September 1, 2022

Meat marbling

Marbling is a term used to defined the fat content inside of beef muscle, known as intramuscular fat. Intramuscular fat is the flecks of white fat found within the actual lean muscle. Traditionally, this marbling is a top trait that determines the quality of meat. Marbling is most important in influencing the sensory attributes of flavour and juiciness and to a limited extent the tenderness of the product. Of these attributes, flavour may be the characteristic that is most dependent on marbling.

It impacts the tenderness, moistness, and overall flavour and has become one of the most well-known elements of steak evaluation. Wagyu beef is a superior beef, with the greatest amount of beef marbling and the max amount of oleic acids.

Marbling impacts steak's juicy flavours. Marbling keeps the meat moist during cooking, so natural juices don't evaporate in the pan.

Marbling that is fine-textured (small flecks) and uniformly distributed is preferred over marbling that appears as large, coarse flecks of intramuscular fat. High-quality marbled beef contains a high level of marbling, which translates to a high level of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. The term “quality grade” is used by meat scientists to describe the level of marbling, along with other factors including fat thickness on the outside of the carcass, age of the cattle, and coloration of the beef.

There are eight total quality grades: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner. They have been used by the beef industry since 1927. Across almost every cut on beef carcasses, USDA Prime grade has the highest marbling content and costs the most on the market. Choice grade is accessible in a retail outlet like a grocery store.

The most lean and least marbled cuts tend to come from the legs, shoulder, and rump, where the muscles get a lot of exercise and result in much leaner cuts.
Meat marbling

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