Can You Eat Raw Steak? (And What Happens if You Do?)

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Maybe you’ve been to a restaurant with a family member and seen them order a steak that is exceptionally rare.

But how rare is too rare? Is raw steak safe to eat?

If you’re asking these questions, we’ve got the answers!

In this article, we will cover the risks of consuming raw meat as well as some tips to keeping yourself safe if you do decide to indulge.

can you eat raw steak

Can You Eat Raw Steak?

Eating raw meat can be perfectly safe if you take a few precautions like picking the right meat and preparing it properly. In most cases, this means that you may need to go beyond your local supermarket meat aisle to find meat that is safe to eat raw.

While you may be concerned about contracting a food-borne illness from eating raw steak, keep reading to find out how it can be prepared deliciously and safely whether you are dining out or at home.

Table of Contents

Can Raw Steak Be Eaten Safely?

Most people would probably cringe at the thought of eating a raw steak since it is clear that certain harmful bacteria can live on the surface. Additionally, you have likely heard many times to ensure that your meats are cooked to a certain temperature to avoid contamination.

Eating raw meats can sometimes mean that you run the risk of exposing yourself to these harmful bacteria that could then wreak havoc on your digestive system. This could result in some unpleasant side effects that could have been avoided.

It is, however, a known fact that there are several dishes that you can order that are ultimately raw beef, steak, or other meat. These dishes are seen as a delicacy and can be quite delicious and expensive.

If prepared and taken care of properly, you can eat raw steak safely, if you choose to do so. Keep in mind that you still run the risk of exposing yourself to food-borne illnesses due to various bacteria that are on the raw meat.

Is Raw Steak More Nutritious Than Cooked Steak?

It is well known that steak and other forms of beef are highly nutritious when prepared appropriately. But, does this same nutritional value apply when you are talking about a raw steak?

Beef products provide humans with high-quality protein and other nutrients that are needed for daily survival. With a good amount of protein, fats, and calories, it can provide you with the nutrients you need to get through your daily tasks.

Some studies have shown that it is possible that consuming raw steak can provide you with the same if not better nutrients than its cooked counterparts. This is because many believe that when the meat is cooked, it can lose some of the nutrients that beef is known for.

While it is still widely debated whether a raw steak is more nutritious than a cooked steak, many people enjoy eating it. Keep in mind that whether you choose to eat your steak raw or cooked, the nutritional value you get out of it depends entirely on how it is prepared and taken care of before preparation.

Health Concerns of Eating Raw Steak

It is important to note that while many people enjoy eating raw steak dishes from time to time, there is a high probability that they could be exposed to harmful bacteria that can lead to stomach upset. In some cases, the severity of the food poisoning can become more serious quickly.

If you are curious about the various health concerns that exist when it comes to eating raw steak, keep reading.

Parasites

In some cases, during the slaughtering process, an animal’s intestines can be exposed to the various other parts of the meat. If the animal had parasites, then they would then be transferred onto the meat parts that are meant for human consumption.

When this happens, as you most likely know, parasites bore themselves into the meat instead of sitting on the surface. If this beef is then sold to butchers and other markets and then purchased by an individual, the risk of exposure is extremely high.

If this is the case and you choose to prepare your meat using one of the recipes for raw steak, you may then be contaminated with the parasites. Keep in mind that parasites typically grow at a rapid rate, so what may be small can then turn into a bigger problem in no time.

When you are exposed to a parasite, this can cause many unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, and more. In some cases, depending on the severity, these parasites can cause high fever and worse.

E. Coli

This bacteria can be found in the intestines of animals and humans and can live without causing harm for quite some time. However, in some instances, e. Coli can cause many unpleasant symptoms.

Again, if the animal’s intestines or other contaminated organs were nicked and then exposed to other parts of the meat, then they can contract E. Coli. This can then be transferred to those who consume the meat.

When the steak is cooked to recommended temperatures, however, the risk is reduced since the high heat can kill off any bacteria that exists. If you choose to prepare your steak to be consumed raw, you run the risk of getting E. Coli.

Salmonella

Salmonella is a bacteria that often lives in the digestive tract of animals without causing them significant harm. However, when this is exposed to humans, it can cause various symptoms of food poisoning.

When you cook your steak to the recommended temperatures, in most cases any bacteria is removed and poses no risk. However, when eating raw steak, you run the risk of exposing yourself to Salmonella which can result in mild to severe cases of food poisoning.

While the exposure can cause some unpleasant symptoms, the bigger risk is that Salmonella typically can be transferred to other parts of your body. The bacteria can be easily transmitted to your bloodstream, bones, and other organs which can then cause severe illness.

Listeria

Listeria is another bacteria that can cause you to become infected and as a result, quite sick from the contamination. This is a bacteria that is often found in cows, poultry, and even in soil, in some cases.

With Listeria, unlike other bacteria, you will not experience the side effects or even know you’ve been infected for about 24 hours after consuming contaminated beef. Once the bacteria has infected your body, you can experience mild to severe symptoms.

In some cases, the bacteria can cause nausea and vomiting, fever, and body aches. For those with compromised immune systems or pregnant women, the symptoms can turn extremely severe and has even been known to cause miscarriages or preterm deliveries.

fact about the safety of eating raw steak

How Can You Eat Raw Steak Safely?

Although many unpleasant infections can occur if you eat raw steak, you can eat raw steak safely. In many countries and cultures, eating raw meats is more of the norm than eating cooked steak.

Wondering how you can safely eat raw steak? Keep reading to learn some tips that can keep you safe.

