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  #1  
Old 09-06-2000, 10:40 AM
racekarl racekarl is offline
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I have all my life just assumed that the red fluid you find in a package of fresh beef (steak, whatever) is blood, perhaps a bit diluted by whatever was added or condensation.

Then I came across a friend who insists that the fluid is some mystery "juice" that contains no blood. Is this possible? Who is right here? Is there any blood in the fluid? If so, what do you think the ratio of blood to misc other fluids is?
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  #2  
Old 09-06-2000, 10:47 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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I think your friend is in denial. You should agree politely and change the subject.
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  #3  
Old 09-06-2000, 11:55 AM
Necros Necros is offline
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Tell him it's "flavor juice."

Really, it's blood, and other random fluids, like water and preservatives. I believe, that when you cook meat, the "juices" that are clear then are really fluids with the proteins (and red blood cells) cooked out. Probably, if your friend wants to remain a meat eater -- and I'm no vegetarian, I just think it's good advice -- he or she should not look so close at what he or she is eating.
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Old 09-06-2000, 01:07 PM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Hello and welcome to the SDMB racekar!

What's keeping the blood from coagulating? Some mystery chemical they add at the slaughterhouse? Is it naturally that thin? Or is it mainly condensate and water with a bit of trace blood mixed in for color? If so, I gotta lean with racekarl's friend - it is juice, not blood. (Although I'd be hard pressed to say when it stopped being blood and became juice. Use your imagination and work with me, thankyouverymuch).
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  #5  
Old 09-06-2000, 01:09 PM
mrblue92 mrblue92 is offline
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I can't find the article, but The Onion (www.theonion.com) said that vegetarians had declared cows to be either vegetables or fruit. Can't remember which. So clearly that liquid is either "cow juice", "bovine nectar", or "cattle cider".
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  #6  
Old 09-06-2000, 03:15 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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I can't find it in the book I thought I read it in, but I was under the impression the red juice was a water solution of sodium erythorbate. Sodium erythorbate is an antioxidant added to prevent the meat from turning an unappetizing brown color. It is the sodium salt of isoascorbic acid, a chemical relative of of vitamin C.
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2000, 04:24 PM
jb_farley jb_farley is offline
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I don't believe that it is blood per se. probably has a lot of the same componants as blood, but most of the red humours were drained at death.

muscle juice.
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  #8  
Old 09-06-2000, 04:28 PM
labdude labdude is offline
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There is some blood or hemoglobin in the Juice, but mostly its intracellular fluid that leaked out because od cellular breakdown. Packages of meat with the "blood" stuff are older than the "no blood" meat.
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  #9  
Old 09-06-2000, 04:30 PM
UncleBeer UncleBeer is offline
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No real answers, but ...

You could search this extensive site, http://www.beef.org for the answer to your question. I fooled around over there for about 15 minutes (It's a huge site and I'm gonna bookmark it), but didn't find anything terribly relevant. I was very disappointed to see they are no longer publishing The Beef Brief, however all the old issues are available on line.

I did find this from a Canadian beef organization. http://www.beefinfo.org
Quote:
Q. Is it illegal to add any colouring, additives or preservatives to fresh beef?
A. Government regulations prohibit the use of colouring, additives or preservatives in fresh beef.
Here's something you may find interesting, though, or at least weird, that I ran across while searching for an answer to this question, the Fire and Explosion Hazards associated with the manufacture of dried beef blood.

Quoting the summary paragraph:
Quote:
Our concern is based on one batch of dried beef blood collected from one site. Our literature search revealed no values for the dried beef blood ignition sensitivity and explosive severity. Therefore, additional samples may be needed to better define these values. Nevertheless, the combustible nature of dried beef blood suggests that importers, manufacturers, distributors, and users of the product should be aware of our findings.
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  #10  
Old 09-06-2000, 05:02 PM
Gunslinger Gunslinger is offline
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Condensed water + blood.
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  #11  
Old 09-06-2000, 05:02 PM
UncleBeer UncleBeer is offline
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What the hell is "condensed water?"
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  #12  
Old 09-06-2000, 05:35 PM
Necros Necros is offline
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Never mind that. Dried beef blood is combustible?!?
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  #13  
Old 09-06-2000, 05:57 PM
RickG RickG is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Necros
Never mind that. Dried beef blood is combustible?!?
Sure. Pretty much any finely divided, dry, organic material is combustible. Grain silos are quite dangerous because of all the organic dust in the air.

Rick
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2000, 06:31 PM
Engineer Don Engineer Don is offline
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They do drain the blood, but they do it by hanging the carcass, not with suction pumps. They wash the carcass with clean water, then they cool or freeze the beef. The watering down and the cooling or freezing prevent clotting. If you are looking at cuts packaged in the store something is wrong. You are paying by weight usually, and if they are charging you for added liquid water you are getting screwed.

If you are talking about the blood/water mix when you defrost a cut at home, it is probably related to condensation and normal defrosting. Condensation is when moisture (water vapor) in the air becomes liquid water by coming in contact with cold things. You also get frost and moisture absorption when you cool/freeze things, so you get the same water back when you defrost it, plus a little of what ever the water was in contact with. The same thing happens with cut frozen veggies. The meat packers don't add anti-coagulents or anything like that that I know of because it wouldn't do anything useful. Preventing a stroke in the cow at this point isn't a big priority.

