What is marbling & why does it matter?

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beef marbling

Marbling refers to the fat found inside the muscle fibers of a steak. The marbling is well distributed in a good quality steak and has a firm feel and pure white color. The marbling melts during cooking give the steak a good flavor and delicious taste. For this reason, steak containing a high amount of well-distributed marbling has a higher quality and value than lean meat.

How Marbling Affect Steak Quality

Marbling makes a steak aesthetically appealing. Additionally, beef marbling adds juice and flavor to the steak. Your steak will, therefore, be moist because the juices do not evaporate. Since fat is more tender than fiber, the marbling enhances the steak tenderness. You will therefore enjoy a tender, flavourful, and juicer steak. When cooked with heat over 130F, the intramuscular fat melts and coats the muscle fiber. As a result, the steak gets a rich butterfly texture, enhancing the bold and beefy flavor.
Here is an important point. While some animal fats are not good for the body, Intemuscula fat is good for your health. Breeds like Wagyu have high amounts of healthier fats like oleic acid, which reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

How Much Marbling Do You Want?

Ideally, every consumer desires to consume an attractive steak with a desirable color. More importantly, the Steak should be juicy, healthy, tender, and flavourful with no additives or fats. Ribeye and loin have the right balance of fat and lean.

The suitable amount of marbling is determined by the marbling score, which factors in the distribution of marbling and the fat particles’ size. Here is a breakdown of the score.

  • Devoid has 1.0% to 2.5% of marbling.
  • Traces have marbling of between 2.5% and 4.0% of marbling.
  • Slight has 4.0% to 5.0%
  • Small 5.0 to 6.5
  • Modest 6.5 TO 7.5%
  • Moderate 7.5 to 8.5%
  • Abundant >8.5%

The amount of marbling in a steak determines the quality of the steak. In essence, quality in steak is not an arbitrary term. Scientists use USDA-recognized grading to indicate the grade of the beef. While grading the beef marbling is quite a subjective affair, expert inspectors look at the loin muscle between the 12 and 13th rib.

The USDA grading has eight different grades:

  • Prime
  • Choice
  • Select
  • Standard
  • Commercial
  • Cutter
  • Canner

While it has limited supply, US Prime is the highest quality steak with the highest intramuscular fat. It accounts for about 2.9 of the carcasses. US Choice is readily available in the retail market and the foodservice industry. Below the prime grade, we have the choice grade. The difference is between prime and choice is that prime has a higher fat content. Choice grade is found in grocery stores and other retail outlets and is quite affordable, while the standard steak grade is available in cheap steak restaurants. The other grades have poor marbling quantity and are available in cheap stores and outlets.

Good quality steak means a good eating experience. In other words, heavy marbling means that you have superior steak. The best beef marbling type is high-frequency fine marbling, which has well-distributed fat flecks.

Stetson Beef: The Marbling Comes From the Finishing

Stetson Beef provides intense care and effort to ensure that you get the most delicious beef on your dinner plate possible. We cross-breed black Angus cows with Hereford bulls. The calf weighs significantly more at weaning and takes a shorter time to attain finish weight. Our cattle are grain-finished for a minimum of 150 days. At Stetson Ranches, we understand that the last days matters a lot. For this reason, we feed our cattle with the highest quality finishing grains available. The custom finishing process involves transporting their cattle to a high-quality, USDA inspected meat processing facility one hour from the ranch. This means their cattle never travel further than one hour from their ranch in their lifetime. In total, the Stetson Family spends 540 days of intensive care and effort before processing and getting their high-quality beef from farm to plate. Once arriving at their USDA inspected processor, Stetson Ranches dry ages all the primal cuts for 28 days. This dry-aging process is where Stetson Beef’s marbling really shines through!

We believe that good inputs create good outputs, and in turn, happy customers. We focus on creating happy, healthy, and well cared for cows. You can taste the difference, but don’t take our word for it – try some Stetson Beef today.

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