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After cooking a beef bottom round rump roast, a red coloring is covering, and penetrating, the meat.

The roast was purchased at a reputable grocery chain and properly refrigerated for two days before use. The raw meat appeared normal, was placed in a seasoned, 10-year-old, cast-iron pan, and cooked four hours au jus.

When the cooked roast was cut, the inside of the meat was the correct color and smelled appropriately. However, covering the outside was a strange red coloring penetrating 1/2" into the entire roast; top, sides, and bottom. The coloring did not affect the flavor. Could someone please tell me what this coloring is? I have never experienced anything like this in my 50 years in the kitchen.

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You don't happen to have a picture, do you? There are situations in which meat will turn pink (like corned beef or smoked brisket), but I'm not sure if that's what you mean by red. –  Jefromi Sep 23 '13 at 1:11
Can you elaborate on the cooking method? According to Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking", when meat is cooked for an extended time below 120˚F or brought up to temperature slowly the myoglobin remains intact and there will be a distinct red color throughout the meat. –  Didgeridrew Sep 23 '13 at 16:39

1 Answer 1

That red liquid is water mixed with a protein from the meat called myoglobin.

I ran into a similar situation when cooking steaks a few months ago. My daughter thought that the steaks we bought were covered in blood.

Here is an article that talks all about it.

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While meat does leak liquid proteins when raw, the situation the OP describes suggests something else. First, after baking, the still liquid myoglobin is concentrated in the inside of the roast, and the outside is greyish because the "outer shell" of the meat cooks more thoroughly. Second, this liquid is very common in meat, and if the OP has 50 years of experience, they will have seen it many times before. Both arguments together make me think that they are talking about something different. –  rumtscho Oct 3 '13 at 20:20
Yeah, there's no way this is myoglobin - any significant cooking will turn it a cooked color (not red), and this was cooked four hours. See also "Why is meat red?" for a more detailed explanation of the coloring myoglobin can cause. –  Jefromi Dec 2 '13 at 21:04

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