Sometimes when you order a steak at a nice restaurant you get a plate with red “blood” on it. It can freak some people out. Yeah, you might want to eat meat but the blood can make some people squeamish.
But actually that red juice in your meat is not blood.
Blood is removed during the slaughter process and afterwards very little blood remains in the muscle tissue. That red liquid is water mixed a protein called myoglobin.
See as meat ages, the muscle tissue breaks down – and it doesn’t take long. The water and myoglobin cells inside the meat are released and voila, a red blood-like liquid emanates from the meat when it is prepared.
Interestingly, myoglobin is what separates white meat from red meat. The more myoglobin cells, the redder the meat is. Most mammals have a high amount of myoglobin and are called red meat. Animals with a low level of myoglobin are considered white meat, these are animals like poultry or seafood.
Myoglobin is similar to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is different because it helps red blood cells store oxygen. Myoglobin on the other hand helps muscle cells store oxygen. Myoglobin is needed for muscles that need oxygen on demand, for active and frequent use.
(FYI – that red liquid in your steak is called the “purge” in the beef industry.)
So you can relax when you see that red liquid the next time you eat a steak.
You can also sound super nerdy the next time you eat a steak by dropping the term myoglobin 😉