Saturday, August 16, 2008

Where's The Beef?

I was watching Iron Chef on the Food Network and Masaharu Morimoto was competing with another Asian chef and the secret ingredient was curry. As I watched, I saw Morimoto take out this meat
that was so marbled I couldn't believe my eyes. I rewound the show (thanks to tivo) and heard the name, went on Google and even tho' I barely spelled any part of it right, I found out that it was wagyu beef. Wagyu refers to several cattle genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of unsaturated fat. The meat from wagyu cattle is known worldwide for its marbling characteristics, increased eating quality through a naturally enhanced flavor, tenderness and juiciness, and thus a high market value. Several areas in Japan are famous for the quality of their Wagyu cattle, and ship beef bearing their areas' names. Kobe is one example although I have seen kobe and it didn't seem nearly as marbled. Now that I think about it, I don't know if I have ever tasted it. Have you?
The wagyu cattle's genetic predisposition yields a beef that contains a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than typical beef. The increased marbling also improves the ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats.
Wagyu cows were initially introduced to Japan to help cultivate rice during the 2nd century. By order of the Shogun, the cowherd in Japan was closed and eating meat from any four legged animal was prohibited from 1635 to 1838. Because of Japan's rugged terrain and isolated areas, different breeding and feeding techniques were used such as massaging or adding beer or sake to their feeding regimen. It is suggested that this was done to aid in digestion and induce hunger during humid seasons but appears to have no effect on the meats flavor. Massaging may have been to prevent muscle cramping on small farms in Japan in which the animals did not have sufficient room to use their muscles. I found it all very interesting.

Too much information?

Maggie and Evan are here; sleeping at the moment. My girlfriends, Linda, Micky and Regina are throwing M a shower today. I get to tag along.

Oh, and that source for the funeral bar recipe? It went no where. It seems that blood is thicker than say, flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate - you get the idea. I guess it's back to the drawing board.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't remember it being this fatty either. I've lived in Kobe and tasted the beef. Certainly an experience if you are so disposed. There are many restaurants where you sit at the counter and the beef is grilled on a HOT platter right in front of you, cut up in bite sizes and served. Very delicious, but one experience was enough for me. Of course, almost as expensive as a piece of jewellery too!

I think that bit about Omega fatty acids is pure bs. Beef fat is beef fat is beef fat.
Give me the sushi and sashimi any day...
That was when I was eating meat.

Don't know if you have been to Japan but the shopping experience is outerworldly wonderful. The supermarkets are incredible. Every article of food presented with a zen atmosphere.

Melissa said...

It depends on what you are comparing it to. Wagyu is better than feedlot any day. But I am very pleased with the steer we purchased which isn't wagyu, but was pasture raised/finished (no feedlot).

There is a farm in Idaho (Snake River Farms) that sells the kobe (wagyu) beef (tho' now the Wagyu has been crossed with Black Angus), which we purchased from years ago to see what all the fuss was about. It was very tender and tasty. But I wouldn't pay the prices that I have seen when some of the food network shows showcase this beef however.