Q = What is the difference between Kobe and Wagyu beef?
A =Wagyu is a breed of Japanese cattle. Kobe is not a breed, but rather the beef produced from Wagyu cattle.
More specifically, Kobe (or Tajima) Cattle refer only to Wagyu cattle that are bred, born and raised in the Kobe Prefecture of Japan and regulated by the Japanese government.
All authentic Kobe Beef found in markets and restaurants in the US is imported from Japan; true Kobe Beef is not produced in the US.
Wagyu genetics (semen, embryos, live cattle) are strictly regulated by the Japanese government and are no longer allowed to be exported outside Japan.
American restaurants and markets sometimes refer to "American-Style Kobe" or "American Kobe" or "100% Kobe" - these terms refer to beef produced in America from crossbred cattle, usually Wagyu x Angus.
Fullblood Wagyu Cattle or Beef derived from true 100% Japanese Black Wagyu genetics is currently being produced in small numbers in the United States. Such Fullblood Wagyu is DNA-verified to be from the original Japanese genetics. There is no requirement that Fullblood Wagyu be bred, born or raised in Japan - as long as the genetics are DNA-verified.
This is the confusion that often arises: True Kobe/Wagyu Beef vs American-Style Kobe (or American Kobe). True Kobe Beef is 100% Fullblood Wagyu. American-Style Kobe or American Kobe is percentage Wagyu, usually 50% Wagyu and 50% Angus - although the percentage can vary. The percentage is usually not revealed on the restaurant menu.
Q = What makes Wagyu cattle different from any other breed?
A = This Japanese breed has become famous all over the world because Wagyu cattle are synonymous with Kobe Beef, which is Wagyu beef raised in the region of Kobe, Japan. They are a high marbling breed that yield quality cuts of meat that surpass other breeds in tenderness and intramuscular marbling.
Q = What attributes can Wagyu bring to a commercial herd?
A = Cattleman wanting to improve the quality of meat they raise can significantly improve the overall quality grades of their cattle on feed with Wagyu genetics. On the hoof, they are structurally sound, similar in appearance to British breeds, offer calving ease to a herd, docile in temperament and with their superior genetics, can dramatically increase the quality of meat offspring will produce.
Q = Do they look different than other breeds?
A = Wagyu are black cattle that look like Angus, but horned and lighter muscled through their hindquarters. The breed was originally draft animals used in cultivation, so they were selected for physical endurance. This selection favored animals with more intra-muscular fat cells - marbling, which provided a readily available energy source. This has resulted in high marbling carcasses unlike any other breed.
Q = Can Wagyu handle various environments/conditions?
A = Wagyu are very adaptable to various climates and altitudes. At Lone Mountain Ranch, the herd has faced extreme hot and dry conditions in the summer months, and below zero temperatures and heavy snowfall in the winter. The herd handles these temperatures and climates with no problems. Due to their durability, Wagyu are raised in many regions of the United States.
Q = What role does the Wagyu breed have in the beef industry?
A = Wagyu cattle are the undisputed breed leader for marbling, tenderness and carcass quality. Fullblood Wagyu and Wagyu crossed cattle, when fed properly, consistently meet the demands for Prime quality grade beef. They are rapidly becoming the white tablecloth breed in the culinary industry.
Q = Is Wagyu meat good for you? What does it taste like?
A = Wagyu cattle produce bright red meat that is highly marbled and has astonishing flavor and tenderness. The meat also has a higher percentage of monounsaturated fat than any other breed of cattle in the world, and it is extremely low in cholesterol. The marbling and taste of Wagyu is unparalleled in any other breed in the world.