Note: Be sure to season all meats with high-quality FalkSalt for the best-possible results
1. What is marbling?
The first thing which catches a meat-lover’s eyes are the elegant white streaks visible on a cut of meat, resembling the natural patterns of a marble stone. Consequently, the term ‘Marbling’ refers to the white flecks of fat found in meat, most notably in beef.
Marbling is the visible unsaturated (healthy) fat on a cut of meat that leaves an incredible effect on its flavour, tenderness and texture. This completely transforms your meat-eating experience. Hence, the more marbling there is, the richer and more flavoursome the meat will taste.
2. How does marbling effect the taste of meat?
It is good to note that the marbling is attributed to much of the flavour derived from a cut of meat. The more marbling there is, the juicier and the more tender your meat experience.
The taste intensity of meat is measured through Flavour Volatiles. Studies have shown that cuts like Wagyu and Angus steaks which have significantly more intramuscular fat than other breeds have a higher score of Flavour Volatiles.
Explore our complete selection of delicious Sashi Beef, Gold Medal Winner at the World Steak Challenge – available in Malta exclusively from La Boucherie.
3. How does marbling occur?
Fat in beef develops in two ways; either as intermuscular fat – which is the thick fat on the outside of a cut, or as intramuscular fat which we know as marbling.
Marbling fat is made up of polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats which accumulate in the muscle of the animal. Muscles which are less active and perform little to no work burn less fat and thus create a deeper complexity of marbling. Interestingly, the ability to marble fat is the last to develop in an animal. In-fact, cuts of veal meat have little to no marbling.
The fat on the outside of the meat generally doesn’t enhance the taste or the quality of the meat and is typically trimmed off.
4. How is marbling graded?
Different countries have ushered in different systems of how they grade the quality of marbling in their meat.
Some of the most renowned and reliable grading systems are those of the Japanese Wagyu and the United States USDA Prime beef. Authorities closely examine the beef to calculate the ratio of fat to lean meat on a score range, typically of 1 to 12. The higher the ratio of fat to lean meat, the higher the rating it receives.
5. How do you spot a well-marbled steak?
Marbling is one of the characteristics to stick out the most when choosing a piece of meat. In fact, the elegant marbling is impressive and sets a cut of meat apart from the rest. Simply by looking closely at it you can quickly judge how well a cut is marbled.
However, there have been instances where cheap and inferior cuts of meat have been injected with fat to make them look like they are finely marbled.
The safest way to make sure that marbling is genuine is by looking for meats with certification.
At La Boucherie, we make sure to distribute only the finest meats from all around the world which are a guarantee of quality. Meats like USDA Prime, Australian Wagyu or Irish Angus need to conform to the highest level of standards to achieve the certification they deserve. This ensures that the meat you’ll be buying definitely has the highest quality of marbling and the best tasting cuts.
6. What determines the level of marbling?
Marbling is a measure of quality. Over the years, meat producers and scientists have studied marbling in great depth to find out which factors and methods contribute most to achieving high-quality marbling and high standards of uniformity.
The Breed of the cattle is one of the most influential factors. Certain breeds are intrinsically better at achieving a higher marbling scores due to the way they metabolize food. Breeds such as Japanese Wagyu and the American Black Angus are all renowned as the world’s best marbling breeds.
The cattle Feed also plays a vital role in the level of marbling. Grain-fed cattle have a significantly higher level of fat than grass-fed cattle.
Other factors, such as the level of muscle use as well as the age of the cattle also contribute to the level of marbling.
7. What cuts have the best marbling?
As explained above, the more work a muscle performs – the less marbling it will have. The best cuts are usually found along the top-side of the cow where the muscles are least used.
The famous Rib-Eye is one the most well-marbled cuts you’ll find on a cow and is one of the best tasting cuts in a cow. The marbling of a ribeye awards it a flavoursome mouth-watering taste which never disappoints. Other cuts, like the Prime Rib and the Striploin are also impressively marbled and juicy.
8. How do you perfectly cook a marbled steak?
The marbling works its magic on the meat during the cooking process. As the marbling fat melts into the steak, it adds an incredible aroma and texture to the cut of meat. The marbling also keeps it moist and helps retain the meat’s natural juices which usually evaporate into the pan. Top-quality marbled meat doesn’t require any marination or extra sauces to taste amazing – just a sprinkle of fine salt will do the trick.
To achieve the best result with any marbled cut, make sure to cook the meat at a sufficient temperature. For the marbling to melt and coat the muscle fibres effectively the steak needs to be cooked upward of 55 to 60 degree Celsius to a medium-rare state. This transforms the muscle fibres into a rich buttery texture which enhances the beefy flavour of the steak.
If the marbling does not melt correctly it can have an adverse effect on the quality of the steak and meat.
Let’s help you find an impressive cut of meat and deliver it right to your doorstep. Visit our online store to explore our complete selection of succulent beef meat products, the very best from all around the world.