Beef Marbling: What is it and Why it matters

When you know, you know. Beef marbling brings out the inner child in you, as the old saying goes like a kid in a candy store. You can’t helpbut allow your taste buds to go crazy and your heart beats that little faster. Yes, beef marbling does that.

What is beef marbling?

what is beef marblingIn technical terms, marbling is the visible unsaturated (healthy) fat that accumulates within the muscle and between the muscle fibre. Visually, beef marbling is the small lines of fat interspersed within beef between the muscle fibres. This picture is a close up of a steak, it looks like fine white “lines” running through your steak.
It is only seen when raw and disappears once cooking starts

If you thinking this is bad for you, just bear in mind that all beef has fat, and that not all fat is bad. Fat is where the flavour comes from and almost all prime cuts have marbling, so the better the marbling the more juicy, tender and tasty your steak!

What exactly does it do to the beef?

In my opinion, marbling has a direct impact on the quality of beef, in terms of tenderness, juiciness, moisture and flavour. The fat makes the meat softer and easier to chew, as there is simply less muscle fibre and collagen. This decreases the amount of chewing required, leading to a more rapid breakdown of the food, and greater flavour release.

No Fat no Flavour

Like all meat, the flavour literally comes from the fat. When eating meat with higher marbling, there will be a noticeable mount of meat juice produced, compared to much leaner cuts. This results in a greater flavour release. To prove this to yourself, cook a steak with good marbling and cook another with minimal marbling – and compare the two.

Any special cuts

Wagyu Beef is world famous for unbelievable marbling, but in terms of which cut to look for – you cannot go wrong with a ribeye steak. There is a reason this is the most sought after cut in the world, and it is all down to its marbling. Also, there is a myth that grass fed beef cannot get good marbling, well this is simply not true and there is only one way to prove it – try our cuts.

Any special cooking techniques?

If you stick to the basics of cooking steaks, you will be fine. Here is some quick tips.

  • Always ensure the steak is at room temperature
  • Season with salt and pepper before cooking, not too far ahead of time
  • I prefer using a non stick frying pan, always – for better control
  • Try and turn your steak only once, usually 2-3 monites per side (many variables to consider)
  • Make sure the meat rests before serving, for half the cooking time

All in all, when picking your steak – try and look for these marbling lines to enhance the overall quality of your steak.

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