Some people are proud of the rare status of their steak. Others ask their server to batter their steak until there's no trace of "blood" in there. There are also those who say they want their steak cooked medium/medium to well because they want you to believe they don't mind the juice but really, they'd rather see it battered to well done too.
It's your steak, so you do whatever the hell your taste buds and your eyes tell you to do. But, you should know that the red juice coming out of your steak really isn't blood. This is not a plot for chefs to spend less time on your steak.
More importantly, that red juice isn't going to hurt you. Turns out, that "blood" is actually myoglobin. Fancy word, sure, but in simple terms, it's the protein which delivers oxygen to the animal's muscles.
Myoglobin fuels the animal’s muscle tissues with oxygen. “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.
When the meat is being chopped into small pieces, this protein turns to red. The same thing happens if the meat is exposed to air. The protein then turns from red to a dark color when it's heated, that is, when you're cooking that steak.
The color of a piece of meat can really tell you how it has been cooked. At least, if you know meat when you look at it. The color is especially important and it shows you the kind of temperature it was exposed to when being cooked.
For instance, meat that has a “bright red interior” means that the highest temperature it was exposed to was that of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For meat that is pink, the temperature reaches between 140 to 158 degrees. A temperature higher than that will turn the meat into a brownish/grey color.
The internal temperature of a steak should at least be cooked at 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This is what the US Department of Food and Agriculture recommends. It’s recommended that the steak is cooked at this temperature for at least three minutes to kill harmful bacteria.
It’s obvious then, that if you order a steak — rare — then your plate will have more of that red juice oozing around the circumference. That is the myoglobin present and the water that “naturally occurs in muscle tissues.”
If you’re still not convinced, then maybe Today I Found Out can convince you otherwise. In an article published on their website, they invite you to think about other meat. When a chicken is undercooked, it doesn’t have a pink color, does it? If being undercooked means meat has a pinkish/red hue, then all meat would be the same.
But then, if you’re going with that train of thought, then you might as well not eat meat and grab an apple instead. If you do love your meat, then give that pink hue a try. If you’re not ready to eat it, at least don’t mention "blood" ever again to your servers when ordering a steak — they’re way over it!