MASAMI Pure Japanese Bloodline Wagyu
I had this last week at Abode in Santa Monica, and thought it was some of the best beef I've had outside of the Kobe region of Japan. Doesn't leave that greasy film in your mouth, just pure beef flavor. I've researched it and was told it is the only pure Wagyu program in the United States, and pretty much everywhere else that sells "American Kobe" is really just an Angus x Wagyu cross.
A few other foodie friends in the area have told me they have seen it around at Michael Mina, and the Clift House in Northern California. And Koi and Sage in Los Angeles and Orange County. Has anyone else seen this beef, it is like butter!!!
Masami's site says their beef is a Wagyu/Angus crossbreed:
"All beef come from Masami Cattle Ranch, Inc. the sister company in Corning, California. The cattle born at the ranch are the results of crossing 'Wagyu'(Japanese specific strain) and American Black Angus, the F1 and F2 furnish the rich tasty meats with more than 50% Prime grades."
Since Masami apparently no longer sells to Snake River Farms in Idaho, I myself am curious about the quality of the beef coming out of Snake River now (moving to Boise in two weeks, and there's certainly no shortage of restaurants up there that serve it). Locally, their beef is served at Cut, Spago, and Campanile.
As an aside, does anyone know what the breeding makeup is of American kurobuta pork?
Alittle Cattle 101 for all of you...
There are three types of cattle, work, dairy, and beef. The roots of Wagyu cattle are in the work cattle category. Overtime in Japan, the Japanese bread their way into what we know as "Kobe Beef." There is no such thing as 100% Wagyu, as even the Japanese imported beef has Hollstein cattle in the bloodline, and if you go even further back there is a breed of Angus. Hence the claim of 100% Wagyu can never really be true.
I believe the legality is that you can make the claim of 100%, if it is at least 60% of a specific breed. So there is beef out there you can get that is closer to 100% Wagyu, and some closer to 50% like the Snake-River "American Kobe." Angus Cattle = the best mothers because of the largest milk sacks, therefore faster growth.
Masami Ranch's "pure" Wagyu is as close as it gets, as close to US raised cattle. As their cattle is of all pure Japanese bloodline. So essentially the Masami Ranch cattle is probably somewhere close to a F8, which represents stability in genetics after 8 generations of back crossing.
Masami Kobe Beef is American venture of Osaka-based Masami Foods in which cattle are raised in California and processed in Oregon. Masami is new to the market and used to sell it’s stock to Snake River Farms. They also used to ship quite a bit to Japan before the American Beef Ban. Now they are on their own and are marketed through a local company. Mashima is marketed out of Colorado and might be a few grades lower. Masami grades 12, but cooks up and tastes like a 7. $$$ probably.
Last tasting notes:
American Masami Grade 12 New York
Wholesale cost = ~$60.00/lb
Younger animal / fat is not as evenly distributed / Bright red color / fat melts in hand easily/meat is a bit tougher even with 30 days age/nice beef flavor.
Just starting to hit socal. call 541-884-1735 in Klamath Falls where the processing plant is. they may be able to provide you with the info you need.
"Masami grades 12, but cooks up and tastes like a 7. $$$ probably."
what does that mean?
As far as your tasting notes, I definitely agree. It is already all over Northern California, and I believe is more based and marketed out of the Bay Area, due to the closer geography of the ranch to the main distributor than to that of Masami American Headquarters, according to their website. The description is pretty much was just like the steak I got. I'm not exactly sure about cost, because I'm not in that part of the business, but as far as visual description, it isn't as marbled as Japanese Wagyu, but that's simply because its free range, but the flavor is full on Wagyu.
I believe it is being distributed through the Network Resource Group in LA, 213-344-7062. That is the information I got from the Chef who is friends with the vendor. Either way, I loved the steak and the flavor.