History Of Wagyu
Today Wagyu Beef is one of the most sought after meats in the world, however, Wagyu cattle actually had very humble beginnings in Japan. The breed was initially utilised for their physical endurance and used to work the land rather than celebrated for its uniquely delicious meat.
Wagyu cattle are prone to incredibly high levels of fat marbling which traditionally gave them the energy they needed. Nowadays, this same marbling is the reason why Wagyu Beef has become a modern delicacy. It’s all about the fat, fine white layers that run through every cut of meat. This soft fat has a low melting point that adds tenderness to the meat and intensifies flavour when cooked.
The Birth of Wagyu in Japan
The Development of Wagyu in Japan
Cattle during this time were specifically bred to be able to work harder for longer, inadvertently breeding for marbling as the more energy the animals could store in their muscles the more stamina they had.
The 19th Century
It was in the 1940’s and 1950’s that records were starting to maintained, initially breeding was designed to increase the size of these cattle but not until 1968 that cattle would start being mainly bred for the breeds marbling quality.
Most hardcore foodies in the industry have heard of Kobe beef – the name derived from the region’s capital Kobe where the richest strain of the Japanese Black was bred.
Old stories of US soldiers landing in Kobe during the second world war would talk about the beef unique qualities referring to the meat as Kobe beef.
Soldiers Eating Wagyu During the War.
It was from 1968 until 1993 that cattle would be kept and bred in Japan specifically for it’s eating quality and size. Nose print identification was used to distinguish well bred animals.
The wagyu Olympics in Japan
Held every four years the wagyu Olympics a competition held for the highest quality meat and breeding stock.
The export of Wagyu from Japan ( 1993 – 1998 )
Wagyu were exported from Japan initially in 1993 by World K’s Toshi Matsuoka the cattle of this first import resulting in today’s industry in Australia, the United States to all around the world and right here in Ireland where the breed continues to grow and flourish as more and more food lovers grow to appreciate the wagyu experience.