FULLBLOOD VS CROSSED WAGYU
Wagyu translates to "Japanese Cow." Most Wagyu we consume is from the Japanese Black (Kuroge Washu) breed. By law, wagyu in Japan are Fullblood (100% wagyu genetics) with no cross-breeding.
Fullblood Wagyu are genetically unique to have the highest intramuscular fat (marbling) and have a low melting point of ~ 78°F, resulting in the famous melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Japan used to export live Fullblood Wagyu to the world. In 1997, though, Japan declared the Wagyu breed a living national treasure and banned exports. Today, there is a small amount of Fullblood Wagyu outside of Japan.
CROSSED WAGYU GENETICS
- higher F numbers = more wagyu DNA
- most are F1 and F4 are the rarest
Farmers achieve genetic variations by crossing Wagyu with Angus. Higher percentages of Wagyu genetics lead to higher F numbers and more Wagyu characteristics in the beef. Most Wagyu in the U.S. & Australia are F1 Crosses (50% wagyu).
WAGYU DIET INFLUENCES BEEF FLAVOR
- Grain Diet: mild beef flavor
- Grain & Grass Diet: medium beefiness
- Grass Diet: strong beef flavor
Many Australian Wagyu farms allow their cattle to graze on grass, creating a deeper beef flavor profile similar to dry-aged meats. Most American Wagyu farms follow Japanese-style grain feeding, producing a milder flavor profile.
MARBLING & TEXTURES
Crossing wagyu is a hard science, and there's a wide variance in quality from different farms. Marble scores range from USDA choice to slightly leaner than A5. We scour the world to find the best quality of wagyu in each category.
Generally, Australian Wagyu programs typically marble out better than American Wagyu, but some exceptions exist. Beef marble scores (BMS) measure the amount of intramuscular fat. Higher BMS scores are fattier, and lower BMS scores are more balanced in steak texture. The highest BMS scores will be slightly leaner than the melt-in-your-mouth A5 Japanese Wagyu.
Like wine, each brand/region of Wagyu will be distinct from the others. Farms will differ in genetics, animal husbandry, environment, and diet. Learn the differences by tasting wagyu from different farms across the world.