What Makes Kobe Beef So Special?
You can find steaks in any supermarket and practically any restaurant. But in the U.S., it’s much harder to come by the elusive Kobe beef. If you do happen to see Kobe beef on the menu, consider it a must-try. This gourmet food, much prized by chefs and foodies, has a remarkable, melt-in-your-mouth flavor and texture that will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
Identifying Japanese Cattle
Kobe beef can only be butchered from a specific breed of Japanese cattle. All Japanese cattle breeds can be referred to as Wagyu. For much of Japan’s history, there was a ban on the consumption of beef. Instead, during the feudal period, cattle were raised as draught animals, used to cultivate rice paddies. This led to the genetic isolation of Japanese cattle, creating breeds with unique traits not found anywhere else in the world.
There are four Wagyu breeds: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Poll, and Japanese Shorthorn. The Japanese Black breed has three bloodlines of cattle: Tajima, Kedaka, and Shimane. It’s the Tajima Wagyu that produces the distinctive Kobe beef.
Understanding Kobe Beef
All beef products that are officially labeled as Kobe beef must come only from the Tajima Wagyu. Kobe beef can only be labeled as such if the cattle is bred, raised, and slaughtered in the Hyogo Prefecture. Only a few thousand cows are certified each year, and of those, only about 10% or less of the beef is exported out of the country. This is why Kobe beef is so elusive to foodies in the U.S.
The reason why Kobe beef is so special isn’t just its rarity, however. It’s because of the superior marbling. Since Tajima Wagyu were bred as draught animals, they feature a unique concentration and pattern of intramuscular fat cells, which produces the distinctive marbling throughout the steak.
You can find out for yourself what makes Kobe beef so special by dining at the Truffle Pig. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a fine dinner after a day of skiing or summertime recreation. For reservations, call their location in Steamboat Springs, CO at (970) 879-7470.