Old 04-04-2001, 05:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 459
I was round a friends house the other day and I saw him take a steak out from the packet, chuck it in a saucepan and fry it for about 30 seconds each side before chucking it onto a plate and eating it. When I asked him if he worried about ever getting food poisoning he said "Don't worry about it, you don't even need to cook it at all. You can eat steak raw".

Is this true?
Old 04-04-2001, 05:19 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 1,562
I don't know about completely raw steak, but if you sear the outside you've probably killed off most of the germs. AFAIK, most of the "bad stuff" is on the outside, from outside contamination, and browning it will kill most of it.

The problem meats are things like ground hamburger- there, you have to cook the entire slab of meat, because the contaminates that were once only on the outside have been ground into the entire patty.

Old 04-04-2001, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 188
WAG--but I think that if the meat does not have any E-Coli
(sp?)or other bad little bacteria characters on it, you're golden...

Steak Tartar is just that...raw meat

Now it better be a pretty tender cut of beef, because it won't be broken down by the cooking process and you'll have a hell of a time chewing the thing. That's why steak Tartar is served ground up into small bits...because it is not usually easy to chew raw beef...
Old 04-04-2001, 05:30 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: In bed with your mom!
Posts: 4,127
I eat raw beef ever now and then.

The problem with raw hamburger from a store is all the other stuff that goes through the grinder that does have ecoli on it...like intestine bits and the such.

Not a nice disease to get. My mom got it after eating some raw store bought hamburger. Very nasty.
Old 04-04-2001, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Bigfork, Montana
Posts: 4,295
The definitive answer, IMHO, is that although you could eat raw steak without any (or very little) preparation you run a risk of ingesting foreign bacteria that could cause you serious digestive problems. It's a statistical game... did the butcher wash his hands after he used the restroom right before he handled your steak? Hmmm.

It all boils down to... Do you feel lucky today?
If I had to choose ONE word to describe myself it would be: Can't Follow Orders.
Old 04-04-2001, 05:51 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Pacific Grove, Calif
Posts: 17,493
Sure & you can eat fish raw too. Yummy!

Pork, no.

Beef Jerky is raw beef I think.
Old 04-04-2001, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,406
That reminds me of a funny story. My dad was eating at a restaurant and a rather loud, boisterous man came in and order a steak "blue rare."
The waitress said she hadn't heard of that before and the guy said to her, "Well honey, you put the steak in the pan, start up the stove and you let it go on that side until you hear the first sizzle. Then you flip it over and let 'er cook until you hear the second sizzle. Then you bring it on out to me."
So the waitress comes back shortly and *plonk*, drops the plate in front of him. On the plate is a very, very frozen steak. Apparently, they didn't get their steaks fresh and hence it was still a little tough. After they laughed about this a bit, she took it back and cooked it some more.

I'm pretty sure beef jerky is dried, seasoned beef, though; not raw.
Old 04-04-2001, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,631
I think Dolphinboy has it. What makes you sick isn't the uncooked flesh, it's the unkilled buggies that are hitchiking on it. Heck, salad can give you the squirts if the poor slob who harvested it, packaged it, un-packaged it and put it on display, bagged it at the grocery store, chopped it up or served it to you didn't wash his hands first.

Unless the animal had some kind of disease that you could contract by eating its flesh...

Foot-and-mouth? Not in humans.
BSE? Nope.
Kuru? Cecil says no.

BTW handy, Beef jerky's not raw beef. It's made from the skin of people who died from overexposure to tanning beds .
Old 04-04-2001, 06:28 PM
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 18,786
I eat raw beef quite often and havn't gotten sick, not to say I won't. Beef is the only meat that I will eat raw though.
Old 04-04-2001, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 12,254
Beef jerky is dried and/or smoked meat. It is not raw meat. There are some safety concerns regarding its manufacture, but none of those concerns relate to the fact that it is raw meat, because it isn't raw meat. Here's an FDA page on the topic:

I also found this interesting page provided by the FDA:

It's a fact sheet about food safety for people with AIDS, who are obviously highly susceptible to bacterial infections. It says:

Always order food well-done; if it served medium to rare, send it back. A good way to determine doneness is to cut into the center of a steak, hamburger, or other piece of meat. If it is the least bit pink or bloody, it needs more cooking. Fish should be flaky, not rubbery, when cut.
So apparently it is at least somewhat risky to even order your steak rare, much less raw. I had always heard (this is my opinion, as opposed to being an actual researched fact) that as long as a steak was warmed through the center, it was okay to eat even if it was practically rare. I'd also heard what some previous posters said, which is that it's the outside that harbors the bacteria, so if you cook the outside of the steak, you're okay. Ground beef is more dangerous because the outside is ground in with all the other parts.

However, I couldn't find anything to corroborate the preceding paragraph online, so in my opinion its veracity is up in the air.
Old 04-04-2001, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 256
handy had it

Beef jerky is, for all intents and purposes, raw meat, since it is (at least in my experience) made by drying slabs of raw meat at temperatures under 200 degrees F. You're not going to kill too many bugs that way, and though the meat is dried, it's not devoid of moisture (unless you overdo it!).
Old 04-04-2001, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 256
touche, MsWhatsit, but now i'm really confused. if 160 degrees is enough to kill bacteria, why do we, say, boil water to purify it or cook pork at 325 (approx., whatever it says on the back of the bacon container)?
Old 04-04-2001, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 12,254
This site says that the recommended temperature for cooking pork is 160 degrees. The highest temperature recommended is 180, which is for whole chicken or turkey.
Old 04-04-2001, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 5
BickBryo- you have to cook meat at a higher temp. because air doesn't transmit heat well. It takes a higher temperature to cook the meat in a reasonable time.

