Originally posted on: Feb 2, ’22. Slight update on: Nov 7th, ’22
Snake River Farms (SRF) was the culprit behind “American Kobe,” the dumbest marketing ploy you can take when you play to people’s stupidity. Except, it looks like they are herding themselves into a different direction.
If you ever heard of “Kobe” beef, it was made popular by Kobe, Japan wagyu ranchers (the late Kobe Bryant got his name after the infamous beef, RIP).
“Wagyu” literally means Japanese cow/cattle (“wa” means Japanese and “gyu” means cow), and an American corporation and the industry is now marketing their products as American Japanese cow. Also, this is how SRF compares to Japanese wagyu (Miyazaki and Kagoshima).I also go on a slight tangent about (good) fat.
That notoriety for that regional beef led to Snake River Farms and their bout of stupid with their product marketing of “American Kobe” (we all know the type that had that idea).
Except, somehow, someway, they saw the light, and now all you will find throughout their marketing collateral is “American Wagyu.” Nice! My hats off to the cowboy or cowgirl who took their marketing in this new direction.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. So a big fat thank you to everybody who does purchase through my affiliate links because it is very much appreciated. Also, there are three brands listed, but two of them, I get absolutely nothing although I value legit content over a buck cuz I give a chuck.
Wah-Gyoo (or Wag-You if You Are a Sassy Influencer)
You may hear an influencer say “kess-ugh-dill-uhh,” “fill-it-mig-non,” or “foe,” but do not be that type (like an oblivious “influencer”) and say “wag-you.”Bad influence
Before I get in to it, we both agree saying “kess-ugh-dill-uhh” (quesadilla) sounds dumb, than the same goes for calling wagyu “wag-you.” To not sound like “that person,” it is “wah-gyou.” We coo, now with the pronunciation? Yea, let us mooo-oove the eff on.
When a Nice Japanese Cow Meets a Wholesome American Cow
Agri Beef has some responsibility in the way they market their products because they are such a large company, so I am glad they have done a commendable job in redeeming themselves.Enough about the marketing, here is how SRF compares to Japanese wagyu.
When a purebred Japanese cow meets a nice American cow (with a traditional papa and mama cow background), and they make babies, SRF happens (American Wagyu). What do they mean by “traditional,” I wonder what that means? I assume it means the baby cow is made with the lights off.
The Grades of SRF Wagyu (USDA Prime and Beyond)
Did you know that if you were to shop around for a bed mattress, manufacturers intentionally market different products names so that you cannot make direct comparisons. The same goes for SRF because they do not go directly with the BMS (Beef Marbling Score) that the Japanese adhere to, and they have devised their labeling (“silver,” black,” and “gold”) based on the BMS grading score.
Instead of A3 to A5 grade, SRF wants to be graded on “good,” “gooder” to “goodestest’est” like criteria (yes, I know those are not words).This is how I was graded in school, on a curve.
In Ascending Order
Lean to highly marbled
|USDA||Choice||BMS 2 to 3|
|SRF||Silver||BMS of 4 to 5 (we good bro)|
|USDA||Prime||BMS 4 to 5|
|Wagyu||A3||BMS of 5-7|
|Wagyu||A4||BMS of 6 to 8 (gooder)|
|SRF||Black||BMS of 9+ (goodestest’est)|
|SRF||Gold||BMS of 9+ (goodestest’est)|
|Wagyu||A5||BMS of 8-12|
Snake River Farms Steak Cuts
- Filet mignon
- New York
- Flat iron steak
- Skirt steak
- Flank steak
Other SRF Products
- Beef roasts
- Beef ribs
- Corned beef brisket, Costco carries this product, and I’m thinking corn beef and cabbage, that’s grand.
Good Fat and Fat is Flavor
How do you sell lean cuts of ass (rump) meat to the masses? Demonize natural fats as bad for you. This ploy is funny because if “you are what you eat” was true, and people believed they would get fat from fat, they are being an ass.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) designates beef rump roast as extra lean (I prefer plump and juicy).
