People are only just realizing that the red liquid that comes out of a steak isn't blood

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By James Kay

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Now, I'm sure most of us are familiar with a good steak -- the taste, the smell, the texture (the price).

GettyImages-1286498077.jpgIt turns out people don't know steaks as well as they think they do. Credit: BARTON / Getty

But although most people assume that the red liquid that comes out of a steak is blood... but it actually isn't.

A good steak is one of life's simple pleasures and some people have a different view on how it should be cooked.

Many people will tell you that a steak should be rare, or - at most - medium. And we've all seen Gordon Ramsay yell at people for cooking it "RAW!"

GettyImages-2076353107.jpgEveryone likes their steak a little different. Credit: LauriPatterson / Getty

But have you ever cut into a rare steak and just assumed that the red liquid that pours out is blood? I'm sure we've all heard it from friends, family, on TV shows, and YouTube cooking tutorials. "I like my steaks bloody," my uncle used to say.

Well if you've been told that the red liquid is "blood", I have some news for you...

It's actually not blood but myoglobin, a protein responsible for delivering oxygen to an animal's muscles.

Myoglobin turns red when meat is cut or exposed to air, and it darkens with heat.

Thus, the red color in a rare steak is due to the lower cooking temperature making the myoglobin's hue more pronounced.

Jeffrey Savell, a professor of Meat Science at Texas A&M University, explained to HuffPost that animals with more active muscles and older animals have meat containing more myoglobin.

GettyImages-1430001130.jpgThe liquid that pours out of a steak isn't blood! Credit: Javier Ghersi/Getty

This difference not only affects steak but also accounts for the darker meat in turkey legs compared to the lighter meat in the breasts, as legs have more active muscle tissue and thus more myoglobin.

In reality, the red color commonly associated with raw meat results from the packing process where the meat is exposed to oxygen.

Fresh cow meat is actually purplish in color, and it’s the oxidation process that transforms it to the bright red seen on supermarket shelves.

Oxidation also causes red meat to turn brown after a few days. While less visually appealing, this discoloration doesn’t mean the meat is unsafe to eat.

Savell noted: "Brown meat doesn't mean it's bad. But [supermarkets] will discount it and mark it down. If you buy brown meat, just be sure to cook it right away, because it's likely already been out there for three or four days."

GettyImages-155144263.jpgCredit: grandriver/Getty

Savell further clarified why rare steak appears to bleed, stating that meat is "about 70% water."

When mixed with red myoglobin and other pigments, the resulting liquid resembles diluted blood.

He reassured: "You have water, and myoglobin, and other pigments that leak out. That's where this juice comes from. I can assure you it's not blood."

In fact, influencer and steak aficionado CarnivoreJT recently took to X inform his thousands of followers this interesting fact, and it looks like most of us are just finding out.

"Did you know? The red liquid inside of your packaged meat is not blood. It is a mixture of water and myoglobin," he wrote.


To which, one person responded: "Wow. Always though it was blood!!!"

A second added: "I did not know this. Interesting."

So there we go!

Next time you cut into a juicy steak you can rest assured that it isn't blood pouring onto your plate.

Featured image credit: grandriver/Getty

People are only just realizing that the red liquid that comes out of a steak isn't blood

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

Now, I'm sure most of us are familiar with a good steak -- the taste, the smell, the texture (the price).

GettyImages-1286498077.jpgIt turns out people don't know steaks as well as they think they do. Credit: BARTON / Getty

But although most people assume that the red liquid that comes out of a steak is blood... but it actually isn't.

A good steak is one of life's simple pleasures and some people have a different view on how it should be cooked.

Many people will tell you that a steak should be rare, or - at most - medium. And we've all seen Gordon Ramsay yell at people for cooking it "RAW!"

GettyImages-2076353107.jpgEveryone likes their steak a little different. Credit: LauriPatterson / Getty

But have you ever cut into a rare steak and just assumed that the red liquid that pours out is blood? I'm sure we've all heard it from friends, family, on TV shows, and YouTube cooking tutorials. "I like my steaks bloody," my uncle used to say.

Well if you've been told that the red liquid is "blood", I have some news for you...

It's actually not blood but myoglobin, a protein responsible for delivering oxygen to an animal's muscles.

Myoglobin turns red when meat is cut or exposed to air, and it darkens with heat.

Thus, the red color in a rare steak is due to the lower cooking temperature making the myoglobin's hue more pronounced.

Jeffrey Savell, a professor of Meat Science at Texas A&M University, explained to HuffPost that animals with more active muscles and older animals have meat containing more myoglobin.

GettyImages-1430001130.jpgThe liquid that pours out of a steak isn't blood! Credit: Javier Ghersi/Getty

This difference not only affects steak but also accounts for the darker meat in turkey legs compared to the lighter meat in the breasts, as legs have more active muscle tissue and thus more myoglobin.

In reality, the red color commonly associated with raw meat results from the packing process where the meat is exposed to oxygen.

Fresh cow meat is actually purplish in color, and it’s the oxidation process that transforms it to the bright red seen on supermarket shelves.

Oxidation also causes red meat to turn brown after a few days. While less visually appealing, this discoloration doesn’t mean the meat is unsafe to eat.

Savell noted: "Brown meat doesn't mean it's bad. But [supermarkets] will discount it and mark it down. If you buy brown meat, just be sure to cook it right away, because it's likely already been out there for three or four days."

GettyImages-155144263.jpgCredit: grandriver/Getty

Savell further clarified why rare steak appears to bleed, stating that meat is "about 70% water."

When mixed with red myoglobin and other pigments, the resulting liquid resembles diluted blood.

He reassured: "You have water, and myoglobin, and other pigments that leak out. That's where this juice comes from. I can assure you it's not blood."

In fact, influencer and steak aficionado CarnivoreJT recently took to X inform his thousands of followers this interesting fact, and it looks like most of us are just finding out.

"Did you know? The red liquid inside of your packaged meat is not blood. It is a mixture of water and myoglobin," he wrote.


To which, one person responded: "Wow. Always though it was blood!!!"

A second added: "I did not know this. Interesting."

So there we go!

Next time you cut into a juicy steak you can rest assured that it isn't blood pouring onto your plate.

Featured image credit: grandriver/Getty