What’s The Red Juice In Raw Red Meat If It’s Not Blood?


Don't worry: the red juice in red meat is not blood, as many assume. Actually, most of the blood is removed during processing and what’s left is usually contained within the muscle tissue. So, the next time you're disgusted by it, remember that it's not what you think it is at all!

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what...

So, that "blood" is not what you think it is.


It’s myoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen to an animal’s muscles. Myoglobin turns red when meat is cut or exposed to air. Heating the protein turns it a darker color. Rare meat isn’t “bloody,” it is just cooked to a lower temperature.

If you’re cooking fresh meat to rare, then you can expect a lot of red myoglobin to be present.

Account for the water that naturally occurs in muscle tissues, and you’ve got a bright-red juice that may look similar to blood, but isn’t at all.

“Meat is about 70 percent water,” Prof. Jeffrey Sevell from Texas A&M University says. “So 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.”

The freshest meat is actually purple.


A fresh-cut slab of cow’s meat is actually purplish in color, Savell says. Exposure to oxygen during the packing process turns it the cherry-red tone we’ve come to associate with freshness. 

“This pigment is of major importance, since it represents the bright red color desired by purchasers,” reads “Lawrie’s Meat Science,” one of the tentpole books for students and professionals in the meat industry. Some producers have even gone so far as to treat their meat with carbon dioxide gas in order to lock in this red color far past its normal lifespan.

Brown meat is NOT necessarily bad.


"After a few days in a grocery store display case, myoglobin molecules naturally oxidize and the meat eventually turns brown," Savell says. It may look less appealing, but it isn’t any less safe to eat. 

“Brown meat doesn’t mean it’s bad,” Savell said. “But [grocery stores] will discount it, 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.”

A meat’s color can tell you how it was cooked.


According to “Lawrie’s Meat Science,” red meat that reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit during cooking will have a bright red interior, while red meat cooked to 140 to 158 degrees will be pink. Anything hotter than that should turn the meat grayish-brown.

So if it’s not blood, what is it?


That red liquid is a mixture of water and myoglobin, whose purpose is to help carry oxygen to muscle cells.

“Meat is about 70 percent water,” Sevell says. “So 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.”

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