By Franz Scheurer
Wa (Japanese style) gyu (cattle) is the Japanese word for any beef cattle of Japanese origin. Wagyu cattle (famous throughout the world as ‘Kobe Beef’) were introduced into Australia in 1991. It is a horned breed, black or red in colour, with the black being perceived as the better quality. When Wagyu are crossed with Angus, Murray Grey, Shorthorn or Holstein cattle, the resulting, superior B3 meat produced, is highly regarded in Japan.
Wagyu are renowned for their intramuscular fat, or marbling. Marbling begins at about 12 months of age and is maximised by 24 months, therefore they are ideally slaughtered at just over 2 years old.
Wagyu beef has a softer fat than any other breed. It melts more easily during cooking, improving the flavour and texture in the process. This is due to a higher ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids.
Over the last twenty years Australians have been educated to eat lean meat, resulting in breeding cattle with extra muscle and less fat. Lean meat however lacks texture and taste. Marbling is the most reliable component of meat taste and tenderness. Japanese consumers recognise this and are prepared to pay premium prices for highly marbled meat. The latest research results, published in December 2003 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show that eating monounsaturated fatty acids is better for your heart than eating special diets with lean products.
Wagyu beef has been available in many of the top restaurants in Australia but just about impossible to get for the average consumer. This has now changed with the launch in Sydney of Condobolin Wagyu. This premium Wagyu beef is sold through a number of selected butchers and represents excellent value for money.
For a location of a retailer near you ring Peter Cradock at ‘Cooradilla’, in Condobolin on 02 6895 2116 or 0428 953 116. If you’re in Crows Nest have a look at this marvellous meat at ‘Ray the Butcher’, Shop 7, 103-111 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest.
It really does melt on your tongue…