One such beef hails from the tiny island country of Japan, and is called Kobe Beef. We enjoyed our first meal there so much we went back on our last night. Sound confusing? By this I mean that for us, we age the skun halves in a sterile environment at refrigerator temp for 2.5 days. Never without a pen and paper, you'll most often find her delving into the world of festivals and culture. and what is the expected average price for it? This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 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. There is no magic beans the Japanese have that make the same cow taste better in Japan just because it was raised there! Therefore, all Kobe beef is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe. 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, that too, is already quite well established. Therefore opportunities are limited to try it outside of Japan. Fact: First, Kobe and Wagyu aren't the same thing. We are very lucky to have these cattle in the United States so we can enjoy what Japan has enjoyed for long time. The slaughtering has to be done within the prefecture as well, and the cow has to have a weight of 470kg or less upon carcass weighing. The story of Kobe beef begins with the importation of wagyu cattle into the isolated Kobe region. If you’re ever in my country of South Korea, be sure to seek out hanu (한우), Korean domestic beef. 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.”. 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. Here are the top three Kobe beef restaurants in Japan: Not only is the food here amazing, but the owners of the restaurant are a delight to interact with! You can already begin to understand how rare real Kobe beef actually is. Thanks, Christador! In order to call a wine champagne, it has to be from the Champagne region of France. Kobe beef is all about where it comes from and being raised in specific conditions in a specific place. There’s the 212 Steakhouse in New York. Whether your a human or an animal . 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. “There’s no way that you could appreciate the things that make Kobe interesting and good and expensive in a little burger or a meatball drowned in sauce. 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. I completely agree with you. 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. Are you referring to the Blue Butcher Restaurant? 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. 3: Average Get a grip on yourself; there is absolutely no possibility that the meat industry will disappear entirely. Tajima-gyu cows, from which Kobe beef comes from, belong specifically to the Japanese Black breed. Glad to hear you had a great experience there too! Japan is waiting! Kobe beef is the most popular brand of the wagyu beef coming from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle. It is a holistic term that is used to refer to any meat from Japanese cattle and, despite common misconception, wagyu is not a breed itself, nor does the term have any relation to quality. Can you also email me a list of restos you recommend for Kobe beef either in Osaka or Kobe? But, in fact, it's not even the most expensive or most prized wagyu. This is all a matter of personal taste and opinion. The best score that can be obtained is A5, and within that A5-12, the latter being extremely rare. You lose all of that immediately (in a Kobe slider). It’s expensive and you basically have to go to Japan to try it at this stage (unless you can get your hands on the very little that has started to be exported). The issue here really lies with misleading the consumer. Have a great time and let us know how you like it. I appreciate your comment but I don’t understand your reasoning. Go directly to the source and select an accredited Kobe beef restaurant, retailer or wholesaler in your country from the list or save your pennies for a trip to Japan for the guaranteed real deal. For wagyu beef to be classified as Kobe beef, it must have a yield and quality score of A4 or A5. Because of that I bet you will like these : Hope I find out one day. American Wagyu (Kobe) Beef & Cattle. If I ever find out the answer, I’ll let you know! It certainly isn’t limited to a small region within Japan. How fascinating! We’ll let you know if anyone responds with suggestions. 5: Excellent 8 – 12 I live in the North East of the U.S, and I was wondering if there are any restaurant’s with legitimate Kobe beef in New York/ New Jersey/ Pennsylvania/ Deleware/Maryland are. But I’m not going to get into that argument. You may think that rearing the same type of cow elsewhere produces the same end product. Hmmm. Grade BMS No. Great job on the article! Congratulations. It doesn’t have to be genuine kobe but the same type of cattle would be good to try. Our Wagyu group was purchased from Crescent Harbor Ranch in Oak Harbor, WA. Credits: Japanexperterna.se. This article concerns itself with defining Kobe beef and how it is different to other kinds of beef, not in suggesting that anything other than Kobe beef cannot be of fantastic, equal or even