Marbling — it’s the white, fatty part in a great steak. But what does it mean, how does it influence flavor, and what should you be looking for in your marbling? We’ll give you the rundown on marbling today and what it means for your steak. From a variety of grass-fed beef recipes to cattle-raising advice, our Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch blog has it all

What is marbling?

Marbling refers to the intramuscular fat, or white flecks, in a cut of meat, most notably red meat. A cut like the ribeye steak, which comes from the ribeye muscle between the 12th and 13th ribs, is well-known for the presence of marbling. The fat in these lean muscle cuts tends to create a marble pattern, hence the term “marbling.”

What is the marbling grading system? 

Individual human graders are trained to grade beef based on the quality, and the marbling visual, distribution and amount, play a huge role in that grade. The top grade a cut of beef can get is USDA Prime, and this is likely to have the most marbling. Next is Choice, followed by Select, both of which you can find in grocery stores, for a total of eight grades for various uses. The best marbling is thin and evenly-distributed, while lower quality marbling, leading to a lower grade, would be thicker and less evenly-distributed. 

What factors affect marbling? 

While marbling is fat, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unhealthy. Some breeds of cattle have naturally better marbling, and some have healthier marbling than others (like the Wagyu, which is higher in Omega-3s). If cattle are not consistently putting on weight, marbling will disappear. Grass-fed cattle may have a harder time marbling than grain-fed, but naturally grass-fed cattle will have better marbling than ones fed off grass pellets. Have more questions about the marbling in our beef? Drop us a line

We’re pleased to consistently offer great products with a delicious melt-in-your-mouth feel. Cook our beef slowly for best results. Ready to get quality beef right in your community? Visit the Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch website to get yours.