Posted 04 February 2012 - 12:53 AM
Real Wagyu beef (sometimes also called Kobe Beef) is so expensive none of us can afford it, or at least not often. Really! The cheap cut is in the one hundred dollar a pound range. Top grade is closer to five hundred dollars for the real deal. So when your favorite meat market or restaurant starts touting their Wagyu beef for $10 or $20, or as Brothers did ... a hamburger made of Wagyu beef for a few hundred pesos, take a deep breath and check to see which leg they are pulling. What you get may or may not be pretty good beef, but buddy, it ain't really Wagyu. Do a search on Google for Wagyu beef and hit the images section. When you see the marbling of real Wagyu beef, you'll catch on that most, if not all, of what is being sold as Wagyu is simply not. Yeah, what has happened is that a few Wagyu cattle have been exported, they have been bred with other cattle, but since the blood line has some Wagyu in it, they are marketing it as the real deal. But it ain't the real McCoy. And a lot of the stuff marketed doesn't have even a smidgeon of Wagyu. It is just hype and greed. There is some Wagyu in the USA that is almost pure bred*, and I hear there are some in Australia but how pure I do not know. The real deal comes from Japan and is grown on less than 300 small farms where the cattle receive attention and care that would bewilder most cattlemen. * The story I read goes a Western (geographically speaking) US doctor was visiting Japan. He had an excellent reputation and was called in, secretly, to treat a member of the royal family in Japan. Whatever he did worked and to show their appreciation he was given a small number of Wagyu cattle, which were forbidden to export live. But since it was a gift from the royal family, that rule was ignored. The beef came in via Mexico and went to a ranch the doctor owned. Over the years the cattle were bred to other cattle and the line was no longer pure. But after a few decades, the decedents of the original gift cattle were being re-bred to for purity. You'd have to talk to a geneticist to explain how that works, but I have heard of the process before. Anyway, the Wagyu available in the USA comes from this bloodline. Their bloodline has been diluted and then bred back to close to pure.
The beginning of civilization was the BBQ, not the plow.