Marbling- what is it?
If you have made it to our page, you have seen our beef cuts with marbling- but what is it? We have had comments of “too much fat for me”, and to each their own, BUT let’s discuss marbling farther.
To start with, we aim for just the right amount of marbling in our meat- so if that’s not something that you’re into, there are plenty of farms out there who aren’t as big of geeks when it comes to their genetics and marbling as we are. By the time a steak hits our customers plate, we have spent HOURS in just coming up with the right genetic makeup for the best meat. Then impregnating the cow and growing the animal.
So, what is marbling? Marbling is the visible, unsaturated (aka healthy) intramuscular fat that accumulates between the muscle fibre bundles and within the muscle. The marbling is made up of polyunsaturated, saturated, and monounsaturated fats. In Wagyu, the monounsaturated to saturated fat ratios is higher than in other beef breeds. The marbling within the cut of meat is not the same kind that you find surrounding the meat. The colder that the meat is, the more visible the white marbling is vs when it is melting. Marbling is determined by both nutrition and genetics with Wagyu developing considerably more marbling than other breeds.
What does it do for flavor? There is an old saying- no fat no flavor. With the fat content being higher, so does the overall flavor of the meat as well as the tenderness. When eating something with a higher marble score, you will have more myoglobin on the plate, its liquid fat- not blood!
“We need fat in beef to improve the eating experience,” said Dr. Stephen Smith, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, and Regents Professor in the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. “We can increase the fat and marbling throughout the production cycle, but for many years there’s been this perception among consumers that too much fat in ground beef isn’t a good thing. Against conventional wisdom, ground beef of all kinds actually is healthy for you.” (1)
So why does the marbling in the meat, and around the meat when its wagyu cross just taste like butter? We have received many comments about just how good the fat tastes!
"The fat is special, too—melting at a lower temperature, so that a mere perfect sliver of raw product will literally melt on the tongue, providing pure unadulterated happiness and bliss," Brazile says. (2)
So, with that being said, the marbling in the beef is able to melt at a much lower temperature than what it does with other beef breeds.
There are different types of marbling as well, from light-medium-heavy. We aim for “snowflake marbling” where its not too much, and not too little. Keep in mind as well that even from the same animal, each cut is going to marble differently than others. This also means that how one piece of meat is cooked, may vary to a different piece.