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Hi, Matt, from Russia!

If all mammals' blood is red, at least us and cows, why is pork, veal, and poultry meat white?

-- Scott, St. Petersburg, Russia

Matt:

Is pork really "the other white meat"? A reliable source says that pork is a part of the pig that is white, while ham and bacon and so on is red. Somehow this doesn't make sense. Do I need to set this culinary student straight?

-- Colleen, the net

Grandma Alice would like to take your reliable source to the local meat emporium to survey the stock. Beef? Red. Lamb? Red. Pork? Pinky-red. Even poultry is pinkish. And even Matthew Alice can't really explain that "other white meat" thing. Pork turns lighter as it's cooked than beef does; but usually by the time pork turns "white" inside, it's overcooked and barely edible. Take it from Grandma, she knows how to overcook pork. No animal flesh is white because all animal flesh contains myoglobin. It captures blood-borne oxygen for use in muscle tissue and colors the meat. The amount of myoglobin varies with the species and with the particular muscle within an animal. Beef in general has 8 milligram of myoglobin per kilogram of meat, lamb 6, pork 2, and chicken and fish ("white meats" by USDA definition) about 1 or 2. The harder a muscle works, the more myoglobin it will have, which explains why chicken legs are dark and breast meat is light. Among other things, myoglobin reacts with heat, which is why cooked meat changes from red to pink to grayish as you cook it.

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