Feb 27, 2012

What are Kobe Steaks and How are They Produced?

Kobe steaks are cuts of world famous Kobe beef. The most expensive meat in the world, Japan is the only country that can produce it, although countries including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia have all tried their best to imitate it. The beef is produced from the black Tajima-ushi variety of Wagyu, a native breed of Japanese cow. Though it is difficult to import, Kobe beef is not actually considered a rare food, unlike foods such as caviar.

If you search prime steak online terms such as Kobe steak, Kobe beef, Kobe meat, Wagyu beef or Wagyu steak, they are all likely to be prominent. Those fortunate to have tasted the meat have gone so far to say it is heavenly in taste. Its intramuscular fat, or marbling, gives it a unique flavor and feeling on the palate.

Kobe steaks cannot be called as such if they are not from cattle raised in Japan. The meat must come from Tajima cattle born and raised specifically in Hyogo Prefecture. While being raised, the cows should be given a strict diet of selected organic farm grains and hays with regular drinking of beer. This is done to stimulate the cows' appetite. Bulls or steers are castrated because early Japanese farmers believed this purifies their meat. Cattle farm owners hire masseurs for the purpose of distributing fats evenly in the cows' bodies. Cattle are massaged together with the application of sake on their skin while being scrubbed, all at the same time.

Once the cattle are ready for slaughter, they are brought to a select number of authorized slaughterhouses which are all located in Hyogo Prefecture. Currently, these authorized abattoirs are in Himeji, Kakogawa, Sanda, Nishinomiya and Kobe. Even if these methods are all followed, if the cows are not butchered in any of these places, the cows’ meat can never be labeled as Kobe beef; such is the strictness of the production process.

It doesn't end there. Once the cows are butchered and the meat is cut and sliced, to pass the first quality test, the total weight of beef from one cow shouldn't exceed 470 kg. After that, the meat should reach the quality score of either 4 or 5. Final test is passing the BMS or marbling ratio of at least level 6. With such a unique and complicated process, it is no wonder Kobe beef is so prized and so costly.

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