Wagyu vs Kobe: Ultimate Beef Showdown – Taste & Value Guide

Kobe beef, prized for its marbling and tenderness, is a type of Wagyu beef but not all Wagyu is Kobe. Kobe is more expensive due to strict standards and limited availability, making it a top choice for those who love richly marbled beef.

what is better kobe or wagyu

Millions of Americans enjoy eating beef, making it a highly consumed meat, where the average person consumes 67 pounds of beef annually.

Kobe beef and Wagyu beef are very popular, and Kobe tends to have more marbling than Wagyu. Strict standards must be met for beef to be labeled as part of the Kobe or Wagyu cattle family. 

So what is better – Kobe or Wagyu? Continue reading to learn more and discover which premium beef is better. 

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What is Wagyu beef? 

What To Serve With Wagyu Beef

In the 1800s, Wagyu beef came from several breeds of European cattle that were introduced and crossbred with native Japanese breeds.

Wagyu Cow

This crossbreeding resulted in four strings of cattle that eventually dominated the Japanese beef trade industry, resulting in the best of the best beef available. The four varieties of authentic Wagyu beef include black, brown, shorthorn, and polled. 

What is Kobe beef? 

Kobe Wagyu Steak

Kobe beef is the blue ribbon winner among Wagyu beef, often coming from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle.

The meat from Kobe beef cattle is valued and praised for its tenderness, rich flavor, and well-marbled fatty texture. 

Are Kobe and Wagyu the same?

Ultimately Kobe beef is a form of Wagyu beef; however, Wagyu beef is not a type of Kobe beef.

Therefore, it is essential to know the differences to ensure you are getting the kind of beef you prefer. Authentic Kobe beef must also have a proven lineage, guaranteeing the highest breeding quality. 

Which is better – Wagyu or Kobe beef? 

Kobe beef essentially takes all the fantastic features of Wagyu beef and makes it better. To be labeled as Kobe, the cattle must meet strict standards, and only 3,000 head of livestock qualify as Kobe cattle annually. So for people who love abundantly marbled beef, Kobe is the better option. 

Is Kobe better than Wagyu A5?

Kobe Beef comes from different parts of Japan, and the highest beef quality is rated at A5. Kobe beef is typically placed at A4 or A5, whereas Wagyu is rated at A5, offering a higher quality guarantee. Ultimately Wagyu A5 beef is considered better than Kobe Beef. 

What is more expensive, Wagyu or Kobe? 

Compared to Wagyu and other beef, Kobe beef is considered the world’s most expensive and sought-after beef.

Single portions of Kobe beef can be as expensive as $300 per pound. Wagyu beef that is not Kobe quality can be half that price, making Kobe beef more costly than Wagyu. 

Ultimately, Kobe beef carries the higher price tag because it is the best of the best that Wagyu beef has to offer.

Several factors are considered when pricing Kobe beef that contributes to the higher prices, including how the cattle are raised and fed. Additionally, fewer quantities of Kobe beef are produced compared to Wagyu, which creates a higher demand and higher prices. 

FAQs about Kobe and Wagyu Beef

Which one has better nutritional value – Wagyu or Kobe beef? 

Wagyu and Kobe beef are high in nutritional values, carrying similar qualities and benefits. Both types of meat are rich in protein and iron, and even though they have a higher amount of fat, they still provide dietary benefits while being heart-healthy.

In addition, these cuts of beef are high in Omega 3 and 6, fatty acids needed to help provide the body with energy. 

Which has better marbling – Wagyu or Kobe beef? 

After generations and generations of cattle breeding, Wagyu and Kobe have outstanding amounts of marbling. The extraordinary amounts of marbling come from the breeding methods, which allow more extended periods for fattening. 

Wagyu beef has lots of marbling, which creates a better taste. Though Wagyu does not meet the same standards as Kobe, it has healthy fat, rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, providing this cut of beef with a rich buttery flavor (without the butter). 

Which one is more readily available – Wagyu or Kobe? 

Wagyu is more readily available than Kobe, primarily because cattle must meet structure guidelines before being classified as Kobe beef. 

What types of Wagyu cuts are available? 

Wagyu beef is typically cut and prepared like any other beef, offering mouthwatering steaks and high-quality beef products. Popular Wagyu cuts may include filet mignon, top sirloin, ribeye, strip steak, and rump. 

What types of Kobe cuts are available?

Like Wagyu beef, Kobe beef comes in various cuts, providing top-notch meat like no other available. Popular Kobe beef cuts include filet mignon, top sirloin, skirt steak, ribeye, hanger steak, flat iron steak, and strip steak.

What are the requirements for beef to be Wagyu or Kobe? 

Japanese-raised cattle are called Wagyu beef, and to be labeled Kobe beef, the cattle must meet additional requirements. To meet Kobe beef requirements, the cattle must be born, fed, and processed in the Hyogo perfection, and when graded, it must have a score of A4 or higher and a BMS 6 or higher. 