All- I eat raw meat all the time. Cut off a bit while BBQing it, tasty. I feel safe even with raw hamburger, since my family raises our own beef cattle, and we personally know our butcher. Commercial beef, on the other hand, I will eat if it is fully cooked. I rarely eat it anyway, so it's not a problem.
Old 04-04-2001, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 256
Fascinating, MsWhatsit. For some reason, I always have associated the boiling point of water with the dying point of most nasty bacteria. Not that I didn't make jerky in my oven and risk it anyway... that stuff's tasty!

Still and all, there's SOMETHING strange going on here because you cited that one page that warns against eating any meat that is pink in the center. Are we to deduce that rare and medium-rare meats do not make it up to 160 degrees? That seems counterintuitive.

catholicguy: I don't quite get what you mean. We were never talking about cooking meat underwater...
Old 04-04-2001, 07:28 PM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 51,521
Mmmm...steak, medium rare...nice and juicy.

Not too bloody...just nice and tender and a touch pink.

Now THAT's good eatin'!
Old 04-04-2001, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 12,254
Originally posted by BickByro

Still and all, there's SOMETHING strange going on here because you cited that one page that warns against eating any meat that is pink in the center. Are we to deduce that rare and medium-rare meats do not make it up to 160 degrees? That seems counterintuitive.

I believe that the caution on that page against eating meats that are bloody (i.e., rare or medium rare) may be because that information is designed for AIDS patients, who must be extra-cautious about what they consume. I'm not sure what bacteria would remain in a rare steak that would be safe for non-AIDS patients to eat but not AIDS patients, but that's my only hypothesis.
Old 04-04-2001, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 21
I was over at the BBQ Pit and I saw VoiceofReason chew up massive_attack and spit him out,I guess he wasn't cooked enough.
I work in the meat industry and see first hand how carcasses are handled. It is not uncommon for feces to go undetected and therefore able to contaminate even unground meat. Myself, I do like beef on the medium side but thoroughly cook pork and chicken.
Old 04-04-2001, 09:11 PM
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 149
You should merge this with the manbeef thread
Can you eat man raw or do you need to cook him?
Old 04-05-2001, 12:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 5,665
I heard that pork is just as safe to eat rare as beef these days, but it's taking a while for society to adjust, for years you had to be extra careful when cooking pig meat. You can order pork chops at Outback Steakhouse at less than well-done, my wife was kinda surprised when they asked her how she wanted hers cooked.
Old 04-05-2001, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Ontari-ari-ari-o
Posts: 1,031
Medium Hamburgers

There is a local chain here that proudly serves its burgers at medium doneness. Apparently they pasteurize their beef before grinding to kill off the bad bugs.

We had been eating our steaks medium-well for years when I was served a steak that was about 2 inches thick and was red and bloody inside...what a beautiful experience. Now we go for rare to medium-rare.

IIRC, blue rare is named that because after cooking, you are still able to see the blue ink from the stamp on the outside of the side of beef (from grading).

Chicago is charred on the outside, but cool on the inside, right?
Old 04-05-2001, 07:37 AM
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Location: London, UK
Posts: 93
Originally posted by silent_rob
That reminds me of a funny story. My dad was eating at a restaurant and a rather loud, boisterous man came in and order a steak "blue rare."
Called a "bleu" from the French, the colour IIRC comes from a very swift turning in hot butter.
Old 04-05-2001, 10:12 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Staring blankly at my GPS
Posts: 11,874
A recipe for Steak Tartare

One Cecil's little elves also mentions it here.
Old 04-05-2001, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 256
MsWhatsit, you nailed it. What bacteria present in less-than-well-done meat is harmful to AIDS patients but perfectly acceptable for the rest of us? My only guess is that it's a percentages game (ie if even one bacterium survives and you've got AIDS, you might be screwed). But that doesn't even make sense in light of the "ALL bacteria die at 160 degrees" data you cited to begin with.

Old 04-05-2001, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 5
Let me restate:

Since air doesn't transfer heat very well, the air temp has to be around 325 in order to trasfer enough heat to the meat to raise its temperature to around 160.

It's a problem of energy transfer.
Old 04-05-2001, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 10,490
. I'm not sure what bacteria would remain in a rare steak that would be safe for non-AIDS patients to eat but not AIDS patients, but that's my only hypothesis
IANAP(athologist), So this is open to correction by anybody smarter than me.

But basically What I understand is this. The big problem with raw steak is E. Coli obviously. There are lots of strains of helpful E. Coli that run around our bodies, doing good things, but there is one particular bad strain that is also running around the world. In eating non sterilized meat, you run a decent chance of getting some Bad E. coli. With an immune system running at full speed, the body quickly reacts to the Bacteria, and destroys it either immediatly unnoticed, or after a mild infection(which both probably happen fairly often). Not being a doctor, I'm not able to go into numbers, but a healthy adult generally doesn't have much to worry about from raw beef(mmmmm Carpaccio), except possibly a half-day case of the runs and feeling bad, which most likely wouldn't even been recognized as being poisioned.

However someone with a compromised immune system(like an AIDS Patient) or young kid(whose probably doesn't have the ability to react quickly enough) may not be able to fight off small amounts of the bacteria, an has a decent threat of becoming a full-scale infection. IIRC the Bacteria releases a toxin that causes intestinal bleeding, and can be fatal, especially in babies who don't have much resiliance yet.
Old 04-05-2001, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 256
catholicguy---that makes more sense, but in the case of, say, the bacon i've got at home that says "cook at 325 degrees," we're not talking about an oven, we're talking about a frying pan. so it's not the air that's doing most of the heat transfer anyway.

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