Three Japanese food editors visited Wyoming last week to learn more about how beef is raised and cooked in the U.S. The tour was part of a partnership between the Wyoming Beef Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Wyoming Beef Council director Ann Wittmann said the U.S. shipped 425 million pounds of beef to Japan alone in 2016. That brought in over $1 billion for U.S. beef producers. Wittmann said Japanese markets also prefer cuts that U.S. consumers don’t have a taste for.
“They utilize a lot of cuts we don’t use here in the U.S. because they’re too tough for our palettes,” she said. “But since they slice them so thin, cook them in hot oil or hot water, that’s been a really great way for us to get rid of some of the short plates that we don’t use a lot here, as well as tongue.”
Wittmann said Japanese consumers are showing a growing taste for American BBQ. So during their tour of King Ranch and Y-6 Ranch in Laramie County, it was on the menu.
“They got to see interactions with cattle. They got to see cattle moving from pasture to pasture. And then we treated them also to American BBQ. One day we had brisket and the next day we grilled them some steaks.”
At the Y-6 ranch and feedlot, the editors spoke with veterinarians about animal handling and health. Wittmann said they also visited Denver and are currently sampling restaurants in California.