superior quality. Wagyu is given a letter grade (A through C) for yield and a number grade (1 through 5) for quality. There were fewer in the past (hence why the lower number mentioned in other articles), however, now that the industry is opening up a little more to foreign export, we can find more locations in which we can try Kobe beef in overseas restaurants. American Kobe beef is an oxymoron. I visited Kobe recently and the place, plates, and prep techniques look exactly like one of the Kobe Beef restaurants we ate at. It is much more effective to keep the cattle penned up and feed them straw and hay. Hi Jessica, So, what is wagyu beef and what is the difference between wagyu and Kobe beef? :). Luckily for them, one bite of the famed “melt-in-your-mouth” fare usually requires little convincing. Those who can’t book ahead will be sorely disappointed when they’re turned away at the door, but with such a high-end selection of meat it should be obvious that supplies are limited. Making up only 0.06% of the amount of meat consumed in Japan (with very little leaving the country), this exclusive food product should be on nearly every person’s ‘must try’ list for cultural foods. Most Kobe beef remains in Japan for domestic consumption. 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. Hahaha I’m sure there are. And Kobe beef is one of those once or very few times in a lifetime kinds of foods for most people. So it is really in terms of fairness to the consumer that the issue of labeling has arisen in recent times. Kobe beef has a … Almost all beef in Japan is raised is small pens or sheds because there simply is no grazing land. 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). What did you think? 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. If they don't know or hesitate, this is a sure sign that it is not authentic Kobe beef. Cheap Healthy Recipes, Thanks, Stojan! So when I’m rubbing my wife’s back I’m actually promoting fat growth like this Kobe beef? There is only one definition of Kobe beef. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Kobe Beef isn’t the only famous Japanese meat, Wagyu Beef unique from Japan and pretty popular (and expensive) too. 4: Good 5 – 7. French fries are thinly-cut potatoes fried in oil. In addition, the Beef Marbling Score (BMS), must be 6 or above. 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. That place happens to be Hyōgo Prefecture. They eat Timothy & Alfalfa hay throughout the year that we grow and bale in Sisters. It’s nice to finally know the truth. Now imagine the juiciest, most tender, velvety steak you've ever had and realize that it … 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. For example, beef that is assessed as A for yield and 5 across three of the four quality measurements, and 4 for one, can only be given a score of A4. 2: Below average 2 Beef in particular has a few special brands and varieties that people pay top dollar to try. “What makes Kobe good is texture. First, you want to thaw the meat in the refrigerator the night before if it was frozen, then leave it on the counter before cooking to bring it up to room temperature. As Kobe beef is a type of wagyu beef, Kobe beef is graded using the wagyu grade system. Have you ever owned any wagyu cattle? Japanese beef must grade at the same level across all quality criteria to be given that status. To search for the closest one to you, please click the link within the article (in the Kobe beef in the U.S. section). Seating is limited so that the owners can give the highest quality experience to each guest, and many people are turned away daily for not having a reservation. Fortunately for consumers, this information is available freely online. However, even this very broad definition of wagyu only applies to farmers and abattoirs; it does not extend to restaurants. This is a matter of personal opinion. Herd isolation and distinctive feeding techniques are said to have led to unique differences in taste and texture. In order to be considered Kobe beef, beef must come from the Tajima-gyu breed of cattle which are born, raised, and even slaughtered in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan, of which Kobe is the capital and largest city. This allows the bacteria in the meat to break down the flesh, causing a tenderizing effect. I’m not sure where you can book a tour of a Tajima-gyu cattle farm and unfortunately don’t have any recommendations for restaurants in the Osaka area as we tried Kobe beef in Kobe itself. 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. The term Kobe, and even wagyu, is used so liberally on menus in America that customers have almost come to expect these ‘premium' options from just about any neighborhood bistro, without considering glaring facts. I mean it’s silly.”