October 12, 2009
Knowing more about marbling helps cattlemen produce the best beef. All four National Beef Quality Audits said consumers want more of it, yet many producers manage so as to inhibit rather than enhance marbling.
Scientists offered new insights at the Reciprocal Meats Conference this summer.
"Three major things affect the beef eating experience: flavor, juiciness and tenderness," Brad Johnson, of Texas Tech University, said. "In some direct or indirect way, marbling affects all three of those."
Johnson, the university's Gordon W. Davis Regent's Chair in Meat and Muscle Biology, said marbling is a key to feedlot profits, too. Although the USDA Choice premium over Select fell off in the last year, he said beef industry sustainability hinges on its ability to produce more marbling with fewer inputs and lower carcass weights.
Matt Doumit, meat scientist at the University of Idaho, and Jean-Francois Hocquette, director of the National Institute of Agronomic Research at the Herbivore Research Institute in France, also shared research.