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What’s a Wagyu?

WagyuBullLGWagyu, or “Kobe Beef” as marketed by many, is a specific breed of cow originating from Japan. “Kobe” is a location in Japan where the cows are raised. “Kobe Beef” is a catchy marketing term used by many US meat marketers but it really does not mean anything relative to the genetics, quality or ranching practices. Unless, of course, it was raised in that specific region of Japan. We believe that it is more appropriate to call the cattle Wagyu and we go a little further in our nomenclature – Fullblood, Long-fed American Wagyu.

Fullblood vs. F1 Cross-Bred (50/50): Wagyu cattle are a genetically unique breed. These animals are ox-like in structure and are built for endurance. As a result, the marbling occurs in the muscle of the animal rather than on the perimeter of the muscle. In the early result of a new trade agreement, a herd of approximately 40 full blood Wagyu cows and bulls were brought into the United States. Since that time, only a small number of ranches have been active in producing this outstanding breed. Even today there are very limited numbers of 100% Wagyu animals in the United States, numbering only about five thousand.

The majority of the Wagyu meat sold in the US is a 50/50 cross between a Wagyu and an Angus and is referred to as American Kobe by some restaurants. Wagyu contributes its intense marbling, Angus contributes size and growth, resulting in meat that is a significant improvement over 100% Angus. Although B Bars Cattle also offers F1 cross-bred (50/50) Wagyu/Angus beef, we feel fullblood or 100% Wagyu genetics is needed to achieve the renowned marbling and  taste of these animals.