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Kobe vs Wagyu: Which Premium Beef is Better?

Kobe vs Wagyu: Which Premium Beef is Better?

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. 

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.