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A Complete Guide to Wagyu: Grading & Marbling

The words “Wagyu” and “marbling” or “grading” are often heard of, especially if you are a steak lover who settles for nothing less than extraordinary. But what do they really mean? They are the king of the chain, creme of the crop and the epitome of fine dining. If you want to master the art of wagyu, including grading, marbling and more – you’ll definitely need this guide below. Take notes and here’s a complete guide about wagyu!

Understanding Wagyu

Let’s start with the basic, we all know that Wagyu is often loosely translated as “Japanese cow”, which holds true when rooted back to its native definition. (Wa means Japanese and gyu means cow or beef).

It’s important to note though, due to the high demands, wagyu has also been bred out of Japan, particularly in Australia and United States. Using the best Japanese genetics, farmers from these new regions use different methods and production processes that preserve its wagyu integrity. Moreover, the soils, climates, grasses and rainfall are all different to Japan which affect the taste, texture and quality.

A Mix of Wagyu

A chart to complete the guide to understand all about wagyu

Unless you have a trip to Japan, it’s pretty rare to sample authentic wagyu. To know your wagyu mix, here is a few types to know:

  • Fullblood Wagyu : 100% genetically Wagyu Beef with zero crossbreed
  • F1 ( 50% Wagyu) : Has 50% or higher Wagyu genetic content, crossbreeding fullblood with another breed.
  • F2 ( 75% Wagyu) : Has 75% or higher Wagyu genetic content, crossbreeding fullblood and a crossbred Wagyu F1
  • F3 (87.5% Wagyu) : Has greater than 87% Wagyu genetic content, crossbreeding fullblood and a crossbred Wagyu F2
  • F4 ( 93.75% Wagyu) : Has greater than 93% Wagyu genetic content, crossbreeding fullblood and a crossbred Wagyu F3

So what does this mean? It simply means that wagyu is far more available now and that under several reputable brands, you can still enjoy excellent wagyu without only having to resort to from Japanese source.

At LuxoFood, we provide wagyu from Australian’s Stockyard brand which has been around since 1944 as the country’s leading Wagyu exporter. You can enjoy their variety of superior wagyu that speaks of taste and quality.

Grading: Selecting Your Meat Grade

Now that you’ve known your Wagyu origin, let’s proceed with Wagyu grading that is related to consistency and palatability (tenderness, flavor and juiciness).

Grading is related to yield percentages based on marbling (fat content), meat color and texture. So yield score is determined by an estimated cutability percentage that is calculated by an equation of carcass measurements. Let’s refer to the quality grading list below :

  • Grade A – 72% and above
  • Grade B – 69% and above
  • Grade C – under 69%
  • Quality grade

Meanwhile, the evaluation on marbling and grade is as follow :

  1. Poor — 1
  2. Below Average — 2
  3. Average — 3-4
  4. Good  — 5-7
  5. Excellent — 8-12

A photo of wagyu ribeye steak marbling 5 3cm thick (frozen) for completing the guide to understand about wagyu

Wagyu Ribeye Steak Marbling 5 3cm thick (Frozen)

Wagyu top sirloin mb9+ steak 3cm thick (lean cut) frozen

Wagyu Top Sirloin MB9+ Steak 3cm thick (lean cut)


Marbling: Know Your Marble

Wagyu is renowned for its marbling in the form of intramuscular fat (IMF) which appears as fine flecks within the muscle. The presence of marbling has a very positive effect on the eating quality of beef in terms of tenderness, juiciness and flavour, giving Wagyu an exceptional eating experience.

The marbling score is a component of the AUS-MEAT beef quality grading system, and refers to visible fat found between muscle fibre bundles and is assessed within the rib eye muscle. Marbling score is assessed visually by an AUS-MEAT qualified grader during the process of carcass grading using the scoring range 0 to 9 as shown below. The distribution and texture of the fat flecks, referred to as fineness are also assessed.

A chart that shows the guide to understand the differences between japanese genuine wagyu and non-japanese wagyu

Last but not least, here is a picture reference for Wagyu cuts to help complete your basic guide to Wagyu:

A diagram to guide you about the many types of wagyu cut

So there you have it! Now that you know all the basics to Wagyu, it’s time have your own taste of Wagyu- cooked and prepared with love at home. Buy your wagyu online now at LuxoFood!

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