Steak Medium Rare: That’s Not Blood

What is the red liquid in the steak?

  • There is little or no blood in the steak when it is sold and served.
  • Blood perishes quickly, the meat would be inedible if there were still large amounts of blood in it.
  • The muscle protein myoglobin is responsible for the red color of the meat. It is a protein molecule with an iron atom at its center to which oxygen can bind.
  • The iron oxidizes and the myoglobin becomes red oxymyoglobin. It mixes with water and runs out of the meat when frying.
  • The color of the meat is therefore determined by myoglobin. The more of it there is in the meat, the darker it gets.
  • Pork, for example, contains only two milligrams of myoglobin per gram, while lamb contains three times as much.
  • In addition, the amount of myoglobin increases with the age of the animal. Veal is, therefore, lighter than beef.
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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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