Why Is My Steak Grey?

Why Is My Steak Grey?

Why Is My Steak Grey?

In the presence of oxygen, eventually, beef turns brownish-gray. It is because the chemical compound of myoglobin is iron, which will begin to oxidize after a couple of days of exposure to oxygen. Metmyoglobin is the result and is the cause of the meat becoming grayer than that of your grandfather.

Why Is My Steak Grey Before I Cook It?

Did you open a box with a raw steak and notice the meat sporting an eerie grey hue? You’ve likely experienced. It is because it’s an organic process known as metmyoglobin.

Metmyoglobin is formed when myoglobin is a protein that supplies oxygen to muscles in the air. When protein is subjected to oxygenation for just a few days, the reddish-tinged protein will become gray.

It’s common to find that certain steaks are redder than others, even when freshly cooked. For instance, flank steak is a shade of red that is darker than, for instance, New York strip steak. Therefore, a gray steak isn’t necessarily harmful to consume. However, should you consume the steak if it has been sitting for long enough, there’s a good chance that it’s become spoiled. So how can you tell the difference? Fortunately for us, all spoilt meat usually produces many different warning signs. We’ll discuss these later in the article.

How To Tell If Steak is Bad?

If your steak’s raw has a greyish hue, it’s an indication that it’s passed its peak. It’s possible to save it if it doesn’t show any other indications of spoilage.

First, take a look at the meat. Does it emit an unpleasant odor that reminds you of eggs that have gone bad? It could smell like solid cheese or emit the smell of ammonia. These are all indicators that indicate that the animal should be removed.

Check the steak’s surface. There are already grey areas, but do you see any moldy spots or spots of green or yellow? If so, throw out the meat, but don’t cook it.

You may examine the surface to see if the meat can pass these tests. Spoiled steaks are often too slimy or sticky due to the established bacteria in the area. Your meat must be wet and springy to the touch.

The key is throwing away the carcass if you believe it’s turned bad. Don’t second-guess yourself. It’s better to be secure instead of uninformed when it comes down to food safety.

Why Is My Steak Grey After Cooking?

Sometimes the meat appears perfect when you begin cooking it, but it turns grey after a time under the grill (or in the frying pan). What can be the cause?

In reality, there are many possibilities. Let’s examine the most likely ones first.

Excess moisture

Most of the time, steaks turn gray during cooking because they are slightly damp when you begin. It is one of the reasons why you should rub the dry meat with paper towels before spicing it.

When you cook a great steak, you want to create a beautiful crust of brown on the outside. It also provides an appealing texture contrast between the crust that has been seared and the tender meat. It will also help retain juices.

If you have too much water in the steak, it can make the meat steam rather than sear. It means that it will cook differently. Instead, it’ll turn dull and gray.


Anyone who has endured the humiliation of eating an excellently cooked steak may have noticed the meat turned a greyish brown rather than pink. It’s because the majority of the liquid was taken out by cooking.

The smell of overcooked steak isn’t just unpleasant to see. Loss of water leads to the meat becoming dry and tough. This results in a substantial inconsistency in flavor. The steak can be tough to chew. It is possible to avoid overcooking your steak by cooking it rapidly over medium-high temperatures. Specific cuts with thinner thickness can attain the perfect texture after cooking for only two minutes on each side.

Thin-cut steaks, like filet mignon and ribeye, may take longer. It is possible to turn the heat down while cooking these steaks to ensure that the exterior doesn’t get burned before the meat is cooked to the perfect medium rare.

A reliable instant-read meat thermometer is a valuable instrument for smokers and grillers. It’s the only way to confirm that your meat has reached the desired temperature.

If you want a rare steak, take the meat from the oven once the internal temperature has reached 120°F. The temperature will increase as the steak cools in the fridge, resulting in an estimated temperature of 120 degrees.

Steak is considered medium rare when prepared to 130-135 degrees. Please remove it from the grill at 125 to 130 degrees to ensure the best result, and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving it.

Improper Cooking Method

It is also possible to avoid overcooking by following the proper cooking technique. For example, reverse searing, that is, cooking a steak on low heat and then turning the heat to high towards the end, is a way to accomplish this.

If you reverse sear a steak, the juices remain locked in, and you’ll still get that crucial crust on the outside. It is the reason for its popularity, especially for more minor cuts.