The powers that be chose to demonize fat over sugars and processed oils, yet lard (pork fat) to tallow (beef fat) has been used in cooking for centuries and is “natural” vs. the processing of massive amounts of seeds to extract the oils from the rapeseed (canola).
SRF vs. Japanese Wagyu Brands
A5 and nothing else is what most, if not, all vendors offer. Why? Marbling is good (intramuscular fat), but it should not be the end-all, be-all.Like with the automotive aftermarket, if I ask somebody if they want street, track, or race for their daily driver, they typically always say “race” regardless what that entails. The same goes for wagyu.
There is soooo much hype over A5, but there are also other grades such as A3 to A4. Except you never will see that because when people Google or vote, they are searching for the “best,” or voting for the extremes of one or the other, and nuance is lost by most. So the way I see SRF is as a nuanced and not necessarily a lesser product (compared to Japanese wagyu it is a lesser in regards to BMS tho).
SRF vs. Miyazaki
Part of the enjoyment of food, is learning about the regions it comes from and the travel agency, H.I.S. describes Miyazaki located in the Southern most tip, in Kyushu as (yea, you probably didn’t want to know which region your chicken McNugget is from, but hey this is Wagyu):
“Miyazaki Prefecture is known for its many beautiful, nature areas, perfect for hiking or going for a short walk. However, Miyazaki is also well known for their many gorgeous and majestic historical buildings such as the shrines and castles.”– For more about Miyazaki, H.I.S. International Tours (NY) Inc.
• Avg. 15oz/$95
• Avg. 15oz/$69-85
• 2 lbs./$89
“Research shows that beef from Kuroge-washu contains more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as more monounsaturated fatty acids (a.k.a. the good fats) than other kinds of beef.”– Crowd Cow/Kagoshima Farms “Melt-In-Your-Mouth Flavor“
SRF vs. Kagoshima
Also on the Southside of Japan, also on Kyushu is Kagoshima. A city just West of Miyazaki is known for (not sure if this bit of information will get you craving Kagoshima Wagyu, or it’ll encourage you to sharpen your knives, but either way, good to know):
“In the 1800s, the Satsuma Clan situated in the southwestern point of Japan was the first to be threatened by foreign powers. In 1840, Kagoshima faced heavy pressure to start trade with European and American countries, and the Clan engaged in modernization .”– For more about Kagoshima, H.I.S. International Tours (NY) Inc.
“Kagoshima Prefecture has the largest number of Japanese black cattle in Japan, with approximately 330,000 head, accounting for around 20% of the national market share.”– Discover Kagoshima: Kagoshima Prefecture: Japan’s Top Wagyu Beef Producer
• Avg. 15oz/$95
• Avg 13oz/$153.93
• Avg 15oz/$177.62
|New York Strip|
• 1lb (130.50 per lb)
• 2 lbs./$89
|Prime Rib |
|Prime Rib |
Kagoshima region also has the most active volcanoes in Japan.
So why buy/try SRF? Balance and moderation because Japanese A5 wagyu is the epitome of the extremes of marbling (shimofuri), and SRF is a balance.For the ones that like a little beef with their marbling.
The Truth About SRF, In Conclusion
Agri/SRF is now managing people’s expectations of what they are really getting, and the truth is that the most extreme of marbling is not necessarily “the best” in all instances. Especially if you are that influencer that I saw prepare their wagyu well-done for their tacos (that is just a waste and sad).
One Other Thing About Fat and Oils, and “Rape” Not Being an Ideal Marketing Word
It takes an unnatural amount, about 23 kg (51 lb) of rapeseed to produce 10 L (2.64 US gal) of canola oil.That is a lot of rapeseed.
Rapeseed (seed) oil is canola (seed) oil, and the only reason I go off on this tangent is about fat. Many think it’s just bad and you should not eat it, but like the other adage, “moderation in all things.” So if I am going to do something in moderation, it will be the occasional wagyu steak to Shake Shack burger because I do not plan on going with an Impossible burgers or a chickpea patty for “healthy eating reasons.” If people think all fat is bad, then “you do you, and I will do me” (paleo and keto people love South Chicago Packing’s wagyu tallow and FatWorks range of natural fats).