Wagyu Vs Kobe

Written in 2024
by Toni Costa

    A debate that often comes up amongst the cooking community, these two amazing cuts are often argued over which one is best and what you should buy, and hopefully over this article, we will help you buy a beautiful, high-end steak.

    What is Kobe Beef?

    Kobe is just a variety of Wagyu beef, Wagyu loosely translates to 'Japanese cattle', so Wagyu is basically referring to any cow or cattle that is bred in japan with their famous style of farming. Kobe is however to be more specific, a particular strain of the wagyu that is raised in a particular prefecture in Japan.

    The reason that Kobe is set apart from the rest is the amazing work of the Wagyu breeders there, and the sheer amount of obsessive care they put into their work.

    What is Wagyu Beef?

    Wagyu originated with a few breeds of cattle from Europe bring introduced into Japan and being crossbred with some of the Japanese cattle, to make cattle that now falls into one of four breeds that make up Wagyu.

    -Japanese Black

    -Japanese Brown

    -Japanese Shorthorn

    -Japanese Polled

    90% of Wagyu is Japanese Black, so they are usually referring to this if they are talking about Wagyu beef.

    Wagyu Marbling

    Because of all of these breeding methods, Wagyu has an unbelievable level of marbling, that is also better tasting than other steaks.

    Its also more healhy!

    Kobe beef is the absolute best of the best, the most expensive coming in at over £200 for a portion!

    Why are these Kobe beef prices so high?

    Kobe is the absolute best of Wagyu, simply the best of the best, and considered to have the best marbling in the entire world, with strict standards for what can be classified as Kobe.

    Because of how strict it is, only around 3,000 and 4,000 cattle make it through the process a a year! That's compared to the millions of cattle that make the beef for most of the rest of the world.

    Buying Authentic Wagyu

    When you're paying such crazy prices for incredibly expensive steak, you need to know if you're getting the real thing.

    The price will be a real indicator, genuine Kobe or Wagyu will be very expensive, but someone trying to sell fake wagyu will mark it up massively, so don't be super reliant on this.

    Eat at resteraunts that are official and will be able to get real kobe beef from Japan, these are more likely to find in the bigger cities around the world.

    There are also trusted steak companies you can buy Kobe and Wagyu from so just be sure to do a little bit of research first.

    Kobe beef filet with fork and japanese text on black background In Japan, the word "Wagyu" ( 和牛 ) means "Japanese Cow". ( 黒毛和種 ): Japanese Black ( Black-haired Japanese cow ) Kuroge Washu is unique in the beef world, and in the entire animal kingdom, for its genetic predisposition to developing fine-grained, speckled fat marbling inside the meat itself.

    What is the difference between the Japanese and American counterparts

    American Kobe beef doesn't technically exist as it doesn't come from the specific prefecture in Japan, but American farms do mimic the process of feeding and raising to create their own version of it.

    American Wagyu can still exist as it comes from the cattle with Japanese bloodlines that male it like that, they are usually imported in to recreate their own. The American farms also tend to follow the same breeding techniques if they go through the effort to import cows over, so you really won't notice much of a difference.

    Final Thoughts

    Kobe and Wagyu has the title as some of the most well-sought after meat in the world for good reason, its full of amazing marbling that will taste better than most other marbling and is genuinely more healthy than a lot of other steaks, if not all of them. American Wagyu is still an amazing substitute for its Japanese counterpart and exemplifies everything that the Japanese has perfected.

    Written by Toni Costa

    I'm Antonio! I'm a university student based in Leeds, UK. My passions, are sports and food! The less said about the teams I support the better...

    Working on the SmokeGuys site has allowed me to improve my writing and of course, provide you with awesome reviews and guides!

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