In this video, Sally and I unbox a 20 pound box from Crowd Cow. Inside was a 14 oz A5 Wagyu New York Strip steak from Kagoshima, Japan. Why you do you need a 20 pound box to ship a 14 oz steak? Because it’s protecting the best tasting and most expensive steak in the world!
What Is Wagyu?
Wagyu means Japanese cow and it is the name given to cattle breeds developed over centuries in Japan. Wagyu beef is known for its intense marbling and carries a well-deserved reputation for exquisite taste, texture and tenderness.
The world of cows in Japan can be traced by breed, bloodline, and even geography. Beginning in the Meiji Era, the Japanese reognized the value of Wagyu beef and sought to develop it into the highest quality beef in the world, Seeking to preserve the purity of the bloodline, Japan banned the export of the Wagyu DNA in 1997.
There are four main breeds of Wagyu in Japan. By far the most important of the four Wagyu breeds is Kuroge Washu. It’s known for its unique genetic disposition for exquisite marbling. Kuroge Washu is the only breed of cattle that can achieve an A4 or A5 rating by the Japanese Meat Grading Association.
You’ve probably herd o Kobe beef. But thanks to mislabeling in the US, the term is subject to much confusion. For example, beef that is actually only a small percentage Wagyu is often sold at a high premium and labeled as “American Kobe.”
In order to be certified Kobe beef, the cattle must be Japanese Black (Kuroge Washu) and pure Tajima. Also, the cows must be bred, raised and slaughtered in the Hyogo perfecture of Japan. Finally, the meat must reach a 6 or above on the BMS marling scale.
Marbling and the BMS Grading System
Marbling is the distribution of soft white intramuscular fats within the red meat. Generations of careful breeding and management of diet and exercise contribute to the unique marbling of Wagyu Beef.
Wagyu is graded for its marbling on a scale of 1-12, with 12 being the highest achievable quality. At this level, the beef is considered a work of art!
To be designated as “A5 Wagyu,” the beef must be raised in Japan and achieve the highest possible rating by the Japanese Meat Grading Association. For reference, USDA Prime beef, the highest designation of quality in the US, is equivalent to 4 or 5 marbling score.