What is Wagyu?
You’ve probably never heard of the Wagyu beef breed, but you may be familiar with the more well-known term “Kobe beef.”
Real Kobe beef actually comes from the Tajima bloodline of Japanese Black Wagyu cattle, and it must be raised, fed and slaughtered in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan.
There is a lot of mislabeling of Kobe beef on restaurant menus in the United States. Fewer than 10 American restaurants are legally certified to sell Kobe beef. None is ever sold at retail. However, Wagyu is available in the U.S. and is widely regarded as superior beef.
Wagyu beef genetically carries many traits that make it a desirable choice for consumers.
- More marbling (intramuscular fat) than other beef. Superior marbling is represented by evenly dispersed fat, not bands or clumps, but as tiny pinhead dots or a spider web of ultra-thin veins throughout the entire muscle. Wagyu cows are butchered at 27-29 months old, as they gain the most marbling after 24 months.
- Higher ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids than other beef. Wagyu beef is unusually high in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids — especially oleic acid, which is responsible for flavor. These monounsaturated fats have a lower melting point, below human body temperature, so they literally melt in your mouth. Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Hansen’s Wagyu-Holstein beef cows are born and raised on our dairy farm in Hudson, Iowa.
We began breeding for Wagyu-Holstein crosses in 2015, and started selling the beef in September 2018.
Hansen’s Wagyu-Holstein cattle are mothered by a Holstein cow and sired by a Wagyu bull named World K Sanjirou, who has been said to be one of the most influential bulls of the Tajima line.
Hansen’s beef cows, just like our dairy cows, are raised with great care and quality feed throughout their lives.
- No hormones or preventive antibiotics. The Wagyu-Holstein beef cows are housed with our Holstein dairy heifers and fed the same diet. The stress level of our cows is extremely low to ensure the fine texture and taste of the meat. Hansen’s Dairy does not use growth hormones or preventive antibiotics.
- 83% of diet is grown on Hansen’s Dairy farm. The majority of the cows’ feed — corn silage and alfalfa hay silage — is raised on our land.
Preparing Wagyu beef
Keep these facts in mind when cooking Wagyu-Holstein beef:
- More intense flavor. Wagyu is very tender and has a buttery flavor. Steak serving sizes are typically smaller because of the rich flavor profile.
- Faster cooking time. Wagyu cooks faster than other beef. It is recommended that steaks are cooked to no more than medium rare for optimum palatability.
- Juicy hamburger. Wagyu-Holstein beef is about 90% lean.