Which is better – American Wagyu beef or Kobe beef? I suppose it is a matter of personal taste, more than anything else. I would like to share some background information about both of them, along with some info on pricing, taste, and some other things you might want to consider before you purchase either of these rather expensive meats. So, before you spend your money, take just a moment to learn about the differences between the two delicacies.
About Kobe Beef
Kobe beef actually comes from cuts of the Tajima-Ushi breed of the Wagyu cattle. It is very well marbled and considered a delicacy for its incredible flavor and tenderness. This cattle was introduced in Japan in the second century. They were initially used as work animals, but soon the consumption of beef began to take off. Farmers would have workers massage the rear of the cow to keep the meat nice and tender.
Much of the flavor in Kobe is derived from the fat. The meat is pretty pink in color and not red, with incredible fat marbling.
About American Wagyu
Because of the massive popularity of the Kobe meat, the American farming industry began to take note. They took the Wagyu, which is used in Kobe and cross bred it with the Angus cow. They began mimicking what the Japanese were doing by massaging the cattle and only feeding them certain food. The result was a very similar product that is somewhat darker in appearance with a little bit bolder flavor.
The bolder flavor is likely to appeal to Americans a little more, since the fat taste is not the main flavoring of the meat. Of course, this will vary greatly by person.
You will find that for the most part, serving sizes are much smaller with these top of the line meats. This is because the flavor is mostly from the high fat content and is therefore very rich and filling. A four ounce steak will generally fill you up the same as an eight ounce steak made from Angus. This can offset the price a little bit, but you will still find it to be quite expensive when compared to lesser breeds.
If you are looking for a cheap meal, you will need to look somewhere else. Both American Kobe style Wagyu and authentic Japanese Kobe beef are very expensive. If you are not willing to pay a hefty price, neither of these meats are going to be for you.
Wagyu: If you are looking for a good cut, fillet mignon will be for you. If you purchase this and have it shipped, you will pay right around $150 or more for a box of 4 steaks, each weighing one half pound. This is right around $75 per pound. While you might find some cheaper out there, you have to make sure you are getting the real thing and not a cheaper imitation. If you pay a lot less than the going rate, it should send up some red flags and serve as a possible warning you are not getting what you think.
Kobe: The same box of fillet mignon in authentic Kobe will run you right around $220. This is well over $100 per pound. I assume that if you do a lot of price shopping, you might do a little better, but you will also need to make sure you buy from a reputable seller that is selling the real thing. There are plenty of farms and ranches that sell something roughly similar for less, but you will not be eating the real deal.
If you really want to try something unique, you can try Mishima, Matsusaka, and Yonezawa beefs as well and see which is your favorite.