for work in other regions of Japan. The one in Hong Kong? A 2000 vintage cote de boeuf (rib steak) costs around $3,200. I hope that helps to clarify. When your meat is done cooking, let it rest for twice the amount of time you cooked it for (so if you cooked it for two minutes for a rare steak, rest for four minutes before eating). This means that A4 wagyu with a BMS of 5 does not meet the criteria to be called Kobe beef. See our. It’s the Blue Butcher in Hong Kong. I guess ALL those cow massages paid off for the owners! Hi Olga, there are few in SF bay area where you can get genuine real Kobe beef. Jessica – I am wondering what restaurant you are at in the picture above? Hmmmm, Thanks for commenting, Ariette. Or any other method? Our cows and calves are raised at the ranch in Scio, Oregon, the heart of Oregon's Willamette Valley. This is not very different than the term “champagne” in the wine industry. While Kobe beef must have a BMS of 6+, Matsusaka must be 10-12. Thank you, Paul! Hi Jessica Kobe beef is renowned for its superior flavor, tenderness and high amount of intramuscular fat, giving the meat a marbled appearance. There’s beef, pork, chicken, and other more exotic meats like alligator, rabbit, ostrich, and so on. There is nothing inherent in the recipe that requires location-specific ingredients. 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Wagyu beef quality is determined by evaluating four different categories: the thin strips or flecks of fat known as marbling; the color and brightness of the beef; firmness and texture; and the color, luster and quality of the fat. :), This post may contain compensated links. This is a matter of personal opinion. You don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount of money to just taste a super salty piece of meat. Japan is waiting! Don’t despair; although the purchasing of such meats will set you back a pretty penny, there are restaurants around the world that cater to the need to serve top-quality meat, and may in fact also sell Kobe beef. A must-try when you visit Japan, Juliann! The most expensive beef in the world though is reportedly from a farm in Northeastern France where a butcher who runs his own abattoir creates aged steaks from his Blonde Aquitaine stock through a process of hibernation. Kobe beef cannot be compared to French fries. 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