Our USDA prime beef comes from the very finest corn-fed cattle the Midwest has to offer.
The famed Kobe beef of Japan comes from the Wagyu breed. Therefore, all Kobe is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe.
Beef production in Japan is, in some ways, similar to wine production in France. Just as the regions Paulliac, Medoc, and others produce different wines under specific appellations, the Japanese have several regions, or prefectures, where beef is produced. For example, Kobe beef is produced in Hyogo Prefecture, while the beef from Mie Prefecture is called Matsuzaka and beef from Shiga Prefecture is Omi. Each of these areas uses the legendary beer-massage practices associated with Kobe, but style and specifics vary from prefecture to prefecture.
Regardless of where in Japan the cattle are raised, the common element in all of these types of Japanese beef is the Wagyu breed of cattle.
Lobel's of New York sells American Wagyu. For more information on our American Wagyu, read on.
Wagyu is a breed of cattle naturally predisposed to produce beef that is densely marbled. In fact, Wagyu beef surpasses USDA marbling standards for prime-grade beef. Often referred to as the "foie gras of beef," Wagyu has an exquisitely tender texture and incomparable, luxurious taste.
We’re use to hearing about USDA Prime, Choice, and Select—the top three of seven USDA quality grades and the most-known by consumers. USDA grading is based on the density of marbling between the 12th and 13th beef rib.
Wagyu beef’s quality is determined differently: by a 12-point marbling-score scale. Using the scale of Wagyu marbling scores, USDA prime would have an equivalent ranking of 6 to 7. Typically, the mass-marketed variety of Wagyu will have a marbling score at the low end of the 12-point scale.
The most prized beef in Kobe, Japan, would rank the equivalent of a 12. The marbling is so dense that the lean muscle to marbling ratio can reach 9:1, or 90% fat to 10% meat. This Kobe is unbelievably rich—too rich for many palates. Some say it looks like a piece of meat that has been left in a snowstorm, with fine strands of lean meat embedded in pure fat.
Using the 12-point marbling score scale, our American Wagyu will score 9 points or higher.
Our American Wagyu are raised in Texas. For most of their lives, Lobel’s American Wagyu cattle are fed a variety of natural grains—a 100% vegetarian diet, absolutely free of any animal by-products. Their feed program is free of subtherapeutic antibiotics and growth hormones.
Developing an intricate network of marbling—fine rivulets of intramuscular fat—takes time; there’s just no substitute for it. Mass-marketed Wagyu beef comes from cattle that are on a feeding program for about 150 days. Such young cattle simply cannot develop marbling as dense as that of mature cattle. The cattle that yield Lobel’s American Wagyu beef are on a feeding program of a minimum of 450 days.
As a result, Lobel's American Wagyu is densely marbled, exceeding USDA standards for prime grade. Using the 12-point marbling score scale, our Wagyu will score 9 points or higher. At that level, the Wagyu is marbling is abundant and evenly distributed throughout the meat.
Legend has it that Oliver Cromwell discovered the Berkshire breed more than 300 years ago while his army was at winter’s quarters in Reading in the shire of Berks, England. From that time, the Berkshire breed has been revered for its outstanding quality, texture and flavor.
During the early 1800s, the breed was refined and has remained a pure breed since. In 1875, the American Berkshire Association (ABA) became the nation’s first swine registry and has maintained pedigree records ever since.
Berkshire swine were first brought to Japan as a gift from the British government in the 19th century. Also, known as Japanese black hog, the breed has thrived in Japan as Berkshire pork, a name that is synonymous for a unique dining experience.
According to the ABA, Berkshire pork is well documented for its superior quality in tests conducted over the past decade. It scored the highest of all breeds in a study of sensory quality at the National Barrow Show in Austin, MN. Other studies, including those conducted by the Journal of Animal Science, Berkshire pork ranked tops in 19 of 22 quality measures.
Lobel’s Berkshire pork is raised by small, Midwestern family farms, using all-natural production methods.
Raised in open meadows of the Rocky Mountain high-country, Lobel’s All-Natural Lamb is free of subtherapeutic antibiotics and growth hormones. The lambs eat a 100% vegetarian diet throughout their lives—grass only for six to eight months and then a blend of unprocessed grains. Their feed never contains any artificial supplements, stimulants, or animal by-products.
All-American raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free, ours is the finest milk-fed veal available from the upper Midwest.
