What is Marbled Beef? Does it Taste Better?
Hey Roy, loved your porterhouse post. Got a question for you concerning ‘marbled beef’. Does it really taste better and what do you look for?
Scott in Ann Arbor, MI
Thanks Scott. I really like this question because ‘marbling’ is a term that gets tossed around a lot in cookbooks and on cooking shows, but I don’t think is really understood by a lot of people.
First let’s take a look at what we are talking about here:
So the ‘marbling effect’ pictured above is produced by the fine evenly distributed flecks of white intramuscular fat distributed throughout this steak – NOT the dense outer fat around the outside.
Compare this to the steak below:
Pretty obvious that there is no marbling in this cut.
Now that we are all on the same page, the next part of your question gets really interesting. Does marbling make for a juicier, more tender better tasting steak? There is no doubt in my mind about the answer here – YES – and if the years of experience aren’t enough for you, believe it or not there is data to support this!
In the May 31, 2007 issue of the well respected Journal of Food Quality, author G.C. Smith published “RELATIONSHIP OF USDA MARBLING GROUPS TO PALATABILITY OF COOKED BEEF”. Their conclusions – and I’ll just cut to the chase here, because you know I could go on for hours about this stuff – “as marbling increased from practically devoid to moderately abundant … steaks were more palatable about 2/3 of the time …”. Don’t you just love science?
Until next time – like I always say…
Love your meat,