This is in India. I purchase fresh meat (chicken/beef) from the shop and sometimes keep it in the freezer until I'm ready to pressure-cook it on some other day.

I noticed that after thawing it in the fridge for a day, there was a red liquid that collects at the bottom of the container. I assumed the freezing process squeezes the meat and that causes the blood in it to flow out (silly me). This answer says it's myoglobin. Wikipedia says...

The released myoglobin is filtered by the kidneys but is toxic to the renal tubular epithelium and so may cause acute kidney injury

...but I'm hoping that's myoglobin in the bloodstream, and not a part of digestion.

I searched for research papers to check for safety of consuming myoglobin, and came across this paper that says...

As internal cooking temperature increased soluble myoglobin content decreased with a corresponding increase in percent myoglobin denatured. Percent myoglobin denaturation values ranged from 0 (raw chops) to 77.30% in mutton chops cooked to 79 °C internal temperature.

Couldn't find much else on the safety aspect, but since it gets denatured, I'm assuming it'd be safe.

However, all this literature appears to refer to the myoglobin within the meat that gives it a flavour and juiciness. What about the liquid at the bottom of the container that contains myoglobin? Is it useful to retain it or is it better to just drain it away since it is separated from the meat already?

  • The “impossible burger” adds Heme to their burgers to make them “meaty” not sure if it’s the same thing.
    – mroll
    Dec 28, 2018 at 20:29

3 Answers 3


The quote in the Wikipedia article you link to:

The released myoglobin is filtered by the kidneys but is toxic to the renal tubular epithelium and so may cause acute kidney injury

is myoglobin released due to Rhabdomyolysis, so your own muscles affected by this disease can cause kidney injury, not the meat (also muscle tissue) you're eating.

Having said that, I haven't found any useful purpose for the liquid that gets separated from frozen meat. I've tried:

  • pouring it op top of the meat when cooking
  • adding it to gravy
  • using it as stock
  • ...

and it coagulates, doesn't give any good taste so I consider it not very useful, so nowadays, I throw it down the sink when someone gives me a piece of frozen meat to cook.

Note: Freezing changes the texture and taste of the meat, and it's easy to get fresh meat where I live

  • May I know why you say it is not useful?
    – Nav
    Dec 28, 2018 at 13:36
  • 1
    My apologies for not being clear: answer edited. 0:-)
    – Fabby
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:02

My experience, so just opinion, myoblobin will turn to the gelled like, gooey substance under heat. Not a pleasant texture, and not for me a pleasing flavor either. That is one its own so I tend to discard any which pools around the meat. Also, if attempting to sear meat in a pan which is not hot enough, the liquid from excess myoblobin can add to the steaming effect and lead to lower quality pale grey protein.

The other side though, small amounts I have found help in creating a more flavorful crusty sear, provided your heat is high enough. Therefor, I myself tend to not wash or pat dry, or if I do I will then salt and allow the meat to sit and dry out a little more to help with the sear.

  • Thanks for the answer as I don't wash the meat neither but throw the liquid itself down the sink. (My answer updated)
    – Fabby
    Dec 30, 2018 at 9:43

Continue to cook the liquid and strain the then-gray solids. Brown those solids in a pan and throw into whatever: Ramen, salads, etc. It usually has salt from the food and the Maillard-effect flavor from the browning so, once dried, it can be a terrific "secret spice." Umami, salt, iron and protein.

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