Can You Eat Raw Steak? Is It Even Safe?

September 16, 2022

Raw beef steak can be safe to eat IF (with emphasis) they meet some guidelines. But, it's true that you should not eat pork or chicken steak, whether raw or rare. Salmonella bacteria and his crew are the killjoys for weight loss enthusiasts who like the idea of raw steak diets.

As a chef, pitmaster, and meat health enthusiast, I can assure you that you can eat raw steak. But it all comes down to the part of the animal it comes from, the processing, and where you're getting the raw steak from. These are variables that I can't vouch for. I wouldn’t ask you to ditch cooked meat for raw meat. The downsides far outweigh the benefits.  

So, should you be worried when tasting or eating raw steak dishes? Even if you still want to go ahead with it, what kind of steak can be eaten raw? In this article, you'll find answers to many of your questions!

Disclaimer: Consuming raw or undercooked beef or other meats may increase your risk of foodborne poisoning and illness, especially if you have some medical conditions. 

Can you eat raw steak

Can You Eat Steak Rare or Raw?

If you get a good cut of beef from the butcher or wherever you are, you can eat rare or raw steak dishes. However, the complete opposite applies to steak from pork and poultry! 

None of these can be eaten raw or even rare. The risk of getting sick with salmonella and other microorganisms would be too high here.

Beef steak can be taken raw or rare. And they're rich in enzymes, proteins, and Vitamin B, and your immune system will thank you. But opinions are mixed here. Some nutritionists say these benefits are UNPROVEN

Also, there are some caveats:

Guidelines to a Raw Steak Diet

First rule: avoid buying meat that has already been ground. 

Instead, get some good cuts of beef (tenderloin, sirloin, etc.) from your butcher. Tell him you want to make a steak tartare so he can offer you his freshest meat. Then, chop the meat yourself using a very clean knife. 

Grinding the meat yourself is really the best way to avoid the spread of bacteria since it is during the passage through the grinder that they tend to increase.

It's needless to say but it would be best if you didn't choose old steaks that are out of date. That's how you get sick after getting loads of salmonella, E. Coli, and staphylococcus aureus into your system when you eat raw steak dishes.

What Happens if You Eat a Little Raw Steak?

Nutritionists say that you're exposed to salmonella infections by eating raw meat – even a small amount. You could get sick and develop symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. 

These microorganisms have an incubation period of 12 to 72 hours, and their infections can last for four to seven days

If you suspect that you have an infection following a rare or raw steak consumption, then I think you have to see the doctor. 

Eating Raw Steak: The Most Important Things in a Nutshell

Steak contains important proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. 

However, the everyday raw beef from the butcher stand is particularly often contaminated with pathogens that are supposed to be eliminated with cooking. 

You can eat raw steak safely if certain hygiene standards are observed.    

But I don't recommend this for pregnant women. The risk of getting ill, being infected with the toxoplasma parasite, and harming the baby is higher here.

Otherwise, raw beef dishes are particularly rich in the important nerve vitamins niacin, vitamins B1, B2, and B12. Raw beef has 30% more Vitamin B12 than the one fried, for example.    

Raw Beef Steaks Marinated and Ready to Cook

What Kind of Steak Can Be Eaten Raw?

Some beef steaks are safe for eating raw or rare as beef contains less bacterial contamination except for the outside. 

So if you want to consider eating raw steak, choose muscle cuts, and if you want the outermost section of the whole cut of beef, I recommend searing the outside for two minutes on each side. 

Well-known dishes with raw steak are, for example: 

  • Beef carpaccio: Beef carpaccio is made from raw beef fillet. Carpaccio is an Italian appetizer made with thinly sliced ​​beef.
  • Sushi: Sushi is a Japanese dish made with raw fish.
  • Amsterdam ossenworst: Amsterdam ossenworst is an Amsterdam specialty of raw sausage often made from ox meat. 
  • Mett rolls: The Mettbrötchen with onions is a German specialty that contains raw pork. 
  • Ceviche: Ceviche is a Peruvian dish made with raw fish, onion, and lemon.
  • Steak tartare: Then there's the king of raw steak dish, the steak tartare, which is my favorite. This involves slices of raw minced steak with raw egg yolk. 

Can You Only Eat Raw Meat?

If you're sure of the source and hygiene of the meat, you can eat raw beef made at home as a single dish. Advocates of raw meat say it is easily digestible and absorbed in the body.

However, nutritionists disapprove of the idea of eating just one kind of food but taking a varied diet. Raw steak is high in several nutrients but may not provide all the vital nutrients the body needs.

What About Eating Raw Steak in a Carnivore Diet?

The principle of the carnivore diet is well known and usually leads to rapid weight loss: a lot of one food - in this case, meat - is eaten, and other food groups are not on the menu at all.

No fruit or vegetables, no grain: with this so-called carnivore diet, you eat only animal flesh. Everything that has run, swum, or flown ends on your plate. But hygiene and quality are what you have to watch out for!

If the diet is not quite as strict, butter, eggs, cheese, and dairy products are allowed. 

Followers of the carnivore diet are convinced that they get all the necessary nutrients from their meat meals. 

However, nutrition experts agree that only eating raw beef dishes is unhealthy. According to Healthline, the carnivore diet helps with weight loss, and the nutrition quality is top-notch. But it's rated 0 for whole body health. 

