Gold nanorods -14 × 44nm exhibit a surface-plasmon resonance (SPR) peaked near 800nm which is dominated by absorption, not scattering. Because biological tissues in the near-infrared wavelength regime are predominantly scattering (high albedo), the addition of trace amounts of nanorods can be detected by their lowering of the albedo. Albedo is a preferred measurement parameter because it is insensitive to inhomogeneities in the density of scatterers. For optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging applications, a related parameter called the backscattering albedo, equal to the ratio of the backscattering coefficient to the total extinction, is introduced for detecting gold nanorods. Here we use this parameter to investigate gold nanorods as contrast agents for optical coherence tomography (OCT). Measurements in 2% intralipid tissue phantoms reveal a sensitivity to ∼30ppm nanorods when the density of the intralipid is randomized by 0.4% (or a fraction of 0.2). This has application toward molecular imaging using targeted nanorods within densely scattering, inhomogeneous tissues.