Marbling refers to the amount of fat that is incorporated into the meat. When juicy tenderness is your goal, you will want to choose a steak that displays plenty of marbling. The fat contained in the steak provides the smooth, velvety flavor and texture that makes steak so tasty. It also infuses your steak with the melt-in-your-mouth quality that sends your taste buds soaring. The less marbling in your steak, the more likely you will struggle to chew and choke down a tough, dry forkful of tasteless beef.
When purchasing your steaks, be sure to smell them in addition to looking at them. If your meat is fresh, it will have a clean, fresh aroma with perhaps a faint scent of iron. The meat should not give off a strong smell, whether it be sweet, acidic, or sour. If you detect any type of foul or off-putting odor, give the meat a pass.
When purchasing your cut of meat, make sure that the packaging is clean and undisturbed. Never buy meat if the package has become damaged. Torn packaging can allow in contaminants. According to the American Meat Science Association, the plastic used to wrap meat is designed to keep out liquids, moisture, and vapors from the air. The specially designed meat wrapping materials protect the meat in a variety of temperatures. This plastic film does allow oxygen to come into contact with the meat in order to react with myoglobin and keep the meat a fresh-looking pink color.