Do steaks bleed on your plate? The short answer is no. But why do they have this red liquid?
How do you like your steak? A lot of people enjoy rare or medium steaks, which are softer and pink. Others want their steaks well-made, which tend to be harder and chewier. If you belong to the latter group, hopefully not because you’re afraid of blood – steaks are never bleeding on your plate.
Why there is no blood in your steak?
The pink color of rare and medium-cooked steaks is a sign of quality to many. In fact, if you ask for suggestions, almost no one will believe that well-cooked steak is something you should order. Rare or medium steaks are tender and moist, but that moisture isn’t blood. It’s meat juice.
As the animal is slaughtered (yes, not the prettiest part of meat production), its blood is drained immediately. It can and usually is used for food, but not for steaks. The entire body of mammals, including cows and pigs, is very moist. 60-70 % of the body is water. A lot of it is blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the different parts of the body, but not all.
What is this red liquid in steaks?
So what is this liquid, coming out of rare and medium steaks? It’s just myoglobin.
Myoglobin is a protein from muscle tissue of vertebrates, which is responsible for binding oxygen and iron. It is distantly related to hemoglobin, which is found in blood, but it is a different substance. Humans have myoglobin as well.
This was explained by the Reddit user theWet_Bandits in a subreddit r/YouShouldKnow. “It’s perfectly fine if you prefer your steaks well-done. That’s your prerogative. If you prefer the texture, flavor, etc… go right ahead. However, if your reason for not eating (or at least trying) a medium rare steak is that you don’t want to eat blood, then rest assured you won’t be”, the author noted.
But why does myoglobin taste like blood?
You may not be convinced and say that those juices taste metallic to you – as blood would. Myoglobin has some iron – again, like blood. However, if you tried blood and myoglobin, you could easily tell the difference.
Finally, it’s just meat juice. You know that your food comes from an animal, which was eating, breathing and saying “moo” once in a while. Myoglobin was part of it and now it’s part of your food. If you can eat meat, you can deal with all the liquids that come with it. In fact, in many cultures, blood is used for human food. Why is eating muscles and fat appetizing, but some liquids, which are completely normal and natural, gross? Get over it, steaks come from animals.
In short, it is not blood. It is myoglobin, which in the case of meat is referred to as “meat juice”. It is not blood, but not more or less gross than blood. It’s just another thing that comes from an animal that provided you with food.