The "juice" run off from cooking is just a combo of intercellular fluid (as stated above) and liquified fat. You can check this by letting it resolidify in the frying pan.

Cow blood is used for all sorts of stuff. We have a local place that takes tankers of the stuff, seperates the white and red blood cells, and then dries it into powders. They sell it for high end dog food, fish food, protein additives, and a bunch of other stuff.
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  #15  
Old 09-06-2000, 08:32 PM
Whammo Whammo is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by labdude
There is some blood or hemoglobin in the Juice, but mostly its intracellular fluid that leaked out because od cellular breakdown.
Bingo. On the money. If you freeze your beef and then thaw it you will find even more fluid due to cellular rupture from freezing.

Water is sometimes added to cheap ground beef however to increase its weight. My father has seen it with his own eyes, the butcher was putting beef into the grinder and adding water with a pitcher and alternating. Ever pick up ground beef to make a hamburger and squeezed about a half cup of water out of 1/4 pound? Too much for cellular breakdown if you ask me.
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  #16  
Old 09-06-2000, 11:13 PM
Gunslinger Gunslinger is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by UncleBeer
What the hell is "condensed water?"
The water vapor that condenses on the inside of the packaging. Put food in a ziploc baggie in the fridge for a while--see the little drops of water on the inside?
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  #17  
Old 09-07-2000, 01:46 AM
Lazarus7 Lazarus7 is offline
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mmmmmm ... that is the tastiest part!!!
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  #18  
Old 09-07-2000, 03:01 AM
JavaMaven1 JavaMaven1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Whammo
Water is sometimes added to cheap ground beef however to increase its weight. My father has seen it with his own eyes, the butcher was putting beef into the grinder and adding water with a pitcher and alternating. Ever pick up ground beef to make a hamburger and squeezed about a half cup of water out of 1/4 pound? Too much for cellular breakdown if you ask me.
Water is added to a meat grinder not only to add to the weight, but is also added for the actual ease of grinding. Have you ever worked with an industrial size meat grinder? Meat gets stuck in the mechanism like you wouldn't believe, and for a butcher that is trying to use every bit of product he has, he's going to throw in some water to push things along. Of course, this also gets into the product and pushes down the quality of the meat, but then again, the water also helps replace fluids that will be lost in the grinding process. I've had to do the same thing when making sausages--usually a ratio of about a pint of water to every 10 lbs. of meat.
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  #19  
Old 09-07-2000, 04:52 AM
FarTreker FarTreker is offline
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I assumed that it was blood, perhaps mixed with water, because most cuts of meat come on an absorbent pad in the package. Most have little 'drainage' when you buy them, but more appears after you freeze and then defrost it. More seeps out when cooking and forms that delicious brownish 'gel' that I love to scrape up, salt and eat. I'll even pour the 'juice' from the package into the pan, season it, cook it and savor that mass of stuff. You can even cook it down to a tougher mass and it's tasty!
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  #20  
Old 09-08-2000, 08:58 PM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is online now
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Here's the straight dope on the original question:

The red "juice" you see in most packaged meat is composed mostly myoglobin, which is a water-soluble protein. Its purpose is to store oxygen the hemoglobin has brought to the tissues. A small percentage may consist of other liquids, including blood. But it's mostly myoglobin.

The myoglobin actually gives the meat a purplish hue immediately after it has been cut. But once oxygen in the air acts on it, the myoglobin turns the meat red. Consumers judge red meat as "fresh." The clear film wrapping you see on packaged meat allows oxygen to pass through, thus giving the meat the "red look" for many days.
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  #21  
Old 09-08-2000, 09:07 PM
jb_farley jb_farley is offline
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and prevents nasty anaerobic bacteria from eating my london broil bewfore I do.
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  #22  
Old 08-14-2001, 06:16 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Just because I'd hate for anyone to think I was in denial, here's something I found while reading Russ Parsons' How to Read a French Fry (page 221):
Quote:
Though the red meat juices are frequently mistaken for blood, in reality they are simply watery solutions from within the protein cells and fibers. Real blood is removed from the veins of the animal at the slaughterhouse. These watery solutions look like blood because they contain hemoglobin and myoglobin, which are also components of blood.
Looking back over the original replies, I'd have to say labdude had the right answer first.

I still lay claim to giving the first wrong answer, however. And that should count for something.
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  #23  
Old 08-14-2001, 06:49 AM
UncleBeer UncleBeer is offline
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Quote:
The water vapor that condenses on the inside of the packaging.
Ahhhh. I see, a condensate. I had visions of, well, condensed water. You know, a reduced volume.
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  #24  
Old 08-14-2001, 09:55 AM
Philster Philster is offline
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I work with people who think that the red stuff is "juice".

They also can't believe the little wholes in the ham slices are veins and arteries.

They also deny that they are eating muscles.

Just what do you think you are eating, folks? Like, when you eat a chicken wing....your like eating the wing of a chicken...veins and stuff...skin too.

VERY TRUE RESEARCH BELOW....

I KNOW THIS LEADS TO SOME CONFUSION: IF YOU READ THE INSTRUCTIONS ON A FROZEN PAKCAGE, ESPECIALLY CHICKEN, THE INSTRUCTIONS TELL YOU TO COOK THE MEAT UNTIL "THE JUICES RUN CLEAR"

People are nuts. I love people for this reason. People are stupid. I hate people for this reason.
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