As a carnivore, we surely know that you have heard the term ‘Wagyu’. Having wagyu beef will add a gourmet touch to your dining experience! But how much do you know about this luxurious beef?
Let’s find out….
What does it mean ‘Wagyu’?
Wagyu literally means ‘Japanese cow’ and is the name given to cattle breeds developed over a century in Japan. Wagyu beef is famous for its intense marbling which provides the exquisite taste, texture and tenderness.
Types of Wagyu Breeds
There are 4 main breeds of Wagyu in Japan:
- Japanese Black (Kuroge Washu)
- Japanese Brown (Akage Washu)
- Japanese Shorthorn (Nihon Tankakushu)
- Japanese Polled cattle (Mukaku Washu)
All these breeds come from Japanese cows that are crossed with Western cattle in the early 20th century. Due to being selectively bred over generations, they were able to maximize their organic unsaturated fat. This is what gives wagyu beef its unique marbling and high content in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
In addition to these genetic factors, wagyu cattle are raised with special attention to their environment and feed, resulting in premium beef.
Besides the genetic factors, Joe Heitzeberg, the co-founder and CEO of Crowd Cow, explains that one key principle to raising wagyu cows is providing a stress-free environment from birth to harvest. This is because stress creates cortisol which can decline the quality of beef. As result, wagyu cattle are the epitome of premium beef.
All around the world, marbling is one of the most critical factors in beef grading scales. Marbling is known as the Intramuscular Fat you can find when looking at raw steak. These streaks of fat are what give the beef its soft texture and carries the flavor throughout each bite.
Wagyu beef is well known for its intense marbling. Overall the beef is graded on two scales:
- For the amount of meat yielded (from A-class to C-class)
- For the quality of marbled fat (from 1 to 5).
The very best wagyu beef is grade A-4 or A-5. From the 4 breeds, Kuroge Washu is genetically unique and the only breed that due to its genetic predisposition to create excellent marbling of fat on the inside of muscle tissue. As a result, the meat that comes from this breed can achieve an A4 or A5 rating by the Japanese Meat Grading Association.
Benefits of Wagyu Beef
Recent studies have identified Wagyu as a great source of essential vitamins and nutrients. Wagyu beef has a high content in unsaturated (healthy) fats, including Omega 6 and 3 oils. Plus, it contains 30% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) per gram than any other beef breeds. CLA is a fatty acid with potent anti-carcinogenic properties, as well as being an anti-inflammatory agent. It is also believed that Wagyu has the potential to reduce heart disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, reduce body fat gain and increase immune response.
While this type of meat is associated with multiple benefits, as always it is important to eat with moderation.
Craving wagyu beef now?