Kagoshima Wagyu is an emerging favorite amongst Wagyu connoisseurs, prized for its full-bodied, robust flavor, tenderness and consistent marbling. Raised on Japan's southern subtropical island, Kyushu, Kagoshima Wagyu is the most recent winner of Japan's Wagyu Olympics, celebrated for its unparalleled level of quality and consistency. Kagoshima Wagyu cattle are raised in a warm climate with plenty of sun, producing superior meat quality.
Hokkaido Wagyu has attained the highest rating possible for Wagyu in Japan, making it a delicacy among connoisseurs. Raised in the pristine, rugged, snowy conditions of Hokkaido, Hokkaido Wagyu features a more delicate taste than Kagoshima or Miyazaki Wagyu, with a buttery finish that achieves the perfect balance of sweetness and umami and melts in your mouth. Rare and succulent, this is the insider's Wagyu.
Miyazakigyu was the first Wagyu to win the Prime Minister award at Japan's Wagyu Olympics three consecutive times as well as the top overall prize two times in a row — a testament to Miyazakigyu's recognition at Japan’s national level and beyond. Miyazakigyu is celebrated for its deep flavor, subtle sweetness, beautiful cherry color and intricate marbling. Raised on Kyushu Island, Miyazakigyu enjoy a subtropical climate with long hours of sunshine, fed high-quality spring water, yielding beef that is consistently of the highest quality.
Over 4 years ago, co-founder Joe Heitzeberg, traveled to Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture — where over 70% of Kobe Beef cattle are raised — to discover how Kobe Beef is produced, rated and auctioned. Since then, Crowd Cow has learned about Japan's unique traceability system, meticulous ratings, qualifications and standards that take place at the local, provincial and national levels, and built lasting relationships with the Japanese government and leaders in the field of Wagyu.
Crowd Cow sources Kagoshima Wagyu from Nozaki Farm where decades of breeding consistently achieve the highest grades of A5 Wagyu. Kagoshima Wagyu is the winner of the 2017 Wagyu Olympics, earning high scores for its high quality meat. Kagoshima Wagyu are raised in a warm, temperate climate with plenty of sun, producing mouthwatering Wagyu with bold, full-bodied umami flavor and consistent marbling.
Miyazakigyu has a long tradition of excellence as the pioneer of Japanese Wagyu in the US, adored for its unique balance of meat quality and intricate marbling. Raised on subtropical Kyushu Island, Miyazakigyu enjoy abundant sunshine and natural spring water, yielding high quality Wagyu, characterized by beautifully red-colored beef, majestic marbling and a naturally rich flavor palate.
Hokkaido Wagyu is raised in Japan’s cold northernmost prefecture under weather and soil extremes that yield high quality local grasses, producing some of Japan's best Wagyu. Grown under low temperatures throughout the seasons, Hokkaido Wagyu are raised in pristine conditions with access to fresh air, water, high-quality feed, achieving award-winning quality with beautiful "snowflake" marbling.
All Kobe Beef cattle are born and raised in Japan's Hyogo prefecture under the strictest breeding guidelines, fathered by 1 of 12 bulls chosen annually by the government for perfect marbling. Only a handful of certified farmers are even allowed to raise them in this region — of 5,500 qualifying heads.
What is Wagyu?
Wagyu (pronounced /WAH-gyoo/) is a term that literally means "Japanese cow" and is the name given to cattle breeds developed over centuries in Japan. Wagyu beef is known for its intense marbling and carries a well-deserved reputation for exquisite taste, texture, and tenderness.
Crowd Cow’s History of introducing Japanese Wagyu to the states. Crowd Cow’s History of introducing Japanese Wagyu to the states.
How to Cook A5 Wagyu
Bite-size portions. Slice into small strips and cook each one at a time. With A5 Wagyu, a little goes a long way, so savor and enjoy as you go.
Season. Sprinkle a little sea salt (e.g. sel gris), to taste. Pepper is okay, too. Season lightly so you can savor and enjoy the flavor of the meat itself. Alternatively, you can season after cooking the meat. The choice is up to you.
Cook on Stainless Steel. Sear the meat (sliced 1-inch by 4-inches) directly on the hot surface of the pan for 1 to 2 minutes per side. No need for oil, the fat from the A5 will melt out and provide more than enough for cooking.
The rating system consists of a letter and a number. The letter represents yield quality, which essentially means how much usable meat was on the animal. “A” is superior, “B” is average, and “C” is inferior. Or in plain English, our “A” here means that our cow gave an exceptionally high yield of usable meat.
Myth: Wagyu is banned in the U.S.
Fact: It's true that Wagyu DNA and live animals are permanently banned for export from Japan, but the meat is not. Sometimes there’s confusion because there was a ban on the meat for a while, too, but it ended in 2012 when exports resumed.
When it comes to Wagyu, there's a lot of confusion and misinformation online. Luckily, through our extensive work directly with producers in Japan, and my background in Japanese language, we've learned a lot and have been able to bring some of the rarest and best Japanese Wagyu to the USA for the first time.
The typical cuts you'll find in Japan differ from the American cuts. Japanese cuts are adopted to suit the richness as well as the high price-point of the beef, both of which encourage smaller portions than you might be used to. Japanese cuts also highlight the beef's distinct qualities.
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Wagyu (pronounced /WAH-gyoo/) is a term that literally means “Japanese cow” and is the name given to cattle breeds developed over centuries in Japan. Wagyu beef is known for its intense marbling and carries a well-deserved reputation for exquisite taste, texture and tenderness.
Wagyu is richly marbled, steakhouse quality, and famous for its umami flavor and buttery finish. Marbling is the distribution of soft white intramuscular fats within the red meat. Generations of careful breeding and management of diet and exercise contribute to the unique marbling of Wagyu beef.
Wagyu is grade for its marbling on a scale of 1-12, with 12 being the highest achievable quality. At this level, the beef is considered a work of art. To be designated “A5 Wagyu”, the beef must be raised in Japan and achieve the highest possible rating by the Japanese Meat Grading Association. For reference, USDA Prime beef, the highest designation of quality in the U.S., is equivalent to a 4 or 5 marbling score.
We have a list of resources found here on how to best prepare your Wagyu for best flavor.