Choose Your Source Carefully

When it comes to preparing and eating raw steak, the first thing you should know is that choosing a source for your purchase should be well thought out. This is because raw steak that is carefully selected can help to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Most restaurants and others that prepare raw steak dishes often do not shop at the local grocery store for their meat selections. This is because while the meat there is mostly great for other recipes, you will need better quality for raw dishes.

Many studies have shown that choosing a reputable source for your beef selections can reduce the number of harmful bacteria that you are exposed to. This means that if chosen properly, you can prepare and eat your raw steak without running the risk of food poisoning.

Most people recommend that you get your beef cuts from a butcher directly so that you are sure that it is coming from one animal. When you begin to mix meat from various sources, you have a higher risk of contracting a food-borne illness.

If you are planning to prepare a raw steak dish, you may want to consider using beef that has come from cattle that has been grass-fed and organic. This is because they have not been exposed to certain chemicals and antibiotics that others have.

Store Your Steak Properly

After you have purchased your steak from a reputable source, you will need to ensure that you are storing it properly. Keeping your raw steak refrigerated at a temperature that is below 40℉ is recommended to ward off as many bacteria as possible.

Many people, especially those who do not plan to use the beef right away, will immediately toss the meat into the freezer thinking it can extend the life of the meat. The truth is, freezing raw beef can reduce the quality the longer it stays frozen.

Additionally, storing the meat in the refrigerator at the proper temperature will expose you to fewer bacteria and toxins. Keep in mind, however, that the longer you keep it stored, even at cooler temperatures, the risk of certain harmful bacteria growth is significantly high.

Watch Out For Steak that has Gone Bad

As previously mentioned, it is a best practice to prepare and eat your raw steak as soon as possible after purchasing it. This is because the longer it sits, even in the refrigerator, the more exposure it has to bacteria that can cause it to turn bad.

Remember that when choosing to eat raw steak dishes, it is important to do so while it is extremely fresh. This can reduce the risk of you getting sick from harmful bacteria and other pathogens that could develop.

Knowing whether your steak has gone bad is a mostly simple task to determine. In most cases, the color of the steak is the first indication that it may not be as fresh as you may want it to be, especially if you are planning to prepare it raw.

Additionally, the texture can develop a slimy residue that sits on top and is not only visible but also can be felt. If your steak has a slimy texture, chances are the meat has gone bad and should not be consumed.

Follow the Recipes Exactly

Since eating raw steak can be a risky venture, it is recommended that you only do so at a restaurant with a chef that is trained in meat handling procedures. This is because if proper care is not taken, you could end up extremely sick.

It is also suggested that you do not try to reproduce the recipes at home unless you are trained in meat handling procedures. Any improperly prepared raw steak could result in you having very unpleasant side effects for some time.

If you do insist on preparing raw steak dishes at home then you should make sure that you are following recommended recipes and steps to ensure the safety of yourself and anyone else that is dining with you. This means that you should do your research on recipes and ensure that you are following the instructions carefully.

What are Some Raw Steak Dishes to Try?

Although eating raw steak can come with its downsides, many people enjoy the various recipes from all over the world. It may not be wildly popular in the United States or the UK, but there are plenty of other countries that serve raw steak dishes that you may want to try.

Read on below to find out about some of the most popular raw steak dishes out there.

  • Steak Tartare

This raw beef dish was made popular in the early part of the twentieth century in France and was served with tartare sauce, thus the name. Made from raw chopped or minced beef, it is typically served on a slice of toast with a raw egg yolk on top. 

  • Ossenworst

This unique dish features raw steak that is spiced and then pushed into a sausage and then cut thinly. While this features not only beef but also sausage, you tend to get a hearty flavor of the sausage mixed with the spiciness of the beef.

  • Pittsburgh Rare Steak

Even though eating the raw steak is not widely available in the United States, this All-American dish is sure to change your mind about raw beef. This steak is seared and charred on the outside at a high temperature and then left raw on the inside.

  • Beef Carpaccio

This raw beef dish is an Italian appetizer that is served in thin slices typically on crackers. In some cases, depending on the restaurant you are dining in, the Carpaccio is served with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice and topped with capers and onions.

While this is not an exhaustive list, these are some of the most common types of steak dishes that you can get in many restaurants around the world. Some people enjoy trying these dishes in their kitchen.

What Are the Signs that Raw Steak has Gone Bad?

Choosing to eat raw steak is typically more of a personal choice than anything else. It is important to keep in mind, however, that even with the most careful precautions you still run the risk of contracting food poisoning.

Many people get sick from eating raw beef due to not following the proper preparations when they decide to make it themselves at home. In some cases, this means that they did not use a reputable source for their steak selection. It is also important to ensure that you are using steak that has not gone bad.

Keep reading to learn about the most common signs that raw steak has gone bad.

  • Slimy texture
  • Foul odor
  • Bitter or sour taste
  • The coloring that is off

If you suspect that your raw steak has gone bad, you may want to toss it out, just to be safe and keep you healthy. The best thing you can do is prepare your raw steak dish soon after purchasing it to avoid harmful bacteria from growing on it.

Final Thoughts on Raw Steak

At the end of the day, while you can certainly eat raw steak if you choose to do so, you will just need to ensure that you are using all the precautions that are advised. This includes making sure that the beef is of good quality.

You will also need to decide whether you are going to attempt to make a raw steak dish yourself, or if you would rather stick with a professional chef’s dish. Most people recommend that you stick to eating it in a restaurant where you know someone who knows what they are doing is preparing it.

One of the most important things to remember when planning to make raw steak dishes at home is to always check your beef before using it. The last thing you want to do is add the risk of the meat being bad along with the risks you take eating the raw meat in the first place.

Wondering what other ways there are to tell if your raw steak has gone bad? Read our article on How to Tell if Steak is Bad or Spoiled to learn more information.

Hope Davis

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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