What is the difference between American Wagyu and Kobe and Japanese Wagyu and Kobe? 

Technically, American cattle labeled as Kobe beef is authentic Kobe, which only comes from Japan’s Hyogo prefecture.

However, several local farms in America try to mimic the Japanese cattle-raising method, including following their breeding, feeding, caring, and processing procedures. 

How do Wagyu, and Kobe beef steaks taste? 

Wagyu and Kobe beef steaks have a rich, beefy flavor, similar to what would be expected from a full-flavored cut of beef. As a result, some people compare the taste of these high-quality steaks to that of a top-notch New York Strip or Ribeye. 

Which one tastes better – Wagyu or Kobe beef?

There is no wrong answer between which beef – Wagyu or Kobe – tastes better. You cannot go wrong by enjoying either one of these top-quality beef options.

However, many people prefer Wagyu because they feel the marbling, which is more balanced, from these cattle tastes better. People who prefer Wagyu also claim they like this option better because of the intense flavoring than Kobe beef. It deserves to be cooked well with fabulous sides, especially if using a good cut.

How does Japanese beef compare to USDA Prime beef? 

Japan uses a different beef rating system than the USDA, using a marbling scale of 1-12, with the highest number given to steaks with incredible marbling. USDA Prime steaks typically land around five on the Japanese beef rating scale. Ultimately, Kobe steaks usually rate far higher than USDA Prime steaks. 

Which is better as ground beef – Wagyu or Kobe? 

Both types of meat have high percentages of fatty acids than other beef, creating a lower melting point for the monounsaturated fats. The lower melting point provides a unique texture and holds a lot of flavors, but it can break down when turning meat into ground beef. Though it is possible, Wagyu beef is more commonly found than Kobe, primarily because of the price point of the beef. 

Does authentic Kobe beef get made into burgers? 

Kobe beef, like any other beef, could be processed into burger meat; however, no steak enthusiast would do this to delicious Kobe beef. Since Kobe is the highest-quality beef available for purchase and is less likely to be turned into ground beef for burgers.

Additionally, the meat would lose the Kobe quality this beef is best known for during the grinding process. Therefore, seeking burgers labeled as Kobe at the store or on restaurant menus are often not natural Kobe beef. 

How can I enjoy traditional Wagyu or Kobe beef? 

With many farms looking to mimic traditional Wagyu and Kobe beef, how do you know if what you buy is authentic? A few indicators help you determine if you are paying for the real thing or buying a domestically created imposter. 

  • Price: Check the price because if you have genuine Wagyu or Kobe beef, it will be more expensive than other cuts of meat. 
  • Steak Companies: Buy authentic Wagyu and Kobe beef from a trusted meat distribution company.
  • Dining Out: Find an official restaurant that sells natural Kobe beef, which can be found in larger cities, such as Chicago, New York City, or Las Vegas. 

More FAQs

Which is more expensive Kobe or Wagyu?

Kobe and Wagyu beef can both be quite expensive due to strict regulations and high demand. The price per pound for Kobe beef can range from approximately $200 to $500, while the price per pound for Wagyu beef can range from around $50 to $150.

What is the most expensive steak type?

The most expensive steak type is Japanese Kobe Beef, which costs around $300 per pound. It is widely regarded as the pinnacle of luxury, thanks to its unparalleled marbling that is acclaimed as the finest in the world.

Can you get real Kobe beef in the US?

Real Kobe beef is available in the US, but it is important to note that there are strict standards for both raising and selling this premium product. Currently, there are only 8 authorized US retailers who can sell this rare beef, and a mere 37 certified restaurants in the US are allowed to serve it.

What is the most expensive meat in the world?

The most expensive meat in the world is Japanese Wagyu beef, particularly the Kobe type, which originates from Tajima-gyu cattle raised in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture. Kobe beef is famous for its exceptional marbling, tenderness, and indulgent, buttery taste. Various factors contribute to the steep price of Kobe beef.

Is Wagyu steak worth it?

Wagyu steak is definitely worth it due to its exceptional quality, praised by chefs and food enthusiasts for its unmatched flavor, succulent texture, and unrivaled marbling.

What is the difference between Kobe and Wagyu?

The difference between Kobe and Wagyu lies in their specific origins and production methods. Kobe beef is a type of Wagyu beef that must come from the Kobe city area in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan. It is raised under strict protocols that set it apart from other Wagyu breeds.

Why is Kobe and Wagyu beef so expensive?

Kobe and Wagyu beef are expensive due to the smaller size of feed lots in Japan, which prevents them from benefiting from economies of scale. This results in higher production costs for Wagyu beef compared to the US, ultimately contributing to its high price.

What’s so special about Wagyu beef?

Wagyu beef stands out for its exceptional qualities. Its abundant marbling, resulting in a rich, velvety tenderness, sets it apart from steaks produced by American cattle. This makes authentic Wagyu beef highly coveted and regarded as one of the most luxurious meats worldwide.

