Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cows, and Cows, and Cows.

There are all these fancy new kinds of beef you pay top dollar for in restaurants.
What are they!

Piedmontese Beef
These cows were brought over from Piemonte (a region in Northwest Italy), by an Italian family in the early 80's. There are about 12,000 animals now registered in the US.

Their meat is very tender while also being very lean.
Availability can vary since there aren't many herds in America.
But if you can find it, buy it!

On to the Japan.
Wagyu and Kobe. So much confusion.

Wagyu refers to a few kinds of cattle bred in Japan, prized for its tenderness and marbled texture.

Kobe comes from the the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle.

More than likely you're not getting real Kobe beef unless you travel to Japan!

There's an organization in Japan that watches over the distribution of Kobe beef, they have standards the cattle must meet in order to be true Kobe Beef.

1. Has to be a Tajima cattle born in Hyōgo Prefecture
2. Fed by farm in the Hyōgo Prefecture
3. Bullock or Virgin cow, meant to purify the beef
4. Has to be processed at slaughterhouse in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa and Himeji in Hyōgo Prefecture.
5. Marbling ratio called is a level 6 and above.
6. Meat Quality Score is A or B
7. Gross weight of the beef is 470 kg or below.

Yes.. they each get a beer a day, usually in the summer to stimulate their appetite. And they get brushed with Sake, some farmers believe a softer coat makes for better meat.

What you can buy here is more than likely a Wagyu/Angus cross breed, marketed as American Kobe or just as Wagyu. There have been a few different Wagyu breeds introduced here since the 70s. In any case American Wagyu is a great product!

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