If you’re cooking thick-cut steaks, Try using sous vide. It means you’ll put the meat into a vacuum-sealed bag before cooking it at a lower temperature for a long duration. It will result in the steak being perfectly cooked and very tender.


Incredibly, inadvertently, poor spice rubs can cause grilled steak. The marinade or spice rub must be seasoned with enough salt to moisten and soften the meat. Without this, it could become dry, leading to a grayish hue.

Why Is My Steak Green?

As we mentioned earlier, discoloration can be an indication of spoilage. However, you can determine if it is by looking over the meat for other mentioned signs.

The meat can occasionally appear green but remain fresh, or at least somewhat so. The color of the meat can give it an iridescent green or greenish sheen, particularly when exposed to heat, light, or processing methods.

To prevent this, cover the meat with butcher paper and keep it in a safe place. It’s recommended to cook the steak within three days of returning it home.

When it comes to cooked beef, This “rainbow sheen” phenomenon is particularly prevalent in deli-sliced roast beef. It is because deli meats are aged before being sold in delis, which modifies their chemical structures. It means they’re more susceptible to changes in color than uncured meats.

The greenish hue isn’t a sign that the meat is spoilt. However, if you suspect the green spots are mold spots, or it smells strange or has a slimy feel and smells, it’s time to get rid of it.

As any store will say, the darker the steak, the quicker it’s sold. A glance at a meat counter, and you’ll comprehend the reason. Our brains are trained to connect that bright red hue to high-quality meat. Unfortunately, although our brains can be right, several consumers have opted for lower-quality meats because of superficial variations in color.

So what is the reason beef gets its red hue, and what is an indication of the overall quality? For more information on how we’ll look at the chemistry of steaks and the factors that influence the color of a steak and reveal the tricks that your local store will use to present you with the most appealing steaks.

Myoglobin & Oxygen

To comprehend why it is red in beef (and why, in some instances, it’s grayish-brown or purple instead), it is necessary to look at beef science. In an academic paper about the color of beef published by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Dr. James R. Claus explains how myoglobin, a protein, works with oxygen to make steaks appear red. In the paper, Dr. Claus explains how myoglobin, a protein within muscle tissues, assists in delivering oxygen to the muscle fibers throughout a steer’s life. Myoglobin, on its own, has a deep purple color, slightly tinged by brown. It is the color of freshly cut pieces of meat.

However, when myoglobin is in contact with oxygen, it changes into a compound known as myoglobin oxymyoglobin. The compound is lighter, more attractive, and healthier in color, usually described as cherry red. The color we connect (and “associate” is the main word) with high-quality beef.

The presence of oxygen, however, causes beef to turn brownish-gray. It is because Myoglobin’s chemical component contains iron. Iron will begin to oxidize after a couple of days of exposure to oxygen. The result is metmyoglobin. It causes the meat to start getting darker than your grandfather’s. It’s true; this alone is not a sign that the meat has gone wrong (though this process can indeed take a few days to develop, it’s recommended to examine the meat for evidence of spoilage).

Factors That Can Affect Beef Color

Certain elements can alter the quantity of myoglobin present in muscles. For example, the more mature steer, the more significant amount of myoglobin in its muscles. Similar to muscles that are exposed to more exercise throughout the day (such as those that comprise flank and skirt steak) also produce more myoglobin.

The higher levels of myoglobin result in a deeper, darker color of purple in the steaks before exposure to oxygen and a darker, deeper shade of red when exposed. It is why the flank steak appears red and darker than a strip steak cut by the same steer. Because steaks require oxygen to change color, steaks that are vacuum sealed typically have a darker, more purple appearance than other steaks before being unpacked. For example, At Chicago Steak Company, we deliver our steaks using vacuum packaging. It is why we often answer questions from customers regarding how our steaks turn darker when they arrive. We’re always delighted to inform our customers that the steaks are in good condition and may change color if in the presence of oxygen for a brief time.

How Supermarkets Ensure the Reddest Beef?

You may be thinking: If oxygen is necessary for a steak’s color to change to red, how do supermarket steaks wrapped in plastic wrap appear exactly like air-exposed meats at the local butcher’s shop?

The answer lies in the kind of wrap made of plastic used for supermarket butchers. Grocery stores and supermarkets utilize the same plastic wrap packed with tiny holes. The holes are small enough for liquids to go through. However, they are large enough to allow air through and out. It ensures that the steak is in contact with oxygen. It is why supermarket steaks appear identically attractive and red as those sold at butcher’s shops.

