What is Wagyu Beef? The correct pronunciation of Wagyu, pronounced as wah-gway. According to some sources, the first mention of Wagyu in Japan is from a document written by Yamabukiya in 1854. The story of Wagyu cattle begins more than 100 years ago during the Meiji Restoration in Japan.
Japanese cattle breeders ecSTatically set out to experiment with cross-breeding various Asian and European cattle along with cattle from Australia and New Zealand.
As the Japanese government vigorously promoted marbling for beef products, the cattle breed was named after a vine that grows in the country. Some Japanese describe the taste of Wagyu as similar to that of sweetcorn or quince. During the late nineteenth century, wagyu beef became so popular among Japanese that it was declared an official dietary staple.
Although the taste of Wagyu has been widely praised in Japan, the US and Europe, the original product, native to Japan, remains a secret. No one is quite sure when or how this unique beef entered the restaurant scene. Some believe it was introduced during World War II when Japanese soldiers brought the tasty treat back from Europe. Since the marbling gave the cattle the dark color common to beef, the name was changed to fullblood wagyu. This was because the US military used the cattle for training. During the 1970s, American herders began breeding the beautiful cattle and successfully creating the popular red, white and silver-colored rib-eye variety popular among US beef consumption.
The flavor of Wagyu has been compared to that of fullblood wagyu but taste has always varied among people. Many find the flavor to be mild with a hint of soy sauce. Others love the deep, rich flavor characteristic of Wagyu and refer to it as Japanese cow roast. There are even websites that compare the taste of regular beef between Wagyu and fullblood. Some even compare the tenderness of Wagyu with the texture of American and Australian beef.
A different variety of Wagyu called tajima means buttery in Japanese. Tajima beef is marbled with a sweet vegetable butter known as shaen. In some cases, a light caramelized flavor is added. This type of Wagyu Beef is usually marinated overnight and cooked by steaming, then briefly frying before serving.
Japanese breeders have developed a genetic engineering technique that allows them to produce many different variations of Wagyu Beef. Most of the beef varieties produced are the Japanese variety. There are also crossbred offspring of purebred Wagyu from China, Korea and other countries. While some of these beefs may be closer in genetics to regular wagyu beef, others are closer in cattle type and lack the sweet, buttery flavor common to Wagyu.
American consumers looking for a healthy alternative to regular beef will likely not find it in the United States. Fewer producers than ever before are creating non-Wagyu beef for the U.S market. Unfortunately, there is still very limited availability of non-Wagyu beef in the U.S. This is because the beef industry hasn’t developed a highly competitive market for Wagyu. Fewer retailers are offering it in the form of cuts or steaks. Because the market for non-Wagyu Wagyu continues to decline, the prices of this beef are set to continue to drop in the near future.
Consumers interested in sampling American Wagyu Beef will need to begin to search for retailers in the near future. Many meat buyers purchase their beef from grocery stores, but others prefer to purchase beef online. The best way to find out more information about American Wagyu, including how to get the highest quality meat at the lowest price possible, is to visit our website.