Getting Blood from a steak

Written by: SphynxCatVP
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Those of you who deliberately don't eat meat probably won't want to read this. The rest of you, help yourself!

There are a few alternatives for when you don't have a regular donor.

One of them is a nice rare steak. Ideally, said rare steak should be of the grassfed, or at least organic, variety rather than your typical cornfed variety. The nutrients seem to be better in the grassfeds and organics (which helps a LOT more than you may think).

It can be expensive, but it can also make the difference between maintaining control and "vamping out" or losing control in a potentially dangerous situation. You will notice I'm specifically NOT claiming it a "suitable" replacement - merely, like fast food, a way to tide you over in times when, for one reason or another, you're without a donor.

Technically speaking

What you get out of a steak is not actually blood, but more properly called intra-cellular or interstitial fluids. It's still proteins, however, and THAT seems to be an important key. That it's drinkable when your stomach is feeling finicky is just an added bonus, heh.

To a degree, yes, it does look like blood, and for purposes of this article I will continue to call it such, only because it's easier to say. Just keep this point in mind.

I've seen postings from people who've complained about reactions from eating raw meat, whether they feel yucky, get sick, or whatever. While eating it raw IS an acquired taste in and of itself, you should know that raw meat can, and often does, have various types of bacteria on it, and thus the possibility for food poisoning is always a risk if the outside isn't thoroughly cooked. (If you are used to eating rare or raw meats you will have less of a problem than if you are used to eating more thoroughly cooked cuts of meat. The body has to be used to dealing with potential bacterial overgrowth.)

In any case, a small amount of cooking will take care of the bacteria problem AND allow you to get even more blood from it than if you tried it raw. I'm going to assume most people can figure out how to eat a are instructions if you want to, ah, bleed the steak instead.

The only caveat I have for my instructions here is that I've been cooking with an older - 20 or so years old - electric oven - if you have gas, a newer or high-end electric oven or some other cooking method, your cooking times WILL VARY from any that I may have listed here.

You will need:

  • A sharp knife, either no serrations or very small serrations - no bread knives
  • cutting board that keeps the meat at an angle or has a drain trench around the edge
  • cup of some kind (no aluminum, pewter or lead) - CLEAN ceramic coffee mug works fine
  • optional: salt - kosher salt idea, but sea salt works too - iodized salt just tastes weird
  • ...and of course, the steak... :)

Types of Meat

Preferentially, I get beef. Grassfed and organic is a serious preference, I'll get a lesser cut in grassfed over a better cut in typical cornfed varieties. If there's no label specifying "grassfed" or "grainfed", then it's cornfed.

Pork - in some areas of the country and world - still has a risk of trichinosis, which is a parasite.Chicken, obviously, has the risk of salmonella, even in better parts of the country and world.

Beef, if you know the source and trust the handling / raising methods, is a better option in my opinion. (So's ostrich if you can find it, but (1) it's hard to find, and (2) it's horribly expensive when you do find it. But it IS a red meat bird, rather than a white meat like chicken.)

Find yourself a halfway decent cut of meat. The example I'm going to use here is a flank steak, they're usually around an inch thick. If you have it, spend the money for one labeled "organic", "grain fed", or ideally, "grass-fed" rather than anything without any of those labels - this reduces the risk of random bacterial and other problems, since any farm using those labels are more stringent about their quality, and "grass fed" means there are no cast-off meat parts added into the cattle feed.

Turn the oven on to "Bake" at 500 degrees. "Broil" tends to mean the burner coils stay on, as opposed to shutting off when they reach temperature. (You can use the "broil" setting, but you have to REALLY pay attention - the "bake" setting allows for some "oops" factor for people not used to doing this.)

Once it reaches temperature, put the meat in. You only need to cook this to rare, but depending on the cut and thickness of the meat, the time it takes will vary, especially if you keep opening the oven door to check. :)

You can use the following "squish test"

Let your hand dangle and shake it gently to relax it. Touch the side of your hand between thumb and index finger. The muscle will feel like rare meat - soft and wobbly, yielding to the slightest pressure. The meat will be cool and red in the center.

Stretch out your hand and tense your fingers. Touch the muscle again and you will feel the springy firmness that develops as meat cooks. Medium steaks have the same resistance. The meat will be warm and light pink in the middle.

Well Done
Now ball your hand into a fist and touch the muscle. It should feel hard and unyielding, with all springiness gone. When the surface of a steak feels the same way, the meat is well done. The meat will be warm and brown all the way through. If you've gotten to this point for a steak you intend to squeeze, it's hopeless, there's no blood left in the meat. :(

Or, Use a Meat Thermometer
You can also use a meat thermometer - one of those electric ones would be ideal, I think, that has the sensor that stays in the meat, and the unit it attaches to showing the temperature that stays outside the oven. If you have a meat thermometer, you're aiming for 120 degrees farenheight or a little less. If you want to be fancy about it and "let it rest" for five minutes or so before working on it, then you're aiming for 115 degrees farenheight or a little less. (When you pull meat out of the oven, there's still residual heat that cooks it for around 5 minutes. If you dig in right away, then the extra sitting-and-cooking time effect is minimized.)

I try to err on the "rare" side - use less cooking time - because if it's not done enough, you can always warm it up some more...but you can't take medium well and turn it back into rare.

Once it's done, pull it out and do a test slice about an inch in from the end. Cut against the grain (on a flank steak you're usually cutting across the short direction) AND at an angle. This gives you more surface area to bleed the meat from. If the meat is cooked perfectly, you'll see a ring of brown around the edges of the slice with a red-to-pink center - not quite as red as rare, but not pink either. Also, the internal visible texture should match the outside visible texture.

If the inside still has the clingy texture of raw meat, then it ought to be cooked just a little longer in order to be able to squeeze the blood out. Or, you can eat it as is, and skip the squeezing stage. :)

If the test slice looks ok, start slicing the rest of the meat. As you slice, you'll need to periodically pour off the blood that's collected - this is where that cup comes in handy. :) Once you've got the meat all sliced up and the blood poured off, if what you've collected so far isn't enough you can always squeeze that pile of meat that you've just finished creating. Squeezing each slice individually works better than grabbing a handful.

I've estimated that a pound of flank steak will net me an easy 1/4 cup up or so of blood when cooked and cut in this manner, and up to twice that when squeezed as well. (In my opinion, squeezing the meat renders it pretty much inedible for me outside of using it in recipes since I *only* like my steaks rare, but it all depends on what you plan to do with the meat afterward and whether you plan to eat it.)

If the beef blood is too bland (which will most likely be the case if you're used to having donors) you can add a little kosher or sea salt (which I highly recommend over plain or iodized table salt) to the blood to give it a little more flavor. In the amount mentioned above, 2-3 twists of a sea salt grinder and stirred around with a spoon should flavor it nicely.

No, it's not the same as having a regular donor give you blood, but it ill help keep you sane.