Raising Wagyu Cattle is an Art
Nothing can touch Japanese Wagyu for flavor and tenderness because the native cattle have developed a natural propensity to intramuscular marbling, which has been encouraged over centuries.
We source from several prefectures in Japan including but not limited to, Miyazaki, Hyogo, Kagoshima, Iwate, and Kumamoto. Our network of small farms raises authentic native-breed Black Kuroge cattle stock - usually only a few at a time. These beef masters have developed protocols which, like many things in Japan, have been taken to the level of art.
Using traditional methods, the farmers provide a stress-free environment and never use hormones or growth stimulants. The Black Kuroge cattle are humanely raised for nearly three years, first on grass for 9 months, then on a proprietary diet devised by the individual farmers, with incremental amounts of barley, vegetables, greens, and hay. This diet encourages the breed’s natural propensity to exquisite and abundant marbling.
The breeding is thoroughly controlled, and each calf gets an individual identification number, with the date and place of birth, and the bloodline of the parents - which is listed on their certificate of authenticity, which includes the unique nose print of each cattle.
What is BMS?
The Beef Marbling Score is a method used by third-party graders to measure the extent of lacy marbling that is the hallmark of the best Wagyu beef. Japanese grading consists of several steps. First, the yield is graded A, B, or C, and then the quality of the carcass gets graded from 1-5 based on its marbling, color, and texture, hence A5. Finally, the BMS score - ranging from 3 to 12 - is assigned. Beef that scores 12 is almost white with the network of marbling, and anything in the 10-12 range is considered the best Wagyu - and is hard to come by.
At D’Artagnan, we only source from the highest range of the BMS 10-12 so our Japanese Wagyu beef is the crème de la crème and offers unparalleled flavor and tenderness.
What is Kobe Beef?
Although all Kobe beef is Wagyu, not all Wagyu beef wears the Kobe label. Kobe can only be used to refer to beef raised in Kobe, in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan, renowned for producing the juiciest, most flavorful beef. It’s similar to the Appellation d’origine contrôlée, or AOC, a certification in France that is granted to certain foods or wines under the auspices of the government. Think of the difference between Champagne, which must come from the Champagne region to use the name, and sparkling wine which can be produced anywhere. That’s the relationship of Kobe to Wagyu. Kobe beef comes from Kobe, Japan but Waygu beef can come from Texas.
When referring to beef, the word Wagyu is often used synonymously with Kobe. But actually, the word Wagyu comes from “wa,” an old term referring to Japan. One of the meanings of “gyu” is beef. So Wagyu actually means “Japanese beef” and can refer to several breeds of cattle, known for producing highly marbled beef that is tender and flavorful.