Stockist promotional resources
There is a strong correlation between subcutaneous and intra-muscular (marbling) fat – they both increase at similar rates, although the marbling is determined more specifically by the genetics in a particular animal. What we try to achieve at Gundooee is to provide subcutaneous fat levels to each stockist with-in the range they have requested (the Alstonville fat range is 12-16mm), and aim to provide a marble score of 2-4. With the slightly reduced subcutaneous fat levels as a result of the prolonged drought, the marbling similarly eases back a little.
Eating quality, in particular flavour, is however not so-much about the marbling for Gundooee beef. The Wagyu industry relies heavily on marbling to determine price points from carcass to table as marbling is tangible, visual, and a fair indicator of eating quality for lot-fed beef…but not such a good indicator for slower-growing pasture-fed beef. Gundooee beef has fantastic inter-cellular fat which is where the best flavours come from – it is a much lower melting point fat, and has rich developed flavours. I am sure you have noted that Gundooee carcasses are softer to touch than other carcasses at the same temperature?
For the 15 years Gundooee has been growing and marketing our style of Wagyu beef, I have come to understand that the hardest part of my business is to articulate (and sell) to consumers this point of difference. Unfortunately, the ‘marbling’ has been ingrained indelibly to consumers as the only real indicator of eating quality, but I maintain this to be more accurate for grain-fed beef. It is true that the fat is where the flavour is, and wherever it is found in the beef body – it is difficult however to market something that the consumer can’t actually see.
So that is the problem, and the solution I maintain lies in the counter staff (butchers) and table staff (restaurants) to be able to concisely and expediently, articulate this point of difference to enquiring consumers. This is why I have gone to so much effort to hold staff talks, provide a website and distribute printed material, because you people have a difficult job and need all the help I can provide. I hope this further explanation helps, and although my rule is that I don’t allocate carcasses with consideration to either EMA or intra-muscular fat, I will take your request on board for the next kill.