What is Wagyu Beef?

HiHo is the only burger restaurant that

exclusively serves 100% grass-fed Wagyu beef.  
 
But what is so special about Wagyu?
And what’s important about grass-fed beef
?
Wagyu beef stands apart from other beef for two main reasons: its marbling and distinct flavor. The amount and type of marbling - its fineness and how evenly it’s dispersed – make Wagyu extraordinarily tender, rich and flavorful. 
 
Wagyu cattle historically - and still predominantly - come from Japan.  Originally cart oxen, their primary role was to plough rural Japanese families' rice paddies, which is why Wagyu cattle have larger shoulders and smaller hindquarters than other cattle breeds. 
 
The Japanese word ‘wagyu’ translates to ‘Japanese cow or cattle.’ but specifically refers to the four breeds of Japanese cattle – Black (Tajima), Brown (commonly called Red Wagyu), Polled and Shorthorn - and their beef. There are three classifications of Wagyu: full blood, purebred and crossbred.  Fullblood means the animals have 100% Wagyu genetics, purebred have 93%+, and crossbred have 50%+.  
 
Fullblood Black Wagyu cattle are fed a high-calorie grain diet and are allowed very little exercise to create the most marbling, resulting in meat that is white with flecks of red. These full-blood Black Wagyu cattle produce the renowned Kobe beef, but authentic Kobe can only come from Black cattle born and raised in the Kobe prefecture of Japan. Until recently, Kobe consistently won the award in Japans Wagyu competition for the most marbled beef in the world. (Miyazaki Wagyu from Miyazaki prefecture has out-marbled Kobe in the last three competitions.)
 
While marbling is essential to great beef, sometimes too much of a great thing is not a good thing at all. And thats where First Light Farms - and their breakthrough innovation of pasture-raising Wagyu cattle on lush grassland - comes in. Founded in New Zealand in 2003, they set out to create the world’s best beef, in every aspect: quality, sustainability, and compassion. 
First Light’s commitment to the animal, farmer, and environment meant that their cattle would be 100% grass-fed on New Zealand’s legendary pastures. But the Black Wagyu cattle they wanted to raise had traditionally been bred to feed on grain, so First Light spent almost a decade cross-breeding the Wagyu bulls to produce cattle that would thrive and produce extraordinary beef. The result is beef like none other: it has the benefits of Wagyu's fine marbling but without the excessive richness of its Kobe cousins. The great Wagyu flavor is also enhanced by having the cattle eat what they should naturally eat: grass. 
 
There are many forms of Wagyu, and it can be a little complicated, if not altogether confusing.  One thing is clear to us at Matū: it’s the best beef we have ever tasted.
 
We are thankful that First Light Farms - and their 180 farmers throughout New Zealand - took the time to develop this distinct version of Wagyu.