Marbling in meat, and why it’s good?
Streaks of fat in the lean parts of meat are referred to as marbling. This orientation draws its roots from resemblance with the patterns of marble.
It is widely believed that thoroughly distributed marbling adds flavor to meat. In fact, it is counted as one of the most important decisive factor for judging the superiority of meat. The standard belief about it is that the more marbling meat has the better would its cuts be considered.
Marbled meat is said to be juicy and tender. This is the reason why marbled meat is more preferred and sold. Whereas, meat that does not have good deal of marbling is said to be less delicious, and people generally prefer marbled meat over it.
There are a few factors that can influence marbling in meat, of which selective breeding is the most important one. Other than this, time of feed and type of feed to the animals also have a crucial role to play in marbling.
Marbled meat generally comes from the loin (back) of animals. The back area of animal body is not exercised as much as other areas are. This is the reason why maximum calories are stored in this region, giving fine fat streaks (marbles) to it.
Let us now understand how that adds to the flavour.
When meat is cooked, the fat (marbled streaks) melt which makes it tender. That melted fat uplifts the flavor substantially. Moreover, it may surprise you that most of the quality in terms of texture and flavor comes from the marbling and not the meat itself. Furthermore, it is these melted fat streaks that add to the aromatic flavour that enhances the overall taste of meat.
However, in case of meat without marbling, you will find it considerably less smooth in terms of texture, and the overall flavor will also lag behind, when cooked.
Here, one thing that must be kept in mind is that even if your overcook finely marbled meat, all its fats will disappear, leaving completely tasteless and dry meat.
So, the next time you buy meat, you might want to check if it is marbled or not, and yes when you cook marbled meat, make sure you cook it moderately; otherwise, you will not find it any better than dry and comparatively less flavorsome meat, which might not what you want.