Beef 101: Don’t lose your marbles {or marbling}

Marbling is key to juicy, tender and flavorful beef!

I’m a visual learner. Sure, I read directions and follow instructions when I must, but to really, really understand and perfect a process I have to see it to believe it. That’s probably why a jar of marbles has me thinking of tasty steak. It’s a perfect visual analogy of marbling in premium beef. Let me explain …

I was standing in front of a sizzling-hot grill, waiting for a tender, juicy Certified Angus Beef ® brand tri-tip to reach optimum doneness. The meat had a lovely, caramelized crust on the outside and dark grill marks criss-crossed its sides. Another few minutes and this hunk of beef would be ready for a brief rest on my cutting board before slicing across the grain. And the rule in our house: whoever grills the meat gets the burnt ends (yum!) 

I was confident this beef would be amazingly flavorful. I’d picked a particular roast with abundant marbling throughout. The little white ‘flavor flecks’ as I like to call them were white and bright, and sprinkled generously within the meat — a grillmaster’s insurance policy!

Marbling is the key to great beef flavor and tenderness.

Think I’ve lost my marbles? Consider this:

Marbling is the key to truly flavorful beef.
See all of those white flecks in the red meat, above? That’s marbling … tiny flecks of fat. The flecks melt during cooking, basting the beef from within. This natural basting not only enhances flavors, it also ensures each cut is tender and juicy. And if you happen to overcook your steaks because you were too busy snapping Instagram photos of the process to check the temp, that marbling is what ensures your beef is still tender and juicy.

Lesson learned: When shopping, look for steaks with lots of marbling. It’s a sure sign of premium quality (and incidentally, to earn the Certified Angus Beef ® brand label, Angus beef must have loads of marbling!). Avoid those pure-red cuts without white flecks. They’re lower quality grades of steaks — not so tender and certainly not so tasty!

For more information and recipes for mouthwatering steaks and roasts, visit!




Published by

Jennifer Kiko

Jennifer lives on a rural route with her husband, kids, horses, cows and faithful Labs, Cash and Carter. She's an aspiring foodie and enjoys making good food for great friends. She lives next door to a winery, plays the piano, and admits to growing too many tomatoes.