Is there anything I can do with beef that wasn't allowed to hang and drain for the proper amount of time?

Jeannine Schweihofer from MSU Extension answers your questions about meat quality.

Is there anything I can do with beef that was butchered, packaged, and frozen but was not allowed to hang and drain for the proper amount of time? When I take out a pound of hamburger to thaw, I end up draining off 1/4-1/2 cup of blood from it before I cook it.

The blood appearing liquid in your hamburger package is actually not blood, but is myoglobin. Nearly all of the blood is drained from a carcass within the first few minutes of the harvest process. Myoglobin is the heme-iron containing protein found in muscle that stores oxygen and gives meat its color. There is actually a lot of protein content and beneficial nutrients in this liquid. It sometimes is also called purge (blood appearing liquid in a meat package). It is safe to cook and eat this liquid with the rest of the ground beef. The amount of purge will depend on packaging type, as well as storage time and temperature, and method of defrosting for frozen meat. Approved methods of thawing meat include in the refrigerator, under moving cold water or in a microwave. It is also safe to cook the meat from frozen and reduce the amount of purge.

Additional information on myoglobin and how it relates to meat color can be found here.

Jeannine Schweihofer is a meat quality educator with MSU extension.


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