That Red Liquid Inside Of Packages Of Meat Isn’t Blood—Here’s What It Really Is

The Red Liquid In Your Steak And Other Meats Isn't Blood

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  • If you’re freaked out by the red liquid you frequently encounter in packages of meat, you might feel better knowing it’s not blood
  • Keep reading for a breakdown of what you’re really dealing with when you’re handling raw beef and chicken
  • Read more about food here

I wouldn’t consider myself a steak/meat/grilling expert by any stretch of the imagination but I have spent an inordinate time cooking beef, chicken, and pork over the years. Corned beef and cabbage has always been a staple food at family dinners for us, and if you’ve ever purchased a corned beef and opened the package then you’ve undoubtedly seen that red goop that it’s surrounded in.

I don’t think I’m alone in assuming the substance in question is blood, and I’d argue that it’s a pretty rational assumption when you consider something with that kind of color is seeping out of raw meat. However, it turns out the liquid—which you may also find in packages of steak, chicken, and other meats—is something else entirely.

That reality was brought to my attention by Tech Insider, which devoted a video to debunking this common myth while explaining it’s actually a mixture of myoglobin and water.

Now, I assume most people reading this know what water is, but you may not know is that good ol’ H2O comprises around 75% of your typical piece of meat. Myoglobin, on the other hand, is a protein found in the animal’s muscles, which brings us to the science behind the phenomenon: when grocery store meat is frozen, you end up with the water expanding into ice crystals which in turn ruptures the muscle cells, and that’s where the myoglobin comes into play.

According to this video, the myoglobin is actually what gives steak its delicious red coloration.

Now that we know that the red liquid found surrounding raw steak isn’t blood, if you are looking for some cooking tips on ‘how to cook the perfect steak‘ regardless of cut you can just follow that link!