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Marbling & Fat

What makes Wagyu so special?
Marbling & Fat explained

01/03/2021

What is the big deal behind Wagyu Beef? The answer is very simple... Marbling.

Wagyu and Kobe beef have their own grading standard, which measures the meat’s intramuscular fat, also known as “marbling”.

Marbling is that webbing of creamy white fat that riddles a cut of beef, and which gives it a spectacular tenderness, juiciness and richness. This score is called BMS or Beef Marble Score.

 

Marble score – or MS, for short – denotes the degree of visible intramuscular fat found within the meat, which appears in fine, white streaks and specks on the red muscle. Marbling scores are expertly graded from 3 to 12 by independent, qualified assessors, who base the score on the ribeye muscle of each cow. In determining the score, they assess the quantity, distribution and texture of the visible fat flecks.

For those who avoid fats...

All cattle have a gene called Delta-9-Desaturase. Now, the Wagyu's delta 9 gene, is over active!. It makes an enzyme that changes stearic acid into Oleic Acid. Stearic Acid is Saturated Fat and Oleic Acid is Unsaturated Fat.

Unsaturated Fat = HEART HEALTHY!

One of the reasons Wagyu beef is so highly revered is for its buttery, exquisite taste, which it acquires during cooking as the fat melts and infuses the meat with flavor. Hence, the more marbling there is in the meat, the higher the marble score and the better the quality.

 

One of the reasons Wagyu beef is so highly revered is for its buttery, exquisite taste, which it acquires during cooking as the fat melts and infuses the meat with flavor.

Now let's break down marbling scores....

Marble Score 3 and 4

Even at the lower end of the marble spectrum, Wagyu beef is far more tender and delicious than regular grocery store beef, and rates higher even than prime grade steak rating. MS3 and MS4 Wagyu beef is marbled with light streaks of white fat. With its soft texture and mouthwatering taste, this meat is great value considering the high quality of the eating experience, and is the perfect place to start if you’re new to the world of Wagyu.

Marble Score 5 and 6

Now this is where our Wagyu steaks get richer and more flavorful, with prominent fat webbing resulting in a creamier, more buttery bite than the lower marble scores. Nevertheless, you can indulge in large portions without the risk of a richness overload.

Marble Score 7 and 8

You have reached the Olympic level of Wagyu beef. The best score to buy. Gorgeous rivulets of fat are so thick and juicy, your Wagyu reaches a higher culinary plain, one historically reserved for kings. Rich and succulent to the point of opulence, and so tender your knife slices through it like butter, this is the kind of beef that will change your definition of delicious. Since it’s so rich and buttery, savor it in slightly smaller portions than normal.

Marble Score 9+

These are the rarest and most difficult to find marble scores, found on less than 1% of Wagyu cows. With luscious, exquisitely marbled meat that will impress even the most discerning of connoisseurs, Wagyu MS9+ is serious stuff. So much so, in fact, that it should be savored in small portions, around half the size of a regular serving of steak. Purchase it for the most special of occasions, or as a gift when you want to wow someone and show them the true meaning of luxury.

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Chef Niel Van Zyl

What is Wagyu? Why is it so expensive ?!

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