Tipperary Kobe Beef To Come On Stream


Kobe Beef

Irish consumers will soon be able to buy a Tipperary home grown version of highly-prized and pricey Japanese Kobe beef.

Well that is according to award-winning butcher Pat Whelan, owner of James Whelan Butchers, here in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, who is supporting this initiative. Kobe beef (Named after sixth-largest city in Japan.) is the particular product of cattle known as the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu (Translated: Japanese cow.) that produce this highly-prized meat.

Wagyu cattle were introduced into Japan in the second century as as beasts of burden, used mostly in rice cultivation. However as beef consumption became more prominent in society, farmers began hiring workers to massage the animals’ backsides to improve their meat quality. The mountainous topography of the islands of Japan have resulted in small regions of isolated breeding of these animals, yielding herds that developed and maintained qualities in their meat which differ significantly from all other breeds of cattle.

Some of the biggest Wagyū herds outside of Japan are now farmed in New Zealand while in the United States, Japanese Wagyū cattle have been bred with “Aberdeen Angus cattle” to create a crossbred animal that are better able to survive the native climate and U.S. ranching methods.

Herd isolation and distinctive feeding techniques, which resulted from limited grazing land availability, have led to distinguishing features that make the meat both superior in marbling texture, in the ratios of unsaturated versus saturated fats and a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

The animals, which are being reared in Tipperary, will be treated with the same level of attention and care, as this well known Japanese breed of Wagyu

Described as the ‘foie gras of beef,’ producing a tender, naturally enhanced flavour, Kobe meat usually retails at up to €35 per 150 grams of filet steak sold retail, but Mr Whelan claims that his operation are aiming to produce this meat for a fraction of that price, for their discerning customers.

The first Irish born and bred Kobe style beef should be on the meat shelf by August of next year.

Whelan Butchers, currently based in Clonmel, Tipperary, now have their sights set on expanding into the Dublin meat market initially and ultimately into the export market, to cope with the huge international demand for this expensive, but prized meat.



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