Three cheers for fat!

Intramuscular fat (IMF), also known as marbling, increases tenderness, juiciness and the fried taste, and reduces the intensity of the pig taste and the sourness. Read on to learn more about the beneficial properties of fat.

There are many ways of ensuring that pork becomes an extra special eating experience. When cooking lean meat such as chops, tenderloin and leg cuts, it is very important for the eating quality that the meat is cooked gently to a core temperature of a maximum of 65 degrees. But as regards the eating quality of pork, there are several factors that come into play. Numerous studies into eating quality and IMF have shown that a higher percentage of intramuscular fat in the meat provides taste, juiciness and tenderness, which enhance the experience of the meat’s eating quality.

The proportion of IMF is primarily determined by genetics, breed and carcase weight. The more Duroc there is in the cross-breed, the higher the proportion of IMF. A high meat percentage and a high IMF may well occur in the same animal. The loin is most often used in tests, which show that the higher the proportion of IMF, the more robust the meat becomes. Robust refers to the fact that the meat can withstand being cooked to a higher core temperature without the eating quality being impaired.

For finished pigs in Denmark, the IMF in the loin averages 1.5%. With an IMF of 1%, the fat in the muscle on the chop can just be detected and with an IMF of approx. 1.5 %, small white flecks of fat in the meat can be seen. The higher the IMF, the more clearly the flecks of fat in the meat can be seen.

Intramuscular fat (IMF)