Meet Jon Urbana, a 6th generation rancher who is on a mission to change your beef. KOW Steaks launched in 2016, but its roots go back over 125 years ago.
In the 1970s, John Urbana‘s grandfather made international headlines as part of an effort to bring a dairy program to Japan. His grandfather commissioned two customized 747’s to transport a small herd of dairy cattle from the U.S. to Japan.
The transport was considered so significant that the Emperor greeted the flights on the tarmac upon their arrival.
It was at that time that John Urbana’s grandfather had Wagyu beef for the first time. He described it as something he’d never tasted before. The sensation ignited a passion for bringing Wagyu beef to America. Soon after, John Urbana’s grandfather became the first rancher in the U.S. to establish a small herd of Wagyu cows in the U.S. That step was the first milestone that paved the way for KOW Steaks today.
Wagyu beef is a luxury product. According to John Urbana, a 1,400 lb cow will only produce around 14 lbs of tenderloin, while a traditional cow can produce over 100 lbs.
“We have a “100% No Waste” philosophy at KOW, meaning we use every part of butchering to create a variety of products that might surprise you,” said John Ubana.
“We work with a fantastic team of chefs to create products like our Wagyu sausage. The intensive marbling in our beef gives you the high-fat content you’d expect from pork; but, because it’s our beef, you don’t have to overcook it until it resembles a hockey puck. Our bone broth and Wagyu jerky are two other trendy new items that are not only tasty but packed with nutrition,” John Urbana added.
KOW Steaks knew to succeed in ranch-to-table selling; they had to stand out. They knew they had a superior product and had never focused on volume. In addition to having an unmatched product, John Urbana credited its success by cultivating relationships with food connoisseurs who care about the quality of food they consume or prepare.
KOW Steaks beef is farm-raised in southwest Iowa. The farm offers plenty of space for the cattle to roam free while grazing on natural, untreated grass. KOW Steaks never uses hormones, GMOs or other additives. They keep their cattle geographically co-located in an ideal environment to ensure the delivery of consistently high-quality beef.
“I don’t think there is a more remarkable testament to the quality of our beef than when a master chef like Nobu Matsuhisa chooses to serve it in a raw presentation in one of his signature restaurants. He’s built a global reputation for excellence in world-class dining, and he’s not going to risk it on a product that isn’t reliably perfect,” said Ubana.
According to John Urbana, KOW Steaks has a vibrant future. They are constantly adding new products and recipes that appeal to a wide range of tastes and cuisines.