The best steakhouses around the world serve high-quality cuts of meat, such as the New York Strip and Wagyu Beef. These cuts are extremely tender and contain thin threads of fat, which is known as marbling. In this post, I am going to explain why both tenderness and marbling are so important when choosing a piece of meat.
Have you ever noticed that when you eat meat at a fine dining restaurant, it tastes different? You will know exactly what I mean if you experience Ubud’s best fine dining restaurant at Mozaic Bali or another restaurant of this standard. One reason for this is because they know how to source the best meat.
What is tenderness?
The tenderness of the meat relates to the texture and essentially how easy the food is to chew. There is nothing worse than being served a tough piece of steak, which seems impossible to cut and even more difficult to swallow.
There are various factors that can influence this element of the meat. Firstly, for supreme tenderness you need the best cuts. This includes tenderloin, top loin, rib steak, ribeye and top sirloin. Pre-slaughter treatments can also play their part, with the likes of good transport conditions and Vitamin D injections making the meat tenderer. Marbled meat is also likely to be less tough, yet this only accounts for ten per cent of tenderness.
What is marbling?
Marbling is a term that is used to describe the fat within a cut of meat. A lot of people cut the fat off a piece of steak prior to cooking. You should only do this afterwards. The fat gives the meat its flavour. As it cooks, the fat melts, and this keeps the meat moist and tender whilst also infusing it with flavour. The best cuts of steak will have a lot of marbling and this will be distributed evenly throughout. Meat without marbling is tasteless and dry.
There are various marbling scales that are used in order to grade this aspect of the meat. The Ausmeat grading system rates marbling on a scale of 0 – 9, with 9 being the best. In Japan the grading system goes up to 12, again with 12 representing the finest marbling. When it comes to the grading systems that are used to rank overall quality of beef, marbling is one of the main factors that is considered. Other important factors include colour, firmness and texture of meat, as well as quality of fat and lustre.
Now you know why marbling and tenderness are both so important if you are to experience the best quality meat. No matter whether or not you are purchasing meat to cook yourself or you are looking to enjoy a lovely meal out, the importance of these elements cannot be ignored.