Magazine article Sunset

Best Beef: Kobe-Style Beef Is Tender, Flavorful, and Now Available in the West

Magazine article Sunset

Best Beef: Kobe-Style Beef Is Tender, Flavorful, and Now Available in the West

Article excerpt

Until recently, Japan boasted the best beef in the world but harbored a secret. Kobe cattle are legendary for their tender meat--and for the massages and beer- and sakelaced diet they're given. But since the early 1970s, many of those Kobe cows have actually been raised in the United States, where both land and feed are cheaper. Here, as in the Kobe region of Japan, they come from the ancient Wagyu breed, which yields meat finely marbled with fat and therefore both tender and flavorful. You wouldn't expect this to be good health news, but the fat is less saturated than the fat in other beef, and the meat is lower in cholesterol.


Even better news: Western producers of Kobe-style Wagyu--who are doing it sans sake and massages but with traditional feed routines and without growth hormones--are beginning to market their meat here. And while it's not cheap, it doesn't command $100 a portion, as it can in Japan. Bala Kironde, owner of Preferred Meats in Oakland, California ( or 510/632-4065), explains, though, that not all Wagyu is created equal: Breeding counts, among other things, and there are various grades. He stands by Kobe from Idaho's Snake River Farms (available in high-end supermarkets or from Snake River Farms, www.snakeriverfarms. com or 800/657-6305).

James Ormsby, executive chef of PlumpJack Cafe in San Francisco (415/563-4755), serves several cuts of Snake River Kobe. He offers this simple tenderloin--quickly sauteed to sear the outside but not melt the marbling inside--for a special holiday meal.

Kobe Pepper Filet Mignon

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 25 minutes

NOTES: Rounds cut from the small end of the beef tenderloin are sold as filet mignon; substitute USDA prime or choice beef for the Kobe if desired. Start the potatoes first, then make the green peppercorn sauce; keep it warm over low heat while you cook the beef. Demiglace and stock bases are sold in some supermarkets, specialty food stores, and some cookware stores (such as Williams-Sonoma); reconstitute a stock base to the demiglace level to use in the sauce.

MAKES: 4 servings

1. Rinse beef and pat dry. Season all over with salt. Put cracked black pepper on a small, rimmed plate.

2. Heat olive oil and butter in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. When butter just begins to brown, press a flat side of each piece of beef into pepper to form an even crust (discard any leftover pepper); set beef, pepper side down, in pan and cook until browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.