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Kobe Beef

A brief Introduction to Kobe Beef.

 

At its core, the marbling combined with the maturity of the cattle and the level of muscle firmness determines the quality grade of the meat and its level of tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.
 

In addition to being the highest quality meat, it also happens to be much healthier than common commercial meat, thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids, such as Omega.
 

Part of the reason for its high value lies in its particular breeding techniques, which have been designed and refined over the years to enhance the flavor and texture of each cut.
 

The secret of its prestige lies in its exclusivity and can be summarized in the following points:
 

  • High degree of distinctive marbling.
     

  • Lean meat with refined sweetness.
     

  • Unmatched flavor.
     

  • Maximum quality.
     

  • Considered the finest and most delicate meat in the world.


Even within Japanese black cattle (Tajima-gyu), only a few cattle meet the quality standards required to be considered Kobe beef.

 

What points are taken into account in its classification?

There are several aspects that are key when thinking about how to distinguish Kobe beef. Among them, we can highlight:
 

Breeding.
 

There are designated producers in Hyogo Prefecture who dedicate all their energy and effort to breeding 100% purebred Tajima-gyu cattle that end up producing the best Kobe beef.
 

Handling.
 

The cattle must be born, raised, and slaughtered in the slaughterhouses of Hyogo Prefecture. Then, they undergo an inspection after which they are sent to different distribution points as previously agreed.
 

Certification.
 

Only Tajima-gyu cattle with a high marbling score (BMS, or Beef Marbling Score) and a fine texture in the meat, which have successfully passed weight limitations and other strict rules, can be officially certified as Kobe beef.
 

Lineage.
 

What affects the quality of the meat the most, above anything else, is its lineage. Japanese black cattle (Tajima-gyu) come from the mountainous regions of Japan. Their particular breeding and the geographical conditions of their origin make this lineage unique, above any other Japanese cattle breed (Wagyu).
 

In a farm where these types of cattle are raised, special care is taken into account such as exceptional feeding, clean high-quality water to drink, a stress-free environment for the cattle to grow relaxed until they reach maturity.
 

Annual production.
 

Japan, the major producer and where this Kobe beef originated, produces 5,000 cattle per year, of which it exports 12% of the total.

As a side note, the name of the cattle comes from the kanji 和 (wa, which means "harmony" or, sometimes in abbreviations, "Japan") and 牛 (ushi or gyū, "cow"/"cattle"/"calf"). The meaning is simply "Japanese cow".
 

 

There are four main types of Wagyu.
 

  • Japanese black.

  • Japanese brown.

  • Japanese speckled, and;

  • Japanese short horn.

     

The official names of these Japanese breeds include.
 

  • Tajima. 

  • Tottori.

  • Shimane.

  • Kochi.

  • and Kumamoto.
     

Since the American intervention, they were imported to the United States, Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, and Spain.

 

Can Japanese wagyu be matched?

Purists claim that there is nothing like Kobe beef.
 

In fact, they say that strictly only Japanese cattle can be called Wagyu. However, many countries strive to reproduce the characteristics that make Kobe beef so good, namely, the infiltrated fat that gives it its delicious flavor and unique texture.
 

Although the genetic part can be achieved through importation, the environment, which is also key, is more difficult. If a group of Iberian pigs is taken, they are taken to Ukraine, and they start to be raised there, could we still talk about Iberian pigs? The meat could be good, but obviously it wouldn't be the same.
 

Furthermore, to detect it, the Nogujiku is taken into account, a chrysanthemum-shaped seal (the Japanese national flower) that only certified Kobe beef can carry.
 

But there are two other important tests: the bronze statue that is awarded to establishments that sell certified Kobe beef and the authenticity certificate itself, which includes the aforementioned seal, the mark of the snout of the cattle (as a kind of fingerprint), and the identification number.

 

Kobe beef conservation.

When it comes to importing exotic meats such as Kobe or Wagyu, conservation is key.

There are several ways to preserve a product, "with artificial additives (putting them in an atmosphere with gases, injecting them with sulfites, stabilizers...) or through ultra-freezing".

The home freezer is a device that is made to maintain the temperature at -18 degrees. The freezing process is slow, and the food dehydrates and forms crystals. Ultra-freezing consists of freezing very quickly so that this does not happen, at -35 degrees.

In this case, thawing has to be the opposite, very slow. It is not enough to put it in the microwave for three minutes and that's it. Learn from our cooking recommendations.
 

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