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What is Kobe Beef?

Learn the history of Kobe beef, how to prepare it, and what it tastes like.

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What is Kobe beef?

Kobe beef is a type of high-quality, marbled beef that is produced in Japan. It’s named after the city of Kobe, which is located in the Hyōgo Prefecture of Japan. Kobe beef comes from a specific breed of Japanese cattle called “Tajima-gyu.” These cattle are raised in a very specific and unique way, including being fed a diet of sake, beer, and grains, and being massaged and brushed regularly to promote muscle development.

What does Kobe beef taste like?

Kobe beef is known for its unique flavor, tenderness, and fatty marbling. It offers a melt-in-your-mouth taste. It’s often described as having a slightly sweet, nutty taste with a rich, savory aroma. Kobe beef is also highly prized for its high level of marbling, which refers to the thin veins of fat that run throughout the meat. The marbling in Kobe beef is what gives it its tenderness and intense flavor, as the fat melts and bastes the meat as it cooks.

What is the history/origin of Kobe beef?

The history of Kobe beef can be traced back to the early 1800s, when the Tajima strain of Japanese cattle was developed in the Hyōgo Prefecture. These cattle were originally used for working on farms and pulling plows but, over time, they were selectively bred for their meat. In the 1980s, the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association was established to promote the production and sale of Kobe beef, and the beef became widely known and sought after around the world. Today, Kobe beef is considered a delicacy.

How is Kobe beef served? 

Kobe beef is typically served in thin slices, either raw or lightly seared. It’s often served as part of the traditional Japanese dish of shabu-shabu, in which thin slices of raw meat are cooked briefly in a pot of hot water or broth and then dipped in a variety of sauces or condiments before being eaten.

Kobe beef can also be served as steaks, cooked to medium rare or medium. When cooked as steaks, Kobe beef is typically served with a variety of accompaniments, such as roasted vegetables or potatoes.

How do you make Kobe beef? 

If you’d like to make Kobe beef at home, you’ll need to start by obtaining high-quality, marbled beef from a reputable source. Kobe beef can be difficult to find outside of Japan, so you may need to look for a local supplier or order it online.

Once you have your beef, there are a few key things to keep in mind when preparing it:

  • Use a high-quality, sharp knife to thinly slice the beef, as this will help to preserve the tenderness of the meat.
  • Kobe beef is best served medium rare or medium, as cooking it to a higher temperature will cause the fat to melt and the flavor to be lost.
  • Use a dry heat cooking method, such as grilling or pan-searing, to cook the beef. Avoid using moist cooking methods, such as boiling or braising, as these will cause the beef to become tough and lose its flavor.
  • Serve the Kobe beef with a variety of accompaniments, such as roasted vegetables or potatoes, and a selection of dipping sauces or condiments.

If you’re able to obtain high-quality, marbled beef and follow these tips, you can enjoy the taste of Kobe beef at home.

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