Kobe beef refers to beef from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle, raised according to strict tradition in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Kobe beef is renowned for its flavour, tenderness, and fatty well-marbled texture. Kobe beef can be prepared as steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, teppanyaki, ground hamburger patties and more.
The Wagyu cattle that produce the highly prized meat were introduced into Japan in the second century as work animals, used in rice cultivation. The mountainous topography of the islands of Japan resulted in small regions of isolated breeding, yielding herds that developed and maintained qualities in their meat that differ significantly from all other breeds of cattle. Resulting herd isolation and the distinctive feeding techniques put in place because of the limited land availability have lead to distinguishing features that make the meat both superior in marbling and in the ratios of unsaturated versus saturated fats.
Due to the special feeding and growth regimen, the prices are much higher than those of normal beef variants. In accordance with popular belief, cows do ingest alcohol and they are massaged to tenderize their meat.