Downhome in Burton, Texas — 5 Star Wagyu Ranch blossomed out of a drought. In 2012, the terrible drought forced the Siff family to adapt their ranching approach drastically after raising commercial cattle for 25 years. Today, Sherwin Siff and his wife exclusively raise almost 100 Wagyu cattle on 300 acres of open pasture.
“After considerable research, I felt Wagyu would be the most appropriate for us,” shares Sherwin, “our main goal was to raise the best quality meat possible.” Wagyu, known for its off-the-charts marbling and supreme tenderness, fit the bill.
During the first three years of raising full-blood Black Wagyu Cattle, the Siffs entered their cows in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ― the largest livestock show and rodeo in the country. Two of those years, 5 Star Wagyu Ranch won the title of Reserve Grand Champion. One year, the Siff’s Wagyu managed to clinch the Grand Champion title.
From there, Sherwin, inspired by the science of what makes Wagyu taste just that good, began expanding his research. “I collaborated with Dr. Steven Smith, a Regents Professor of meat science at Texas A&M and a world expert on cattle nutrition,” to write a research paper comparing the Full-blood Black Wagyu, free-range chicken and wild salmon, Sherwin explains.
“We found that the full-blood Black Wagyu cattle had a higher amount of oleic acid, linoleic acid and omega-3 acid than the free-range chicken and wild salmon,” says Sherwin. Oleic acid, linoleic acid, omega-3 acid? Those are the ones that give Wagyu that melt-in-your-mouth factor and lucky for all of us, Sherwin plans on continuing to produce very tasty, highly-marbled and healthy Wagyu.
While the Siffs have proven that Wagyu is genetically delicious, Sherwin also notes that providing a stress-free home for his cattle is just as important for taste. “Rough and forceful handling decreases marbling,” Sherwin says, “it makes the cattle more difficult to control and helps me to sleep better at night knowing that I treated the animal gently and with respect.”