Wagyu is an exquisite kind of marbled beef obtained from Japanese Kobe cows, raised using a special technology. Wagyu is understood as a combination of several breeds genetically predisposed to a marbling of meat (accumulation of fatty layers) and a high oleic acid content (omega-3 and omega-6).
By itself, marbled beef is not only more tender and tasty but also healthier than regular beef. Wagyu beef is also considered one of the most valuable types of beef in the world, and it has a unique, strong aroma and exquisite taste.
Is Wagyu beef worth the money? Wagyu beef is definitely worth the money. Due to the special conditions of keeping Wagyu cows, the finest streaks of fat appear in their meat, which gives Wagyu a surprisingly delicate taste and endows the meat with additional useful properties. The substances contained in Wagyu beef have anticarcinogenic properties and prevent the formation of cholesterol.
Why Is Wagyu Beef So Special?
Wagyu is the world’s most expensive and rarest marbled meat. This meat is made exclusively of Japanese cows grown in special conditions using technologies, which the Japanese jealously keep a secret. Real wagyu beef is very rare and costs several times more than premium beef.
Why is Wagyu beef so expensive? Wagyu beef is so expensive because it is rare and costly to grow. Due to the abundance of fatty layers, Wagyu beef is very tender and juicy. For the same reason, after slaughter, it remains fresh for a long time. The fat in Wagyu beef does not contain harmful acids, but on the contrary, it is considered useful. The fatter the meat, the more expensive it is.
Even though the Wagyu cows are destined for a sad fate, their stay on the farm still resembles a resort. Let’s find out how Wagyu cows are brought up.
Wagyu Beef Raising and Feeding Process
Wagyu means “Japanese cow.” This is not one, but a whole set of breeds of cows whose meat is prone to marbling. Originally, they were bred in Japan using special technologies to include a certain diet and daily regimen.
How is wagyu beef raised? From birth until the age of six months, calves are given natural milk and then are released to graze in the meadows for several months. Then calves are placed in separate soundproof rooms. They are suspended on reins so that, being motionless, their muscles nevertheless remain in tension. This position contributes to an even distribution of fatty layers in the meat.
The cows are placed in soundproof rooms and suspended on reins to restrict their movement and promote an even distribution of fat layers in the meat. Their diet includes, among other things, selected grain and expensive fresh beer (or sake). As for gymnastics, they are given a manual or vibration massage. Farmers also often play classical music for Wagyu cows. What a life!
Farmers strive to create the most comfortable, almost sanatorium conditions for the Wagyu cows. The animals are fed with selected grain and are given expensive beer (in some provinces, they use sake), and instead of sanatorium gymnastics, they organize manual and vibration massage. And to improve digestion, they include classical music. The grain feeding period lasts about 10 months.
Due to the abundance of fatty layers, Wagyu cow meat is very tender and juicy. For the same reason, after slaughter, it remains fresh for a long time. Surprisingly, the fat in this meat does not contain harmful acids, but on the contrary, it is considered useful. The fatter the meat, the more expensive it is.
Like other traditions carefully guarded by their ancestors, in Japan, these technologies are honored and treated with jealousy, similar to how the French cling to the definition of “champagne.” However, as in the case of sparkling wine, Wagyu is already produced all over the world. Australia and New Zealand are considered the leaders in production, where they cross Japanese and local cows. As a rule, one bull is brought from a Japanese farm, which is quite enough to get numerous marble offspring.
History of Japanese Beef
The history of Japanese relations with meat, especially beef, was quite dramatic. Until the 6th century A.D., the Japanese were meat-eaters, but then Buddhism came to the country. And the emperor issued a decree limiting the consumption of meat. Simultaneously, the restrictions applied only to animals raised in captivity, and the aristocracy quite legally continued to hunt game.
The situation began to change in the late 19th century when the new emperor decided to adopt Western customs. He himself began to eat meat and immediately received a revolt of monks who believed that meat-eating would destroy the soul of the Japanese. The revolt was suppressed, and meat firmly entered the diet of all country residents, especially after the end of World War II.
Initially, Japan began to sell cow breeds abroad, thereby creating competition for itself in the marble beef industry in distant Australia and the United States. Australia is the world leader in the export of marbled beef, but Japan has taken the palm in terms of product exclusivity.
The fact is that Wagyu meat is made from several breeds of Japanese cows, many of which were sold overseas and mixed with local cows. Kobe meat can only be produced from the Tajima cow. These cows undergo a special selection on Japanese farms in Hugo Prefecture, as a result of which their body’s tendency to accumulate intramuscular fat is determined. It is the latter characteristic that creates the characteristic “marble” pattern of meat. During cooking, the fat melts, making the meat very tender and juicy.
Is Wagyu beef healthier than normal beef? Wagyu beef is a lot healthier than normal beef because of the right ratio of saturated to monounsaturated fats. Wagyu beef contains choline, vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, E, H and PP, and the minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, manganese, iron, sulfur, iodine, phosphorus and sodium.
According to Characteristics and Health Benefits of Highly Marbled Wagyu and Hanwoo Beef research, Wagyu beef also contains conjugated acid, strengthening the immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory effects, reduces the risk of heart disease, asthma and diabetes.
Is Wagyu beef worth the price? Wagyu beef is definitely worth the price. If you have the opportunity, you should try Wagyu beef because Wagyu is so unique in the culinary sense that it can be safely attributed to humanity’s cultural heritage. Wagyu is usually served with several sauces, emphasizing and revealing the rich taste of marbled meat in its own way.
Marbled Wagyu beef is great for making a classic steak. Due to its extremely tender texture, the meat is cooked in minutes. It takes 6 minutes to fry a steak until medium-rare.