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The Difference Between Australian Wagyu and Japanese Wagyu

Feb 7

Wagyu, probably the most popular and revered meat in the world, is one of the highest-priced meat in the market. It has a flavour, texture, and marbling that is unbeatable by other types of meat. This is the product of thousands of years of perfecting the breed and taking care of prime cattle, which brings us a wonderful, one-of-a-kind dining experience. Wagyu has gained popularity and exclusivity over the years because of strict regulations on exports, and the protection of breeding and feeding techniques. Real and hard-core wagyu is quite difficult to source and you may find them only in high-end restaurants. 


What is Wagyu?

Wagyu is a Japanese term that means "Japanese Cow". Wagyu has its origins in Japan. Cattle have been raised for labour for over 2,000 years, and selection pressure for draught qualities has resulted in this breed evolving to create the absolute pinnacle of the beef tasting experience, for which they are now recognized worldwide. Beef consumption began with Kobe beef after 1867, and husbandry improved as a result, but by that time, marbling in indigenous cattle in Japan had become entrenched.

Defining Australian Wagyu 

Outside of Japan, Australia has the largest Wagyu population. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a small number of cattle were imported into Australia. These cattle are the closest thing to Japanese Wagyu outside of Japan. Since then, licensed farmers with pureblood experience in breeding 100 percent full-blood Wagyu cattle and other crossbreed cattle have been hired by Australia. It was part of their plan to expand their Wagyu beef business. Blackmore Wagyu and Stone Axe Wagyu, for example, have successfully produced 100 per cent full-blood Wagyu from Japanese Wagyu in the past. There was no evidence of cross-breeding in these breeds. As a result, Australian herds are a mix of purebred and crossbred animals.

The climate varies across the country and is distinct from that of Japan. There are plenty of open areas, and the hot and humid temperatures in the north provide tropical grasses for feeding. The grass in the south is more traditional, and the climate is fresher. Although the cattle do not graze as long as Japanese Wagyu, the feed formulas vary from farm to farm. As a result, Australian Wagyu has a unique texture while maintaining a rich, buttery flavour profile. Wagyu is recognized for its high amounts of marbling. Although Australian Wagyu beef has a high degree of intramuscular fat, it lacks the marbling of Japanese Wagyu. Australian Full-blood, Purebred, and Crossbred Wagyu beef have varying levels of marbling.

The grading system for meat in Australia differs greatly from that of Japan. Ausmeat and MSA (Meat Standards Australia) are the two official systems in Australia, each with a marble score ranging from 0 to 9. If the quality is higher than 9, it can be ranked 9+. In both grading regimes, marble grades are similar. 

Defining Japanese Wagyu 

Wagyu originated in Japan hundreds of years ago. Their farmers passed down their knowledge from generation to generation. Because Wagyu beef is not allowed to be exported from Japan, obtaining it was incredibly difficult. Furthermore, because there was no livestock or genetic material available, breeding Wagyu was much more difficult. Japanese Wagyu breeds are classified into four breeds: Japanese Brown, Japanese Black, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn. 

Only a few abattoirs are licensed to process the carcasses, which are kept in the same area where they were raised. The principle is the same as with Champagne, which can only be produced in the Champagne area of France. Kobe, in the Hyogo prefecture, is the most well-known Wagyu-raising region. The flavour and quality of meat can be greatly influenced by the weather. Japan has the ideal climate, with plenty of rain, grasses, and cool springs. When you combine the Japanese reputation for perfection, the highest level of animal welfare, and the climate's adaptability, Wagyu from Japan is genuinely unique.

A marble score grade ranges from 1 to 12 in the Japanese grading system. They do, however, look at a variety of other aspects of the corpses and assign an overall grade, with A5 being the highest (you just need a marble score of 8+ to qualify for A5). When a carcass is graded, the grade is determined at one location in the animal and applied to the entire animal.

Australian or Japanese Wagyu?

Japanese Wagyu beef is, without a doubt, the most delectable beef on the planet. It has a superior texture and flavour to the Australian version. However, Australian Wagyu is valuable since it has around 95% of the original Japanese Wagyu meat. However, both Australian and Japanese Wagyu beef are in high demand because of their purity. At the end of the day, choosing what Wagyu is best is a personal choice. The Meat-Inn Place Lilydale offers the highest quality Japanese Wagyu and Australian Wagyu in the market. We have the best prices, the freshest meat, and the best butchers in Melbourne to help you with your purchases! You can head over to our physical butcher shop in Lilydale or order with a simple click from our online shop.