There are lots of high-class beef cuts out there. Two of the most known beef cuts are from Japan, Kobe beef and Wagyu Beef. A lot of people ask, what is their difference and what is better? Wagyu beef vs Kobe beef, let’s see who will win this battle of Japanese beef. Let’s check them out.
Beef Grading of Japanese Beef
Before we determine who wins in the battle of Wagyu beef vs Kobe beef, let’s first discuss the beef grading in Japan. Japan created beef ratings they use specifically for Wagyu and Kobe beef. Let’s discuss these beef ratings before we determine who
The rating is decided by the yield score and the meat score. The yield score corresponds with how high the amount of meat was sourced from a single cattle. It is rated from A to C. A means it is above standard. It yields around 72 percent of the weight of the carcass. B means standard yield with around 69-72 percent, and C has a below standard yield with below 69 percent of yield.
The meat score is scored from one to five, with five being the highest. It is decided by four factors, marbling, color, texture, and fat. The marbling grade is determined based on the beef marbling standard. The color and fat also have their own standards that decide on the color and fat grade of the beef. Texture grades the meat based on its firmness, from 5 being excellent to 1 being loose. After getting the average score, the meat is then graded.
The highest quality of wagyu beef is A5, meaning it has an above standard yield and has a high quality of meat. Wagyu beef scores around A4 or A5.
Let’s get to know each type of beef so we can determine which is the better one. In the topic of Wagyu beef vs Kobe beef, let’s start with Wagyu beef.
Wagyu beef is beef from Japanese bred cows. It is a Japanese word that literally means Japanese cow. Wagyu beef first appeared around 35,000 years ago. It was the result of Japanese cows being crossbred with European cows. There are four breeds that resulted from this crossbreeding, Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn. These breeds are now the majority of the Japanese beef trade.
Each breed has different types of flavors. Japanese Black is most known for its amazing marbling. The Japanese Brown is known for its mild taste and leaner meat. The Japanese Shorthorn has a savory flavor because of the glutamic and inosinic acid. The Japanese Polled is also lean, but it has a gamy texture and meaty taste.
The most common source of wagyu beef is the Japanese Black Cattle. There are no Japanese Polled or Japanese Shorthorn in the United States.
Wagyu Beef Characteristics
One of the most notable characteristics of wagyu beef is its fat marbleization. Marbleization is the description of how the meat is marbled with veins and streaks of fat. Wagyu beef has marbleization scores of 4 upwards. It means it has a good amount of fat marbling.
You don’t need to worry much about this fat since it is high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. It is high in sodium but not in cholesterol. This type of fat also melts at a lower temperature compared to other beef fats, and it is unsaturated, so it is healthier.
The second type is Kobe Beef. It is a strain of Japanese Black Cattle, so it is also a Wagyu Beef. All Kobe beef are Wagyu beef but not all Wagyu beef are Kobe beef. In the Hyogo Prefecture, the home of Kobe beef, there are countless restaurants serving Kobe beef. Some of them are Kobe Ishidaya Sannomiya and Kobe Beef Takakura, both in Kobe City. In the Tokyo Metropolis, there is Asakusa Imahan Kokusai Dori Honten if you don’t want to travel to Hyogo just for Kobe beef.
What Makes it Kobe?
There are seven standards in which a Wagyu beef is classified as Kobe. The first one is it must be sourced from a bullock or virgin cow. The next criteria to check is it should be a Tajima-Gyu born in Hyogo prefecture. It should also be fed, processed, and butchered within the Hyogo prefecture. The fifth standard to check is marbling. The marbling rating should be 6 or higher on the 12-point scale. You should also check the meat quality rating, it should be 4 or higher. Lastly, the overall weight of the cow should not exceed 470 kilograms.
There are only 3,000 – 4,000 cattle qualified as Kobe beef every year. There are only 200 to 300 farms that raise Wagyu beef cattle. Kobe beef is some of the most marbled types of beef, and it has a great effect on the taste and quality of meat.
Main Difference between Kobe Beef and Wagyu Beef
Kobe beef surely wins this debate of Wagyu beef vs Kobe beef. It is a Wagyu beef with a higher quality regulation. It ensures high quality than the regular Wagyu beef. Kobe beef is certainly higher in terms of price, and it is hard to acquire outside of Japan.
If you want to search for shops and restaurants that serve authentic Kobe beef, check out the official Kobe beef website. In the United States, There are 40 restaurants and 12 retail marketers of Kobe beef. Some of the restaurants serving authentic Kobe beef in the US are OMAKASE in San Francisco, a One-Star Michelin restaurant, and Mastro’s Steakhouse in New York.
Some people don’t know this but the Wagyu beef vs Kobe beef debate is not necessary at all. Not all Wagyu beef are Kobe beef, but not All Kobe beef are Wagyu beef. Kobe beef is under the category of Wagyu beef: it has a higher quality compared to the usual Wagyu beef and can only be found in Hyogo Prefecture in Japan. We hope this clears up any misunderstanding regarding both types of beef. Read more about wagyu beef.