What Is Wagyu Beef?

Wagyu History

Wagyu (pronounced ‘wag-you’) is a breed of cattle that originated in Japan.

Wagyu cattle have been bred for hundreds of years and are regarded as a national treasure in Japan, in fact for many years only the Emperor, his family and his Samurai could eat Wagyu beef. There are many stories about these imperial cattle being massaged, fed on beer and then sold at astronomical prices.

The world famous “Kobe beef” is simply Wagyu that comes from the Kobe region in Japan, just as Champagne comes from the Champagne region in France.

For several years now  Kobe beef, has enjoyed increasing popularity. Experts and gourmet chefs, who have recently discovered Wagyu beef, consider it to be the most tender and tasty meat in the world.

Wagyu beef has now taken the world by storm, with New Yorkers paying $100 for Wagyu burgers. In fact to be recognized as a world class dinning establishment you need to have Wagyu beef on your menu.

What is Marbling?

Marbling refers to the little specks of fat dispersed inside the muscle tissue. 

Wagyu cattle produce the world’s most tender, flavoursome and succulent beef. This comes about through their unique ability to marble. When cooked this marbling dissolves and gives the beef its “melt in the mouth” taste and tenderness.

Health Issues

The marbling in the meat has more monounsaturated fats and melts at room temperature which makes Wagyu beef suitable as part of a lower-cholesterol diet.

While past public campaigns have educated the public that too much fat in beef is unhealthy, the marbling in Wagyu beef has a different story altogether.

The heavy marbling in Wagyu beef, which is described as ‘an intra-muscular deposit of energy in a lace-like lattice’, has been found to contain mono-unsaturated fats. Research has shown that the mono-unsaturated fats in Wagyu have many health benefits and assist in reducing cholesterol levels in the body. This marbling is also the reason for the unique flavour, texture and moisture of Wagyu beef. These mono-unsaturated fatty acids in Wagyu beef have a very low melting point which means that the beef literally “melts in your mouth”.

Consuming Wagyu beef is actually beneficial to your health, possessing a unique high concentration of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The human body can manufacture most of the fat types it wants, except for these two essential fatty acids (EFA’s).

Research has found that these EFA’s are needed to assist in immune resistance, vision, building cell membranes, blood clotting and blood pressure. Areas of benefit include protection against heart disease, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer, high- blood pressure, and also have anti-carcinogenic properties.

The unique advantage in Wagyu is that it contains a much higher proportion of these desirable mono-unsaturated fats than any other beef.