Kobe Beef or Wagyu is renowned for its unique flavor as well as its exclusive price
The name of Kobe Beef (Kobe is the name of the Capital here) is a regional quality label, that may lent the meat only from the Tajima cattle from the Japanese prefecture Hyogo, so as to meet the high standards of quality cattle.
To create an average, only 3000 of about 6000 eligible Tajima cattle are slaughtered every year.
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The term Wagyu, intended to mean the race, is in the proper meaning of the word, inaccurate. The perspective emerged out of Japan, (Gyu means as much as cattle, Wa is a term used for Japan), and includes four breeds of cattle, (just the Tajima-gyu) of which only the Japanese black cattle is used as Kobe beef. The meat is characterized especially by a pronounced fat grain, which is due to genetics, feeding and breeding. On the one hand only cows, which did not calve yet and oxen, i.e. castrated cattle are ripened for Kobe Beef. On the other hand a Wagyu may be three years old until it is killable, which is by far longer than what many other breeding cattle have.
Until then it is fattened with high-quality fodder, such as specially imported Hay and Rice litter, later with Soybean, Barley, Maize or Wheat bran - the exact mix depends on the breeder. Grass belongs however not to the nutrition of a Kobe-Beef, pretty much as an extensive movement. And last but not the least, a lot of emphasis is put on the quality of the water that is drunk by Tajima-Bovine.
The breeding of Wagyu is covered with several myths. That the animals are splattered and massaged with Sake, treated with classical music or are fed with beer, might occur occasionally in small firms (For instance- to reduce the stress or to stimulate the appetite , the expenditure for it, if necessary with few animals and breeders with idealism and/or sense of a good tourist show by small enterprises is hardly feasible) – These practices are not a rule with the Wagyu production.
And certainly they are not a requirement for certification by the Japan Meat Grading Association, which awards the seal of quality for Kobe Beef and scores for four factors (from 1-5, with 5 representing the highest Quality): For the marbling, color and brightness of the flesh, firmness and texture of the muscle fibers, as well as color, luster and quality of the fat.
The export of cattle as well as the meat from Japan is strictly prohibited- however naturally the good reputation creates greediness and demand, and so meanwhile one can buy meat from breeding of abroad smuggled animals world-wide.
Each Wagyu found abroad is thus no Kobe Beef, even if traders state it gladly, but even then Wagyu. The prices for this are high, approximately between 80 € - 250 € for one pound steak (depending on the classification and of course the retailer) - however one can also, the way I was allowed to test an excellent piece of tender meat, you can taste the difference as to also how good Argentine beef really is. One must decide for itself, whether the full difference in prices is justified, however one should give it a try …
We have prepared steaks (rated as "Silver Label" from the dealer) sautéed, cooked with young potatoes and steamed vegetables:
Cook the new potatoes in salted water. Clean the other vegetables and cut into small pieces and cook them in a steamer at 95°C / 203°F for 25-30 minutes.
Heat an iron pan. Dab the Wagyu-Steak dry, season with salt and rub olive oil on one side. Fry this side at medium to high temperature for 3 minutes, then turn around and fry for another 2 minutes. Let it rest for a minute or two on chopsticks and serve on preheated plates. The steak becomes so medium rare, the kind of preparation I would recommend.
Who likes it less red, must let the meat roast naturally longer and examine it with the hand test. To it bring the tip of the thumb with either of the index, middle, ring or little finger together and compare the potential in the palm of your hand (that is the muscle that sits at the thumb) with the meat. Index finger means English (rare), middle finger (medium-rare), ring finger and little finger (pink medium-well-done).