A look at Kobe Beef

Kobe Beef, a type of beef that is well marbled, is a legendary delicacy of Japan. Until recently, the flavor and tenderness of Kobe beef could only be experienced by those traveling to to the meat producing regions of Japan.

Kobe Beef originated in the prefecture of Kobe in Japan. Kobe Beef has world wide recognition as being the best of the best. In all reality, the product is genetic in origin. The rugged Japanese geography allowed for isolated cattle herds each using different breeding and feeding techniques. This isolation and selectively breeding for marbling grade of Wagyu cattle allowed for breeding of the most flavorful and tender beef in the world.

Wagyu is the Japanese breed of cattle used to produce Kobe Beef, Matzukya Beef, Hokkido Beef and other famous beef producing prefectures in Japan. Wagyu is a breed of cattle, like the Hereford, Holstein and Angus. (For more about cattle breeds, see the OSU website on breeds of livestock.) The word Wagyu refers to all Japanese beef cattle. “Wa” means Japanese and “gyu” means cattle. This breed is genetically predisposed to intense marbling, and produces a higher percentage of unsaturated fat (better for your cholestorol) than any other breed of cattle known in the world. In order to earn the designation of “Kobe Beef”, the Wagyu beef must come from Kobe, Japan, and meet strict production standards imposed in that county (or prefecture).

Cooking Kobe Beef
The best way to prepare Kobe Beef is to cook it fast over a hot flame. The fat in Kobe Beef melts at a lower temperature than regular beef. Sear in the moisture and flavor and don’t overcook it. If you overcook it, you risk having all the fat melt away. The fat is essential in providing Kobe the flavor and moisture for which it is famous. Quickly searing it over a hot fire, or in a cast iron pan, reduces the shrinkage and keeps in the flavor. “Well done” should not be an option for this great meat.

Freezing Kobe Beef
While the quality and taste of most beef and meat are harmed by being frozen, freezing does not affect the quality of Kobe Beef. Kobe Beef does not suffer because, like ice cream, that is meant to be frozen, it has such a high percentage of marbled fat that the flavor and texture are not changed by freezing.