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Kobe Beef


See Also:

Cuts of Beef
Wagyu Beef
Kobe Beef
Angus Beef

Kobe beef refers to cuts of beef from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle, raised according to strict tradition Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The meat is generally considered to be a delicacy, renowned for its flavour, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture. Kobe beef can be prepared as steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, teppanyaki and more.


The Wagyu cattle that produce this highly prized meat were introduced into Japan in the second century as work animals, used in rice cultivation. As beef consumption became more prominent in society, farmers began hiring workers to massage the animals' backsides to improve meat quality. The mountainous topography of the islands of Japan resulted in small regions of isolated breeding, yielding herds that developed and maintained qualities in their meat that differ significantly from all other breeds of cattle. Herd isolation and distinctive feeding techniques which resulted from the limited land availability have led to distinguishing features that make the meat both superior in marbling and in the ratios of unsaturated versus saturated fats.

Kobe beef in Japan

Kobe beef in Japan is a registered trademark of the Kobe beef marketing & distribution promotion association.[2] It must fulfill all the following conditions:[1]

  • Tajima cattle born in Hyogo Prefecture
  • Farm feeding in Hyogo Prefecture
  • Bullock or castrated bull, to purify the beef
  • Processed at slaughterhouses in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa and Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture.
  • Marbling ratio, called BMS,[3] of level 6 and above.
  • Meat Quality Score[3] of 4 or 5
  • Gross weight of beef from one animal is 470 kg or less.

Contrary to popular belief, the cattle are not fed a beer, and they are not massaged with sake. They are fed on grain fodder and brushed sometimes for setting fur.[4][5] The Kobe beef marketing & distribution promotion association plans to make available a pamphlet in foreign languages with details about Kobe beef due to ambiguities about what actually constitutes Kobe beef, and to the fact that many tourists who visit Japan request information about the product.[6]

The melting point of fat of Kobe beef (Tajima cattle) is lower than common cow's fat.[7]

"Kobe-style" beef

The massive increase in popularity of Kobe beef in the United States has led to the creation of "Kobe-style" beef, taken from domestically-raised Wagyu crossbred with Angus cattle, in order to meet the demand. Farms in America and Britain have attempted to replicate the Kobe traditions, providing their Wagyu herds with beer.[8] U.S meat producers claim that any differences between their less expensive "Kobe-style" beef and true Kobe beef are largely cosmetic.[9] The cattle are fed American and/or British grass and grain, which is different from the more expensive Japanese feed.[10] Cuts of American "Kobe-style" beef tend to have darker meat and a bolder flavor.[11]


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