When you consider that a carnivore diet, which can involve cooked steak is not great for health, consuming raw beef can be worse. 

While a potato or cabbage soup diet will at least provide adequate nutrients, eating raw beef meat for an extended period of time can have dangerous health consequences.

The environment also suffers from the high consumption of meat. Meat has a poor ecological balance, and by limiting meat consumption, you would save a lot of CO₂. 

Think about it. Overconsumption means more commercialization of livestock animals. Animals are bred in factory farming, and animal welfare is ignored. 

Steak Dining

Can You Eat Raw Ground Beef?

It's not recommended to eat raw minced beef from the store, as it may contain harmful, even deadly, bacteria.

But why?

The surface of a piece of meat contains thousands of microorganisms. Some are harmless and others harmful, containing pathogens like E. coli, a pathogenic bacterium. 

The most famous strain of this bacterium, O157:H7, is particularly virulent. It produces a toxin causing severe food poisoning that can cause death in certain risk groups. It is called hamburger disease.

When butchers make minced beef, all parts of the muscle are ground down, including the surface of the meat. Nor are the best parts used.

So the minced beef mixture then becomes a soup of microorganisms and could also contain E. coli O157:H7

However, if this beef is used in a burger, that's okay. These bacteria will all be destroyed during cooking (this one needs to be medium, rare ground beef is definitely not recommended).

How is it that we can eat beef tartare without getting sick?

So, for the Tartare?

For tartare, it's very simple; it is made from raw steak taken from the inside of the muscle, which is sterile! Asides from the gastrointestinal tracts, the interior of a piece of meat from a healthy animal does not contain microorganisms if proper and hygienic slaughtering procedures are followed.  

Tartare is also salty, and vinegary, two barriers to the growth of bacteria. It is, therefore, safe to eat this meat raw.

This is also why you can enjoy a large steak that is rare in the center because the outside is cooked through, and the inside is sterile.

Warning 

Some pieces of meat are mechanically tenderized, as can be the case for a roast that can be pricked by the butcher. In this case, the inside of the muscle is no longer sterile because there have been cross-contamination of the needle-contaminated surface. So do not eat these bloody pieces!

How to Prepare Raw Steak Safely at Home?

Here are some tips for preparing your raw steak tartare safely at home.

Meat Quality

Choose the freshest cut of meat possible. The cutting does not change anything. Whether the raw steak is a sirloin, the inside of the round, or a filet mignon, the important thing is NOT to take a piece that has been mechanically tenderized with needles.

Remove the Surface

I know the majority of tartare recipes do not require this. However, to make sure that you don't get sick from eating raw meat, it is recommended to remove a thin layer of meat from the surface of your raw steak. 

Thus, you will be sure to have a piece free of microorganisms. An alternative would be to sear all the surfaces of the piece of meat. The cooking will destroy the bacteria. This is the principle of tataki.

Avoid Cross-contamination

Be careful not to contaminate your ingredients with the removed surface meat. Be sure to wash your hands, cutting board, and utensils thoroughly after the operation.

Cold Chain

It is essential to maintain the cold chain of the meat from purchase to consumption. 

During preparation, it is suggested to place the bowl containing your meat in a bowl filled with ice to keep the preparation cold.

Storage

Prepare the tartare or other raw beef dish recipes only when ready to serve it to avoid bacterial proliferation.

Chef Preparing Raw Beef Tenderloin Steaks

Consequences of (Over) Consumption of Raw Beef Dishes

If you only eat raw beef over a longer period of time, you are missing the healthy vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables.

A vitamin C deficiency can quickly develop, degenerating into scurvy and poor wound healing. This seafarer's sickness used to affect seafarers who spent several months at sea and only ate fish.

Raw beef or fish can contain germs that can only be destroyed if the meat or fish is well cooked or cooked through. 

Otherwise, they can settle in the intestines and cause food poisoning with severe diarrhea and other digestive problems.

Some scientists also found that beef, in particular, contains viruses that can increase cancer risk. If the meat is heated above 145 degrees Fahrenheit, the USDA recommendation, the viruses are destroyed.

There is also a risk of premature labor. So, during pregnancy, fish and meat should always be well cooked.

The infectious disease toxoplasmosis is also transmitted by consuming raw meat products, especially those from beef and sheep. Toxoplasmosis is dangerous during pregnancy too. It can lead to a miscarriage or premature birth and can cause deformities in the child.

You Shouldn't Eat These Meat Raw!

Eating raw or rare pork can trigger gastrointestinal diseases such as trichinosis. In particular, people with a weak immune system, pregnant women, and children should not consume it.

Bacteria such as salmonella, which cause diarrhea, often lurk on raw chicken and turkey.

Also, stay away from game meat as a raw source of food. There are many microorganisms on game meat that can cause diseases. Roast wild boar, deer, rabbit, etc. well.

Conclusion 

You can actually eat beef raw, but there are certain things to be aware of. To eat raw steak safely, the raw beef must be fresh, meet serious hygiene requirements, and be of the highest quality.

Various bacteria, viruses, and parasites can be transmitted to humans by consuming raw meat and sometimes cause serious illnesses. 

I don't eat raw minced beef from the market. It's better to get a good steak cut, mince it yourself following the guidelines provided and add it to your diet. 

Finally, if you want to prepare these dishes, only buy from a retailer you trust and have them confirm that the ingredients are suitable for what you're trying to do. 

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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