The Cost of Kobe/Wagyu Beef
Kobe beef is the kind of meat with a texture that will just melt in your mouth, very popular for its rich flavor. You can usually find it in some of the online specialty butchers, as well as in most high-end steakhouses. Some people also call it Wagyu, because this type of meat usually comes from the Wagyu cattle, raised around the Hyogo region of japan. Wagyu means cow in Japanese. This cattle can also be found scattered around some parts of the United States.
In fact, There’s really no such thing as Kobe beef. It’s just the shipping point from one place in Japan. But what people called “Kobe beef” is actually the meat coming from the Tajima province which is nowadays known as the Hyogo Prefecture. Its capital is called Kobe.
How much does Kobe beef cost per pound?
The price of Kobe beef will depend on its type and where you buy it from. It will usually start at around $100 per pound and rise abruptly from there. When it comes to authentic Japanese Kobe beef, this price is at least double the American-bred variety.
Although a few different types of beef will be named Kobe, not all of them will be created equally.
For example, it’s not at all uncommon to find beef in Japan that is priced at $320 per pound or even more. But if you were to shop at a local grocery store and you wouldn’t mind getting mean with a lower grade score on a mass scale (don’t worry, we’ll explain everything about this later on in this article), then its price could drop to around $40 per pound. Keep in mind that you will only find this type of beef at this rate when it is mass-produced and comes from inside the US and not from Japan. One example is Sam’s Club, which sells Kobe Beef filets in four-pack, six-ounce packages, for $220.
You might also like our articles on the cost of beef tenderloin, Porterhouse steak, or prime ribs.
You can also find American Wagyu beef at higher prices as long as it has a score of at least eight to nine or higher. In this case, the price will be between $120 and $200 per pound.
Costco is another example of a retailer that offers Wagyu beef in its local stores. It actually has three varieties you can pick from: You can either get the 13 pounds Japanese Wagyu Boneless Ribeye Roast which is priced at around $100 per pound, or the 11 pounds Japanese Wagyu New York Strip Loin Roast, which would retail at $110 per pound or $1,200 apiece.
One CNN Money article, claims that Kobe beef can be placed on the list of the priciest foods in the world, having a price of at least $150. One butcher was also interviewed in this article and according to him, the actual cost of the Japanese variety at his store is close to $110 and the price drops to about half when it comes to the American variety.
You might want to order it from your local steakhouse and if that’s the case, remember that you will only be able to find it at a few high-end restaurants in the US. Even if you were to find it in a steakhouse near you, you should keep in mind that it will be pretty hard to find anything below $400 per plate, from what we could gather. It’s also not uncommon to find plates priced at around $500 or even more, according to the Hapan Guide Book.
An Overview of the Kobe beef
Four different types of cattle will give Wagyu beef. These are the Japanese Poll, the Japanese Shorthorn, the Japanese Black, and the Japanese Brown. Wagyu cattle are different from cows that give traditional meat due to the fact that their diet is made of beer or sake. This combined with the DNA of the cow will give a more tender, buttery, and very marbled meat. Kobe beef will be higher in monounsaturated fats and will also have more omega 3.
You probably have a pretty good understanding of words like USDA Prime, Select, and Choice, from all the beef you’ve bought in the past from the local grocery store. These are the official top three qualities the USDA will utilize to grade each beef piece by quality. The USDA bases its grading scale on the density of the meat, more precisely, between the 12th and 13th rib. When it comes to the Wagyu beef, this grade is given by the 12-point marbling scale.
According to professionals, if we were to use the USDA prime for the Wagyu beef according to its marbling scores, then its rating would be somewhere between five and six. A beef considered the most expensive type should have a rank around 12, which would mean that the marbling would be dense to the point that muscle to marbling would be at a ratio of nine to one. Wagyu has to have around 25 percent marbled fat to get to this impressive ratio.
What are the extra costs?
If you find this meat at an online butcher, be prepared to pay extra for delivery fees.
Important things to consider
Although there are more than 1.3 billion cattle all around the world, out of them, only around 3,000 are known to be certified Kobe.
Another interesting fact is that although all Kobe beef is Wagyu, things don’t work the other way around, so not all Wagyu beef will be Kobe. Beef can be called Kobe as long as the cattle originated from the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan and the meat production has been kept within the standards of this particular region. People in Japan take Beef production as seriously as the French take wine production. And considering that beef is actually produced in a lot of different regions, each region will be known for its particular kind of beef.
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