A good steak is super enticing, from its smell to its deep umami taste. But sometimes, the fleshy meat comes with a caveat: it oozes something that resembles blood. An oozing steak could be a bit unsettling for even the most voracious of carnivores. While many just write off the red liquid as the remaining blood of the animal, the truth is just a bit more complicated than that.
According to Huffington Post —”It’s myoglobin, the protein that delivers oxygen to an animal’s muscles. This protein 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.”
Frankly, blood is a much less complicated explanation. But as it turns out, meat coloring is a very complex matter, indeed.
“Myoglobin delivers oxygen to muscle tissues. Animals with more active muscle tissues, as well as older animals, both have meat with more myoglobin, Jeffrey Savell, a distinguished professor of Meat Science at Texas A&M University, told HuffPost.
“If you’re cooking fresh meat to rare, then you can expect a lot of red myoglobin to be present, Savell explained. “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. 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.”
So, the next time a pink steak arrives at your table for dinner, don’t panic. It won’t ‘moo’ at you. It’s not blood, it’s just myoglobin. Promise!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, FHM.