Lobel’s fresh poultry are all-natural and raised on small Amish and Mennonite farms in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania Dutch country. Each of these free-range birds is processed by hand in small volumes.
No, our meat is not certified organic (with the exception of some of our poultry products). Organic products must comply with very strict USDA guidelines and producers must follow livestock-management regimens that meet the criteria for organic certification through the USDA. You can find the USDA's labeling guidelines for organic and other products at www.usda.gov.
However, organic certification is not the only classification you, as a consumer, should be aware if your concern is for the welfare of the livestock as they are raised. Strictly speaking, the term organic neither implies nor confirms humane treatment, although in practice the two generally go hand in hand.
At the USDA site, you will also find labeling definitions for such terms as all-natural, free-range, pasture-raised, and certified humane. These terms define how the animal is raised and processed.
All Lobel's of New York meat products meet one or more of those labeling criteria. For example, our Wagyu beef is free-range and all-natural. And all our poultry is either certified organic, all-natural, free-range, or a combination of these three.
Our Natural Prime Beef comes from free-range cattle that are grass-fed/grain-finished. The cattle live on a diet for most of their lives that comprises 70% grass and forage and 30% grain. About 3-4 months before processing, the cattle diet become 30% grass and forage and 70% grain. Grass-fed/grass-finished cattle rarely develop enough exterior and intramuscular fat (marbling) to achieve the USDA grade of Prime. Grass-fed/grain-finished cattle meet the requirements for being graded Prime.
A primal is a large subsection of a steer carcass—a single muscle group, such as the tenderloin, short loin, or rib.
On each applicable product's page, you will find a list of ingredients. If you require additional information regarding these products, please email us with your questions.
All our meats are hand-cut on the day we ship your order.
The most frequent request we have for "custom cutting" is with regard to the thickness of the steak. We sell our meat by weight, and therefore, the thickness of the steak may vary based on such things as the size of the animal.
So if you are looking for a particular thickness of steak, we suggest you select your steak weights from our thickness charts (see links below). Please understand that the thicknesses on these charts are approximate.
We will try to accomodate other custom cutting requests as well as we can. The best way to see if your needs can be met is to discuss it with one of our customer service representatives. You can reach us toll-free at 1-877-783-4512.
Originally, dry aging was used as a way to preserve meat before refrigeration was invented. Today—amidst the urgency to bring cattle to market sooner, modern freezing techniques, and demand for fast, convenient food—dry aging is almost a lost art; it takes time and it’s an expensive, labor-intensive process.
The Lobels are among the few practitioners anywhere of old fashioned, dry-aging methods, in their own patented dry-aging lockers, for up to six weeks—longer than most beef purveyors.
In the dry-aging process, beef primals or subprimals are held in coolers under tight temperature, air-circulation, and humidity controls. During this time, the natural action of enzymes breaks down connective tissue to render the beef fork-tender.
When aged for up to six weeks, the beef’s appearance will change as well. Within the dry-aging room, the beef will develop a crust that seals the meat and protects it from deterioration. The beef can lose from 25 to 30 percent of its overall weight to dehydration during the aging process. That’s why a dry-aged piece of beef will be considerably smaller than a piece of beef that hasn’t been aged or one that has been wet aged or needle tenderized.
As an indication of quality, the length of dry aging is important to know. A piece of beef that has been aged only seven days can still be labeled "dry-aged." However, such a short amount of time does not permit the full development of flavor and tenderness that dry aging for up to six weeks provides.
Aging produces beef that is naturally tender and flavorful. Nothing the cook does to add flavor in the kitchen is a substitute for starting with properly aged meat. After about three weeks of dry aging, beef reaches its peak tenderness. Beyond three weeks the flavor continues to develop into a deep, rich, beefy taste that fills your mouth with nuances of butter and roasted nuts.
Lobel's of New York dry ages all of its USDA Prime and Natural Prime bone-in primals to perfection by holding them in coolers at a temperature of 34 to 38°F. We age beef for up to six weeks. To dry age beef it must remain on the bone. Beef not connected to a bone (hanger steak, for example) cannot be dry-aged. Veal and lamb are young, delicate, and tender, and are hung in our coolers for no more than a week.
There are two types of aging: dry aging and wet aging. Dry aging is the choice of the discriminating chef. The wet aging process involves sealing meat in airtight Cryovac bags. Wet aging does less to enhance flavor and tenderness than dry aging.