Japanese Kobe Burgers From Wagyu BeefBy burrger • Dec 14th, 2007 • Category: Burger Blog
There’s a place where cows drink beer and get regular hand massages – that place is Kobe, Japan. And we’re not talking about cows drinking at bars and visiting masseurs – we’re talking about farming.
The aim of the game is to produce the legendary Kobe Beef. This beef is rich, tender and juicy and cannot be matched by any other beef. It comes from the Wagyu breed of cow that has the unique genetics to create such a highly regarded meat.
The Wagyu cow has fat that is spread throughout its muscle structure that produces a marbled like design in the meat. Its this distribution of fat that gives the unique flavor and texture.
To be called Kobe Beef the meat must not only come from a Wagyu cow but also have been produced in Kobe and meet rigid production standards.
Beer, Massages and Beef
Beer and massages I hear you ask? Lets begin with the beer issue. Your everyday cow is fed on a diet so unappetizing that it has to be force fed when it is young, this is to ensure the cow puts on enough weight to get a higher sale price at slaughter.
But the Kobe cow is given a very high quality feed and is not force fed. Once in a while the cattle is given a drink of beer, the effect of the beer is to increase the cows appetite so it eats more. Because it isn’t force fed, the cow is generally less stressed and everybody knows that a stressed cow gives tougher meat?
This brings us to massaging. Farmers hand massage the cows to tenderize the meat and to relax the cow. The farmers insist that this directly affects the quality of the meat and those who have tasted the meat aren’t disputing that claim.
Japan is so protective of its beloved Kobe Beef that the Government has strictly limited all exports of the meat to a minimum. Farmers in the USA and Scotland raise Wagyu cattle and sell the meat as Kobe Style or Scottish Kobe. And the price? Well a pound of authentic Kobe Beef wholesales at over $80 and a pound of Scottish Kobe Sirloin sells for £23 ($40).
Kobe burgers can be seen on the menus of the most exclusive eateries all over the world. At the Old Homestead Steakhouse, New York a Kobe-style burger will cost you a mere $41. Kobe burgers are also on the menu at Lucky Devils in LA, which offers a massive Kobe burger served either standard, with caramelized onions, Arugula and garlic aioli on a brioche bun, or as one of “Lucky’s Favorites,” fully loaded with all of the above plus Maytag blue cheese, Gruyère cheese and Nueske bacon.