Kobe beef is heralded as the most exclusive and best tasting beef in the world today.
Why?Well,there are several factors that give this particular “brand” its prized distinction.
First off,lets clear up some misconceptions of Kobe beef.
Technically,there is no such thing as a “Kobe” cow.It is simply the point where it is shipped from other locations throughout Japan.”Kobe” beef is derived from Tajima,a very old province in Japan that is now called Hyogo prefecture.Kobe is the capitol.”Kuroge Wagyu” or “Black-haired cattle” is the original very old stock that was the beginning.
Some beef afficianados call it Tajima beef.The fact that land is limited and very expensive in Japan,large acre cattle ranches that exist in the United States and other beef producing areas of the world is not economically practical.
Raised on less than 300 farms with each only producing less than 20 head,they are truly exclusive animals.They are raised with a very special diet including beer(said to be an appetite stimulant).In the summer beef are naturally prone to consume less due to heat and humidity.To keep their muscles relaxed,they are massaged,and many breeders traditionally will actually massage them with sake or rice wine.This is said to improve the quality of the meat as breeders believe that the quality of the coat and skin directly affect the meat itself and improve the overall value of the animal.A stress free cow is a healthier,higher quality cow.
The final phase of the fattening process involves the feeding of beer and sake mash.The result of all this special care is some of the finest,well marbled beef in the world.
As for cooking this culinary prize the opinions from chef to chef vary but most believe it should never be overcooked.Pan searing is a good pay to go but again,over cooking is to be avoided.The reason for this is that beautiful marbling.That is where the tenderness and flavor comes in.It would be tough and not as special if that fat were to be dissolved into the pan.There are a myriad of great recipes available on the internet that are just a few mouse clicks away.
By whatever name it goes by it is the top of the line as far as quality goes and is extremely expensive to buy.At over $300 a pound this is not your typical McBurger.Some would argue that Kobe beef is overpriced,yet with supply low and demand high there seems to be enough consumers that don’t mind “forking” it up.