Tuesday, January 17, 2023

RARE MEAT IS NOT RARE

Meat lovers can only savour a good steak on their plate, always choosing the level of cooking between "well-cooked", "medium", "rare".  The latter indicates that the meat is just scalded on both sides, so that the central part remains red. Indeed, the phrase "rare" should be removed from restaurant menus, as well as from our discourse.

 The meat is in fact sold bled and the red fluid that comes out is nothing but a mix of water and myoglobin, a purple protein similar in structure to hemoglobin (which carries oxygen in the blood) but with the function of storing oxygen at the muscle level, which will then be consumed by aerobic activity: when oxygen is required by the muscle, myoglobin releases it. The high percentage of iron contained in myoglobin therefore reacts reversibly with oxygen to form oxymyoglobin, giving the meat a bright red colour. Being the myoglobin assigned to the production of energy useful for the movement,  the greater its quantity, the more the animal will enjoy better physical conditions and the more the meat will be red.

During cooking, the color changes and from red it becomes brown because, in contact with the heat, the molecular structure of the myoglobin changes radically: in fact, it transforms into metmyoglobin, gray/brown, which is no longer able to bind oxygen.

And what kind of cooking do you like? Well cooked, medium or myoglobin?

Text: Andre Cortés


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