Kobe, basketball legend, the capital of Hyogo Prefecture and almost certainly the home to the champion of all beef. For a piece of beef to be named Kobe beef isn’t easy, it needs to meet a certain standard, and that standard is very high and very strict. So what’s the difference? And what does a piece of beef gotta do to be Kobe?
You’re in Kobe and you’ve found some beef, it’s Kobe beef right? Wrong, not all beef from Kobe is allowed to be called Kobe beef! The name Kobe beef doesn’t just refer to it’s origins, but also a meticulous standard, only when the beef passes this tough test is it allowed the name of Kobe beef.
Kobe beef comes from the Tajima-gyu breed of cattle, which due to being isolated from other cattle and being on a slightly different diet, helped distinguish it and stand out thanks to it’s wonderfully tender texture and complex flavor. The cattle are fattened for a longer period of time, this leads to a beautiful marbled effect on the meat. This beef has a higher amount of intramuscular fat, an unsaturated fat that is high in oleic acid. This fat melts at a lower temperature, so be sure not to cook it for too long or you’ll lose a large part of what makes Kobe beef so special, the delicious melt in your mouth texture.
Becoming Kobe beef
- First of all, the cattle needs to be from the Tajima stain of Wagyu cattle and born in Hyogo Prefecture
- Must be raised and fattened in Hyogo Prefecture farms
- The cattle are fed on grains or grass from within the prefecture
- Only castrated bulls or females that have not given birth are eligible
- Processed in slaughterhouses in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Himeji or Kakogawa in Hyogo Prefecture
- The marbling ratio (BMS) needs to have a ratio of 6 or more
- Meat quality needs to score A 4 or A 5 (the top grades)
- Gross weight of the animal’s carcass is less than 470 kg
Due to all these rules, there is only a limited amount of Kobe beef produced, some countries produce “Kobe Style Beef” and it can be difficult to know what is the real thing and whether you should be parting with you hard-earned cash for it. The best thing to do is probably to save your money, get yourself to Japan and try the real deal!
Try Kobe beef in Tokyo: Kobe Beef BBQ at Motoyama