Wagyu (the literal translation is “Japanese cow”) refers to several breeds of cattle, the most desired of which is genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of unsaturated fat. The meat from such wagyu cattle is known for its quality, and demands a high price. In several areas of Japan, wagyu beef is shipped carrying area names. Some examples are Kobe, Mishima, Matsusaka, Ōmi, and Sanda beef. Because of Japan’s rugged terrain and isolated areas, different breeding and feeding techniques were used such as massaging or adding beer or sake to their feeding regimen. It is suggested that this was done to aid in digestion and induce hunger during humid seasons, but it seems to have no effect on the meat’s flavour. Massaging was morse likely to have been introduced to prevent muscle cramping on small farms in Japan where the animals did not have sufficient room to use their muscles.
There are four breeds of wagyu: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn. Wagyu cattle’s genetic predisposition yields a beef that contains a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than typical beef. The increased marbling also increases the ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats. Japanese Black makes up 90% of all fattened cattle in Japan. Strains of Japanese Black include Tottori, Tajima, Shimane and Okayama. Japanese Brown, also known as Japanese Red, is the other main breed; strains include Kochi and Kumamoto. Japanese Shorthorn makes up less than one percent of all cattle in Japan.The Australian Wagyu Association is the largest breed association outside Japan.
Both fullblood and wagyu-cross cattle are farmed in Australia for domestic and overseas markets, including Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, the U.K., France, Germany, Denmark and the U.S.A. Australian wagyu cattle are grain fed for the last 300–500 days of production. Wagyu bred in Western Australia’s Margaret River region often have red wine added to their feed as well. In the United States, Japanese Wagyu cattle were bred with Angus cattle. This crossbreed has been named American Style Kobe Beef. Designed to mimic the diet that Japanese cattle were receiving, Wagyu cattle in the United States are fed a mixture of corn, alfalfa, barley and wheat straw. Wagyu were first competitively exhibited at the National Western Stock Show in 2012. Wagyu cattle farming in Canada appeared after 1991 when the Canadian Wagyu Association was formed. Wagyu style cattle and farms in Canada are found only in Alberta. Canadian Wagyu beef products are exported to the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Europe.
- 6 oz. Wagyu sirloin
- 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- A large pinch of wasabi powder
- A pinch of allspice
- A drizzle of peanut oil
- Smoked ponzu sauce
Preheat grill to high.In a small mixing bowl, blend together ginger, garlic, salt, wasabi powder and allspice. Rub exterior of the Wagyu with the peanut oil and season liberally with the dry rub mixture. Sear the beef for 2-3 minutes per side, remove from the heat and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes. To serve, slice the beef thinly and serve with smoked ponzu sauce.
- 118 ml of Tamari
- A glug of rice wine vinegar
- A glug of Mirin
- The juice of half a lemon
Mix together the ingredients and allow to marinade for an hour or so before drizzling over the wagyu beef. Finally strew with finely sliced spring onions and slithers of ginger.
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