Wagyu 101 | Everything You Must Know About Wagyu!

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If you are a steak lover or has been around with people who love meat, then you probably heard of the word wagyu. Today, we are going to tackle about wagyu and everything you need to know about it.

What is Wagyu?                    

Wagyu is a Japanese term for Japanese cow. However, it is not just an umbrella term for a Japanese cow. It pertains to a specific breed of Japanese cattle that is genetically unique. Those genetic qualities pertain to a marbling of fat inside the muscle tissues of a cow. In other words, the fat is metabolized internally and integrated deep within the muscles.

History of Wagyu

The very first Wagyu cattle were first brought to the United States in 1976 from Japan. They were bred with Continental breeds and American Angus. In 1993, American farmers were able to import Japanese black female cattle, and the breeding started. It is the start of the breeding of full-blood Wagyu cattle in the United States.

Types of Wagyu

  • Kuroge (Japanese Black) is the famous variety and consists of about 90% of the overall produced wagyu. An example of kuroge is Kobe and known for its buttery texture.
  • Miyazaki – It is often celebrated as one of the best meats in the country.
  • Saga beef – It has a distinct sweetness which is a result of breeding cattle in mild climate.
  • Akage (Japanese brown) is known for its lean, flavorful cut characterized by its distinct sweetness.
  • Nihon Tankaku (Japanese shorthorn) – It has a low-fat content.
  • Mikako (Japanese Polled) – It has the leanest meat, contains a high level of amino acid, which also explains its chewy texture.

Wagyu Gradings

The grading systems for Japanese wagyu are as follows:

  • Score 1 – poor
  • Score 2 – below average
  • Score 3 to 4 – average
  • Score 5 to 7 – Good
  • Score 8 to 12 – excellent

Note

The cream of the top in the grading system is 12. Sometimes you would see a rating of A5, which also corresponds to the highest grade for Wagyu beef. They are cattle fed the best foods such as grain and corn. When you see the letter A in the grading system, it pertains to the yield grade, which is way different from the number system. What is meant with yield grade is the cutability of the cut. Yield A means 72% or higher percentage yield. Lower percentages include yield B and yield C.

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