What is the best Japanese beef?

The best Japanese beef is represented by three renowned wagyu brands originating from the Kansai region of Japan, namely Matsusaka Ushi, Kobe Beef, and Ohmi Beef. These wagyu brands all have their roots in Tajima beef, a subspecies of Japanese Black cattle from Hyogo Prefecture, resulting in distinct and exceptional flavor profiles for each.

Is all Wagyu from Kobe?

All Wagyu is not from Kobe. Kobe beef is a specific type of Wagyu, but there are other types of Wagyu that are not Kobe, such as Bungo, Matsusaka, and Ohmi. It is crucial to understand the distinctions between Kobe and other Wagyu varieties.

Is Wagyu the best type of steak?

Wagyu is considered by many to be the best type of steak due to its exceptional quality. The boneless Wagyu A5 strip steak, in particular, offers a delightful combination of texture and flavor. Additionally, this cut boasts some of the most pronounced marbling among all other cuts.

What is the highest grade of Kobe Wagyu?

The highest grade of Kobe Wagyu is A5, which represents the combination of the highest yield grade and meat quality grade. A5 Wagyu beef is characterized by ideal firmness, texture, coloring, yield, and beef marbling score.

Can I get Kobe beef in the US?

You can find Kobe beef in the US, but it is important to note that there is only one true Kobe Beef. The standards for raising and selling this premium product are highly regulated. Currently, there are only 8 authorized US retailers who can sell this rare delicacy, and a mere 37 restaurants in the US have the certification to serve it.

What cow is Wagyu beef?

Wagyu beef is derived from any of the four specific breeds, namely Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled. In the United States, Japanese Black and Brown cattle are present and are crossbred with American cattle to produce American Wagyu beef.

Is Wagyu really the best?

Wagyu beef is often regarded as the best beef in the world, originating from Japan. It is derived from four distinct types of Japanese cattle, with its name translating to “Japanese Cow” (wa = Japanese, gyu = cow).

Is A5 Kobe Wagyu worth it?

A5 Kobe Wagyu is definitely worth it as it is the highest quality grade for wagyu beef. Renowned for its exceptional marbling, velvety texture, and indulgent taste, it is highly favored by chefs and guaranteed to impress when served at any dining occasion.

Is Arby’s wagyu real?

Arby’s wagyu is made from a combination of 51% American Wagyu and 49% ground beef, cooked using the sous-vide method and then quickly flash fried.

Why is Wagyu beef so special?

Wagyu beef stands out as a unique delicacy due to its exceptional attributes. With its elevated levels of marbling and finer meat texture, wagyu beef offers a more delightful and flavorful dining experience, making it highly sought after worldwide.

What part of a cow is wagyu?

Wagyu is a special breed of cattle that is known for its intense marbling and amazing flavor. Various cuts of Wagyu beef, each with its own unique taste and texture, are sourced from the rib, loin, and chuck primal cuts, making them the most popular choices.

What is the top 3 Wagyu beef?

The top three Wagyu beef brands in Japan, which are Matsusaka Ushi, Kobe Beef, and Ohmi Beef, all originate from the Kansai region. These Wagyu brands have distinct flavor profiles despite sharing a common ancestry with Tajima beef, a subspecies of Japanese Black cattle from Hyogo Prefecture.

Is Kobe beef really worth it?

Kobe beef is indeed worth it due to its exceptional tenderness, marbling, and flavor, making it a highly sought-after delicacy worldwide. The unique rearing method of feeding the cattle a specialized diet consisting of grains and grasses contributes to the exceptional quality of Kobe beef.

Why is Kobe beef the best?

Kobe beef is considered the best due to its exceptional flavor, marbling, and texture. Its unique qualities, such as its buttery, smooth, and melt-in-your-mouth texture, set it apart from any other type of meat available. The richness of Kobe beef is so remarkable that a portion as small as 100g is more than sufficient. Trying authentic Kobe beef is a rare opportunity that only a fortunate few get to experience.

What grade of Wagyu is Kobe?

Kobe beef is classified as the highest grade, specifically grade A5 with the highest B.M.S. value, 10-12. At Ishida, the Choice Kobe beef course consistently offers this top-grade quality. The superior ranking of this beef class ensures an exceptionally tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture, along with a unique succulent lightness and an indescribable umami flavor.

How much is Olive Wagyu vs Kobe?

The price per pound of Olive Wagyu compared to Kobe beef varies. Authentic Japanese Wagyu beef, including high-grade Wagyu, can be quite expensive, ranging from $250 to $300 per pound. On the other hand, the rarest type of Wagyu, known as Olive Wagyu, typically costs between $120 and over $300 per pound.

What is the most expensive beef in Japan?

The most expensive beef in Japan is Kobe beef, which is highly coveted worldwide. Single portions of Kobe beef often sell for over $200, while in Japan, the price starts at around $300 per pound. In the United States, it can cost $50 per ounce, whereas other non-Kobe Wagyu beef can be half that price.

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