. Massage is a common practice for animals kept in tight quarters for health reasons (not limited to Japan or even just to cows), but the real legend here stems from them being massaged with rice wine for better marbling and texture, which again most Japanese farmers refute as any kind of standard practice. However, let me put a call out on our Twitter account to see if anyone following us does. Better known for its eye-catching marbled texture, Kobe beef is sought after by chefs and meat connoisseurs alike. It seems that there is a big push by many in beef/restaurant industries outside of Japan to focus on just the breed of the cow, rather than looking at Kobe beef holistically as a result of a combination of factors, and labeling anyone who suggests that it needs to be anything more as elitist. We wrote a blog post on the distinction.. Second, the term "American Kobe" is a total crapshoot, and in most cases when you encounter it on a menu at your favorite burger joint, unfortunately means nothing. Less than 5% of Wagyu cattle were fattened by these highly specialized producers. Kobe beef is comprised of a very particular strain of Wagyu called Tajima-Gyu that is raised to strict standards in the prefecture of Hyogo. Hi Matt, thanks for stopping by! I’ll let you know if they come up with any suggestions. Only cattle that adheres to Kobe beef regulations can be sold as such. So what sets Wagyu apart from other kinds of cattle? 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. 5: Excellent Well done article…I was wondering about the beer myth and I saw a Japanese Kobe farmer that said, “no beer, and massages only when able to. 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? I really appreciate it. Kobe beef also has to have a fact marbling ratio (BMS) of 6 or higher and a Meat Quality Score of A4 or A5 (the highest top-grades meat can receive). Kobe beef, on the other hand, cannot be harvested, raised or slaughtered anywhere else except for the prefecture of Hyogo. Kobe beef is subject to a rigorous grading policy that includes measures of fat-marbling ratio, gross weight of beef… Even if the beef has come from a Tajima-gyu bloodline cow, it must meet all other criteria to be considered Kobe beef. This means that all Kobe beef is wagyu beef, but only a very small proportion of wagyu beef is Kobe beef. Myth: American Kobe is cheap-ish and everywhere. With personable staff and friendly customer service, the delicious Kobe beef isn’t the only benefit of paying a visit to Kobe Beef Steak Ishida Kitanozaka – as long as you remember to reserve ahead of time! 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. Do your research and avoid cheap (and expensive) imitations. Authentic Wagyu beef is among the most sought-after and luxurious meats in the world. However, just because the beef may come from the same breed, does not make it Kobe beef. Through the process, in which cold air is blown at 75 km per hour onto the meat in a -45 degree Fahrenheit environment, the beef may be kept for an indeterminate amount of time without loss of quality. Hi Robert, thank you! Yes, there are certainly Tajima-gyu bloodline cattle outside of Japan, but despite being the same breed, this doesn’t equal Kobe beef. As journalist Larry Olmstead who has done significant research into Kobe beef fraud says, “High prices don’t guarantee that you are getting Kobe beef but low prices virtually guarantee that you’re not.”. Hi Olga, there are few in SF bay area where you can get genuine real Kobe beef. I love their steak. This looks so good! Then we can go back to drinking our sparkling wine and be happy about that too ;). Kobe beef is not easy to procure. If the information you are given by an establishment cannot be confirmed here, something is amiss. Buyer beware – the big Kobe beef and wagyu scam, Check the price tag and skip the Kobe beef burgers, Check if the restaurant, retailer or wholesaler has actually imported Kobe beef, several class action suits filed against restaurants in America who were allegedly selling fraudulent Kobe beef, Anthony Bourdain described Kobe sliders as the worst dish in America, search by the 10-digit authentication number, when the beef was exported and the company it was imported by here, http://www.kobe-niku.jp/shop?prefecture=&tag=3, A Japanese Christmas: How Christmas in Japan is unlike anywhere else, How our Front Yard became a Tourist Attraction in the Middle of a Pandemic, Life Update: Life in Australia One Year On, Insider’s Guide to Using Airbnb in Japan in 2020. Thanks very much for your comment/question. Because the region was so isolated, however, these original wagyu cattle were not transferred for work in other regions of Japan. 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. Kobe beef comes from Tajima-gyu cattle, and has to go through rigorous screenings and checks to ensure that it is proper Kobe beef. 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? Plain and simple. :). Kobe beef cannot be compared to French fries. 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. You have no right to shame other people for their decision to enjoy meat, don’t shove your beliefs on other people. They were all born in 2004. :), Thanks for replying to my message Jessica. For that we need to dig a little deeper. Wagyu cattle are classified into four breeds – Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Poll, and Japanese Shorthorn.