Why is uncooked beef so bloody compared to, say, turkey? I can’t bear to look at red meat in the grocery store, and that’s the main reason I never eat it. How anyone can eat anything rare enough to have a bloody center is beyond me!
—Jenna Jones, Santa Monica, Calif. Contrary to the hugely popular assumption, that reddish liquid isn’t blood at all. It’s just a water-soluble protein (called myoglobin), which is found in more-active muscle tissue. This protein turns red when it’s exposed to air, which is why butcher counters look like they’re covered with blood. But they’re not! And the presence of large amounts of the brightly colored nutrient is why certain meats are called “red meat” in the first place. (Poultry and fish contain little myoglobin by comparison.) The protein turns brown as the meat is heated, which is why redness in cooked meat is an indication of juiciness—not bloodiness.