What is Wagyu?


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 Fullblood Wagyu production.

Health Benefits of Wagyu

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.

How does it get so marbled and tender?

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 are 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 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.)

Oostema Farmstead is a proud member of the American Wagyu Association.