Japanese Gyu Sirloin

The Japanese beef is simply put superb! There are few places I’ve traveled where you can find he quality and consistency. Japanese farmers are meticulous about their work, and I am asked frequently about their habits and practices. While Japanese gyu is expensive, it is well worth it and whats surprising is, a little goes a long way – a 5cm tranche (373g) is more than enough to feed 4 people.


That reminds me of two stories; the first was a guest twenty years ago, he was warned by the chef (now operating a steak restaurant named Shima in Tokyo) that more than 220gr is the limit, less than half a pound, or a 7oz steak. In America a steak is inconceivably more and the price tag goes with it.

The second story was a friend and his wife who insisted to try Gyu during their first visit to Tokyo. I obliged them and off we went to Utaka, a well-known quality steak restaurant in Tokyo. My friend’s wife ordered more and more and there was no stopping her. The next morning I heard about the long night she had, and most of it ended up on the floor.

It is well-known that in any carcass marbling decreases and eye muscle size increases as you move back along the rib cage. The American system of inspection at the 12th/13th rib section will shown any given carcass as having less marbling and a larger rib-eye muscle than the Japanese grading system. The degree of marbling in Japan still dominates meat evaluation in the minds of traditional farmers and there are six grade categories:

Special Selection (Tokusen)
Choice (Gokujo)
First Grade (Jo)
Second Grade (Chu)
Third Grade (Nami)
Under-regular Grades (Togai)

Japanese gyu is sensational but respect is key, too much any one thing can lead to circumstances you least expect.