Wagyu refers to all Japanese beef cattle (“Wa” meaning Japanese and “Gyu” meaning Cattle). Although, the Wagyu breed was not developed out of the necessity for beef. They were developed in Japan for the purpose of mechanizing the farming industry as draft animals. They were brought over to the United States in the mid-1970s, and have since been bred for their unsurpassed quality and taste.
Between 1976 and 1997, Fullblood Wagyu were exported from Japan to the U.S. In 1997 after exporting close to 200 cattle, Japan put the export ban (for live cattle) back in place and Fullblood Wagyu were no longer exported. Today, Wagyu beef connoisseurs throughout the U.S. are aware of the beef’s superior taste and quality and utilize much of the domestic Wagyu production.
Marbling, or intramuscular fat, is what gives Wagyu its melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich buttery taste. This is a soft fat with a lower melting point than other breeds, due to the high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in Wagyu, (MUFA). This marbling in terms of flavor means really tasty, melt in your mouth literally.
Marbling refers to the delicate lines of fat that curl and tendril through a steak. Marbling gives beef flavor. So it’s graded on how much Intramuscular Fat (IMF) it contains.
Wagyu is known for its melt-in-your-mouth texture and amazing flavor. While the genetics of this breed is very important, how this animal is raised and fed is just as important. At Oostema Farmstead we focus on the nature (genetic makeup) and nurture (lifestyle) of our animals.
Wagyu is typically higher marbling and this is where “Kobe” beef comes from. Wagyu refers to several Japanese cattle breeds, and Kobe beef is a type of Wagyu. However, Kobe beef must be from the Kobe city area of Japan, located within the Hyōgo prefecture. Kobe beef is also raised under strict methods that differ from other Wagyu breeds.
Wagyu is full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, those same good monounsaturated fats you find in salmon. Wagyu’s fat also melts at a lower temperature, so you get a rich, silky texture that coats your mouth with every bite. (It’s also far better for you, as the ratio of HDL to LDL is far higher than in other beef.)
Cows do not naturally eat grain—in fact, it makes them ill. When animals are fattened on a heavy-starch grain diet, their normally healthy pH 7 drops to a highly acidic pH 4, leading to a fermentation of bacteria that sickens the animal and requires antibiotics. Additionally, to speed up the fattening process, cattle are administered hormones. This further degrades the animal’s health.
However, truly natural grass-fed beef means the cattle are fed entirely on their mother’s milk and grass from birth to harvest. These cows have a normal pH 7 balance in their system, which contributes to a healthy fat balance of omega-3s, omega-6s, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). In short, if the cow is healthier, its meat is healthier, and you’ll be healthier.
Oostema Wagyu (or American Wagyu) beef is produced here on the Farmstead by crossbreeding our 100% Wagyu with American Domestic Breed; which results in a cross-breeding. All of the sires are hand-picked by Glen himself.
The fat content is typically lower than Japanese Wagyu due to less marbling, and this creates a hearty, beefy flavor many find very palatable when included in well-known dishes. The result is a pleasant balance of tenderness, texture, and flavor.
Oostema Farmstead is a proud member of the American Wagyu Association.
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