Japan has a slightly smaller land mass than California (with triple the population) and its cattle production is organized at a high-level by prefecture (about the size of one of our counties) such as Kagoshima, Hyogo (home of Kobe beef), Miyazaki and Hokkaido. Over the decades, farm groups with very tightly controlled cattle genetics, husbandry and feeding protocols have formed “origin designations” within each prefecture to create trademarked Wagyu “brands” such as Kobe beef from Hyogo Prefecture or Satsuma beef from Kagoshima Prefecture.
In addition to prefectures and brands like Kobe, single farms with highly specialized genetics and proprietary feeding protocols have created their own brands like Chateau Uenae’s signature “Hokkaido Snow Beef” from the cooler extremes of Hokkaido in northern Japan or Ozaki Beef from Muneharu Ozaki’s farm in the Miyazaki Prefecture. These “single-farm” producers are, like top wine estates, extremely rare and highly coveted with very limited production and correspondingly higher prices.
In short, there's a whole world of Wagyu out there. To put things in perspective, "Kobe beef", at around 3,000 head annually, comprises less than .05% of total Japanese Wagyu production.
Our goal at Holy Grail Steak Co. is to introduce you to the “terroir” of Japanese Wagyu with the most diverse, expertly sourced portfolio of Japanese Wagyu on the planet. Other than a few luxury steakhouses, nowhere else can you access such a deep portfolio of direct-sourced Japanese Wagyu. Even better, Japanese Wagyu can be cooked easily right in your own kitchen – and at about a third of the price we might add.
Wagyu is graded by very strict government standards by the Japanese Meat Grading Association. The first letter, A, B, or C, is only related to the “yield grade” which is correlated to percentage of usable meat and nothing to do with the overall quality. The second number is the actual “quality” grade and a more important indicator. The meat quality scores are determined in terms of marbling, meat colour and brightness, firmness and texture, color, lustre and quality of fat. Holy Grail Steak Co. only sells the top grade of Japanese Wagyu, A5.
The concept of "diurnal swing", the delta between daytime high and nighttime low temperatures, is of critical importance not only in the wine, but he beef business as well. As it relates to cattle, the cold, intense, northern climate of Hokkaido both provides high quality forages during warmer months and inspires generous intramuscular marbling in anticipation of the colder months. The financial and logistical dynamics of the cattle industry not only rewards those with access to high quality local feed, but deeply effects the end product.
Have you ever had an actual Sapporo beer from Hokkaido? Its actually one of the better beers on the planet, crisp, delicious and complex...nothing like the Sapporo beer we get here in the States, which is brewed in Canada, and nothing remotely resembling real Sapporo.