Japanese Wagyu Grading System

School is in session and we are talking all about grades. But don’t worry, you won’t be docked for any mis-steaks. You will learn how to score though ;) 

Every wagyu carcass is graded while still on the line, by looking at the ‘face’ of a ribeye cut between the sixth and seventh rib. Whatever grade is determined by this ribeye visual is the grade for the entire carcass.

To understand the wagyu grading system, you need to remember that the grade is made up of two components: a yield grade and a quality grade.

Yield grades are given a letter grade, from A to C with A being the best. Yield is determined by percentage of red meat to outer fat (this does not include marbling inside the red meat). When you are breeding cattle, the goal is not only to produce a heavy cattle as the weight could be from exterior fat as this gets trimmed off and is sold by weight after trimming.

Yield Grades are as follows:

Grade A - 72% and higher

Grade B - 69% and higher

Grade C - below 69%

Quality grades are given a number grade, from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best. This grade is determined by the marbling (intermuscular fat AKA deliciousness), meat color, firmness and texture, and the color and quality of the fat.

Quality Grades are as follows:

5 - Excellent

4 - Good 

3 - Average

2 - Below Average

1 - Poor 

The best grade from each category together would be A5. 

Now that you know how to get good grades, let’s learn how to score. There is also something called the Beef Marbling Score (BMS). This score is technically on a scale from 1 to 12. 

Grade BMS Number:

8-12 - Excellent

5-7 - Good

3-4 - Average

For those of you who need visuals -

After taking the BMS number into consideration, the highest grade Japanese Wagyu can be given is A5 BMS 12. This is the creme de la creme, the absolute very best you can get. 

All FATTYCOW Japanese wagyu steaks are graded A5 with a BMS of 11 or higher.