Do you know a quality cut of meat when you see it? When you visit your butcher and ask for meat, do you know what you are getting? If not, it’s important to know the tell-tale signs of a quality piece of meat. By far, marbled meat is your cue that you have just purchased a meat that you are sure to enjoy eating.
Marbling is the fat that is found within a cut of meat. The fat is hard and white and located between the fibers of muscle within the cut of meat. You know that you are looking at a good piece of meat when it is evenly marbled. The following are some reasons why you may want to consider marbled meat when you purchase from your butcher.
More Fat, More Flavor
Everyone knows that fat adds flavor to just about every food. For this reason, marbling is highly preferred when considering a cut of meat at your butcher. The hard, white stripes of fat that are found between the muscle fibers of meat, also known as intramuscular fat, are what give meat its delicious flavor. When meat is prepared, this fat melts providing flavor to the meat. Thus, the more fat that a cut of meat contains, the more flavorful it will be which is why marbled meat is highly preferred.
Nice and Moist
Tough and dry is the last combination that you want to experience when it comes to eating a piece of meat. Although there are several factors that can make your meat dry and less than appetizing, lack of fat within your cut of meat is also something to consider. When cooked, the fat within a piece of meat not only provides flavor but also keeps the meat moist and tender. As you can imagine, a high marble content means that your piece of meat is less likely to dry out during preparation. So, if you want moist meat, stick with cuts that have a high marble content.
Authentic Marble Meat vs. Imposters
With more people desiring marbled meat for its rich taste and moist texture, it is important to make sure that you are getting authentic marbled meat.
It is important to beware of meats that appear to be well-marbled but are actually not. Some meat distributors inject fat into lower quality cuts of meat in order to make the meat appear more appealing. This is also used as a method of falsely increasing the cost of the meat by advertising it as more fatty and thus more desirable than it really is. Meat manufacturers to are required to prominently label meat that is “fat injected” or “fat enhanced” so that you as the consumer are aware of the methods used to create the marbling effect on some meats.
Marbled Meat and Your Butcher
When purchasing meat from your butcher, consider the pieces that have a highly marbled appearance. Look closely at select cuts of meat and pick the cuts that have the highest marble effect. Ask the butcher to show you the pieces that you want and confirm the quality of the meat.
Some cuts of meat are more likely to have a higher fat content than others. For example, short loin and beef ribs tend to have more marbling than other cuts of beef. So, if you are looking for marbled meat, stick to cuts of meat that come from the fatter portions of the cow.
For the best tasting meat, consider purchasing marbled meat from your local butcher.