|Sometimes it’s hard to imagine beef so good that it melts in your mouth the instant you start eating it. It’s a steak that will be the most tender, juicy, and flavorful steak you’ve ever tasted, and the reason for this incredible piece of meat is the high level of marbling that it contains. Japanese A5 Wagyu is considered to be the world’s best beef, and it is renowned for its marbling.
There are four Wagyu cattle breeds—Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled and Japanese Shorthorn. The vast majority, about 90% of Wagyu in Japan, comes from the Japanese Black breed, which is known for its superior marbling. Those thin yet rich white strips or flecks of fat are the reason for the luxurious, buttery tenderness.
The Grading Scale
Japanese Wagyu is given a letter grade (A to C) for yield and a number grade (1 to 5) for quality. The letter A being an above standard yield grade and the number 5 the highest quality grade. This makes the grade A5 the very best Japanese Wagyu beef can ever be. To highlight the importance of marbling, or “sashi” in Japanese, there is one more grading system that gets even more specific about the level of marbling in the meat. The Beef Marbling Score (BMS) grades the distinct marbling in beef to an even finer degree of accuracy, awarding a number grade from 1 to 12.
This is how the grading of wagyu marbling works:
Grade BMS Number
5: Excellent 8-12
4: Good 5-7
3: Average 3-4
2: Below Average 2
1: Poor 1
The Wagyu Mark
To verify the quality of your Japanese Wagyu steaks, you will find the “Universal Wagyu Mark,” which is a seal that proves that the beef was produced in Japan. This seal helps differentiate the Wagyu beef produced in Japan rather than the rest of the world, such as the U.S. or Australia. When you’re investing in Japanese Wagyu for yourself or guests, you’ll experience rich texture and flavor. Look for the grade information so you know exactly what to shop for.