Our local Wally World held a sale selling pound packages of ‘American Style’ ‘Kobe Beef’ for five dollars. We could not resist. This sounded too good to be true and raised some red flags. True certified Kobe Wagyu steaks from Japan sells at Alexanders Steak House for around 120 dollars per entrée. We will start with the conclusion of how they tasted. They were fantastic. These burgers were rich and deep with beef flavor. There was a luscious mouth feel from the rich fat in our burger patties. They were excellent. This spiked my curiosity of what we were actually eating. Was this the prized beef from Japan? We were on a mission to find the origin of American Style Kobe Beef.
The logical first step was to ask the butcher at Wally World. As W. C. Fields would say; “If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” This was our Wally Worlds butchers response; “It is a brand name”. Yeah right. It was not worth the air to argue with the Wally World hired help. I called the 800 number listed on the back of the package. I was directed to an answering machine with no reply. American BBQ Company the company listed on the package also had an 800 number which also directed me to a non-replying answering machine. I contacted corporate Wally World by e-mail. Four days later I received a reply. I asked the wrong question;” What does Kobe Beef mean?” Wally World corporate went to Wikipedia and cut and pasted the definition of Kobe Beef. I should have asked what does ‘AMERICAN STYLE Kobe Beef mean. I was frustrated. Finally a manager from Wally World called and provided some partial clarification of this product. “American Style” refers to the cattle that is actually from the states and is a cross of Japanese and American breeds. This meat has lots of luscious rich fat as the prized Kobe Wagyu from Japan. This explanation makes sense and will have to do for now. This was a lesson in frustration. Am I the only one who wants to know what I am buying? It did taste fantastic and if it ever goes on sale again we will surely buy it, for research of course.
I just tried this out to make smashburgers. I liked the result enough to try to Google / research the company. Their website is useless, with just a couple of pages of info. I emailed asking the fat content of the product, since it isn't on the packaging. We'll see if they answer. Another Google search shows a defunct Von's page showing it is only 7% fat, which is a surprise since typically the best smashburger results seem to tend to come from 20% fat product meat. At $8/lb at Ralph's, not really a bargain, but the result was very good. Certainly better outcome than the comparably priced Schweid & Son's offering, also sold at Ralph's (which had a much more "steak" texture, not just flavor, which it mentions it is trying to achieve with it's chuck, sirloin, angus blend....probably better for those who like thick, 1/3 lb patties, which is how it comes packaged).
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