Victory Beef University

Everything You Need to Know About Wagyu Beef

At Victory Beef, we’re proud of our selection of high-quality Wagyu beef products, like our Aged Imperial Red Wagyu Sirloin and our Imperial Red Wagyu New York Strip. But we also realize that the term Wagyu is not well-known by the average steak lover. There’s no need to explain terms like ribeye, brisket, and T-bone. But Wagyu most certainly demands some demystifying.

What is Wagyu?

Wagyu translates to Japanese cattle. They were considered superior work animals because their intramuscular fat was a constant source of energy. It’s that same quality – the intramuscular fat – that makes each cut of Wagyu so flavorful.

Quite often, Wagyu is used interchangeably for Kobe beef. While they are connected, it’s not quite accurate to simply swap them out. Kobe beef comes from fullblood Wagyu, and these cattle are raised and harvested in Kobe, Japan. Wagyu aren’t crossbred with any other types of cattle, but because they’re raised stateside, they aren’t considered Kobe. Thus, the main difference comes down to where the cattle were raised.

And in relation to regular beef, Wagyu are completely different. Because of the aforementioned intramuscular fat, their breeding methodology, and even the way they’re fed, Wagyu cuts are more flavorful, tender, and juicy than your average cut of meat. They’re also defined by their one-of-a-kind marbling. Marbling is the flecks of white that you see throughout the red muscle in a cut of Wagyu. Their appearance is similar to a white cream, but this is actually the intramuscular fat. The extra marbling plays a big role in Wagyu’s richness of flavor.

Also, compared to other types of beef, Wagyu beef is healthier. It contains a higher concentration of both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which aid in reducing risk of illnesses like heart disease and high blood pressure. Wagyu is also a great source of protein and monosaturated fat.

The myths about Wagyu

For those who are vaguely familiar with Wagyu, you’ve likely encountered conflicting information about Wagyu cattle, including how they’re raised and where they live.

It’s believed that Japanese farmers massaged their Wagyu to alleviate pain from cramping and help spread fat distribution for increased energy. It’s also believed that these farmers fed their Wagyu beer to stimulate their appetites, which would lead them to eat more feed and work more. Both of these approaches can help with Wagyu performance, but they’re not necessary for harvesting and producing quality cuts of meat.

Furthermore, you may hear terms like purebred thrown around. Fullblood Wagyu are cattle that are 100% Wagyu, meaning they were conceived from both a male and female Wagyu. Purebred Wagyu are 93.75% Wagyu and they’re crossbred with a different breed. Though both fullblood and purebred Wagyu result in great cuts of meat, the only option for 100% Wagyu beef is fullblood.

And, despite their Japanese roots, most of the Wagyu beef served in the U.S. is homegrown; it’s not imported from Japan. Beginning in the late 70s and lasting until the late 90s, Wagyu bulls and heifers were imported to the U.S. Then, with an export ban reinstated before the turn of the millennium, American farmers were forced to breed Wagyu in the states. Unlike Kobe beef, which isn’t considered Kobe if it doesn’t come from Japan, American-raised Wagyu is still considered fullblood Wagyu.

To experience the rich taste of Wagyu for yourself, click here.

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