Local Wagyu rib-eye scores off the international charts (outshining even Japan)


48 days ago

Wagyu beef is sought after for its consistent marbling and resulting tenderness when cooked, as the fat melts into the meat.

The different types of Wagyu cattle have been bred for centuries in Japan.

They were introduced to meat-loving South Africa in the 90s.

Certified Wagyu Beef (CWB) must have a minimum marble score of 3.

In the country of origin the score for marbling goes up to 12.

Now, a piece of rib-eye meat from South Africa has scored a high of 15.

The high-scoring local meat came from a cross between Wagyu and Angus breeds.

Bruce Whitfield gets more info on the industry from Dr. Michael Bradfield, CEO of Wagyu South Africa.

Our producers spent anything upward of R250 million establishing Wagyu in South Africa.

Michael Bradfield, CEO - Wagyu South Africa

You've first got to bring in the semen and embryos from overseas, mostly Australia. Then you've got to breed them; it takes a year before the calf is born.

Michael Bradfield, CEO - Wagyu South Africa

And then it takes at least another two years before the product becomes ready. It's been a long, slow process!

Michael Bradfield, CEO - Wagyu South Africa

He says it's been especially rewarding because South Africa lagging behind the rest of the world has been a benefit of sorts.

We were able to bring in the very best genetics into South Africa and the results now prove it.

Michael Bradfield, CEO - Wagyu South Africa

Bradfield notes that Australian Wagyu producers rank their marbling from 1-9, while Japan goes up to 12.

Some South African breeders have been scoring close to 10 or 11 internationally.

We've brought in a Nokia camera from Japan that cost us R800 000 to objectively scan these carcasses. If you're buying a carcass from R50 000 to R80 000 you want to know that the marbling score is objectively taken.

Michael Bradfield, CEO - Wagyu South Africa

A score of 5/6 is more than enough for the South African palate... but there are connoisseurs even in South Africa who enjoy a really good whiskey for example, an it's the same with meat.

Michael Bradfield, CEO - Wagyu South Africa

Even this carcass that has created so much excitement with the marbling score of 15, that is literally a pure Wagyu cross on an Angus animal that produced that kind of carcass.

Michael Bradfield, CEO - Wagyu South Africa

I'm a scientist by profession as well and we believe that in the long term that's more than sufficient for what our market is going to require.

Michael Bradfield, CEO - Wagyu South Africa

The association has a strict certification process in place and the export market is looking up, he says.

Listen to Bradfield describe how best to prepare Wagyu:

This article first appeared on 702 : Local Wagyu rib-eye scores off the international charts (outshining even Japan)

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