(These particular plastic wraps are why it is not recommended to store meat in supermarket packaging. Since the wrap allows airflow, this can expose your meats to the danger of freezing burn.)

Why Does My Steak Grey when it is cooked?

Why Does My Steak Grey when it is cooked?

There are various reasons your steak could turn out to look grey. Here are a few points to think about:

  • You may be overcooking the steak. If your steak is cooked to the point of overcooking, the meat can become grey in the shade.
  • You may need to use a sufficient temperature for cooking the steak. To get a great sear on the meat’s exterior, cooking it at a high temperature is essential. If the heat is not high enough, it will cause the steak not to be cooked properly and will remain grey.
  • It could be an animal that has lots of connecting tissue. Specific cuts of beef, such as chuck and round, are characterized by a more significant amount of connective tissue that can cause the steak to appear gray when cooked.
  • You may be applying a method of cooking that is not appropriate for steak. For instance, slow cooking or boiling could cause a gray unappealing, dull steak.

To enhance the appearance of your steaks, you can adjust the cooking time and temperature with a more premium steak and use a cooking technique appropriate for steaks, like grills or pan-frying.

Why is my steak becoming grey rather than red?

There are many reasons your steak may appear colored grey rather than red. However, here are a few points to think about:

  • You may be looking for a piece of meat with a large amount of connected tissue. Specific cuts of beef, like chuck or round, are characterized by a higher quantity of connective tissue, making the steak appear gray when raw.
  • It is possible to store your steaks in the fridge for longer. In time the color of the raw steak may change from red to gray because of the natural breakdown of enzymes and proteins.
  • You may be using old meat. As the meat ages, it may change color to gray.
  • You could be eating meat subjected to a process using gas to keep its color. Certain types of meat, such as ground beef, are treated using carbon monoxide gas to maintain the red hue of their meat.

If you’re worried about the shade of your steak, try using a fresh cut of meat and storing it in the fridge to help keep its color. Also, consider choosing a different type of meat that will not change color when raw, like ribeye or tenderloin.

It’s Not Damaged.

When you bring the steak home, you might wonder whether you should throw it out since it’s grey. The color of the steak isn’t necessarily an indication of spoilage. It is essential to look for other indicators of spoilage meat before choosing.

Properly storing your steak can help keep it from becoming rotten. If you need help preserving your steak, talk with a USDA specialist.

The steak’s color indicates that it has come in contact with oxygen. Oxygen alters those chemical reactions that change the color of the steak. Additionally, you might need more vacuum-sealed your steak. It could also be due to an improper cooking technique.

A steak that has been spoiled will possess an unpleasant odor. It could also be covered with slimy layers. It means that bacteria are present. Although rotten meat isn’t healthy to consume, it’s acceptable to grill it.

Another indicator of spoilage could be the appearance of mold. The mold is typically green or white and is typically observed on steaks exposed to air. The areas affected by mold must be eliminated.

Another sign of spoilage is reddish or brownish areas on the steak. These spots are caused by lactic acids released from the meat in the aging process.

Buying fresh raw beef is the best method to ensure your steak doesn’t turn gray. Raw meat is likely to have bright red or a dark pink hue. However, this color will change as the meat ages.

If you’re concerned that your steak may have gone wrong, It’s a good idea to check the packaging. Find a sell-by date. It is the date that the steak must be consumed. Purchasing meat that is not used by date can increase the likelihood of getting food-borne illnesses.

Like any other product you purchase, you need to confirm the date before using it. If you do this, you’ll prevent serious illnesses and hospitalization.

You can identify how to differentiate between a damaged steak and a steak that isn’t. If you know how to spot the signs of spoilage, you’ll be confident you can cook without much fuss.

It Needs to Be Cooked Correctly.

It Needs to Be Cooked Correctly.

If you’ve cooked a steak before, you’ve probably noticed certain pieces have a gray hue. It is a concern. A gray steak may be flavorless and difficult to cut. It could also have a slimy coating on the exterior. Therefore, it is not recommended to consume it.

The reason why meat turns from a red-colored color to a gray color is due to the chemical reaction. It’s known as”the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction occurs when sugars and amino acids in the muscle tissue react to form new flavor compounds.

Another reason for gray steak is an ineffective cooking technique. For example, cooking a steak at a high or low temperature could produce meat with a gray tinge. Also, improperly freezing can result in an uncooked steak with a gray hue.

Gray steak can happen when a cut is subjected to too much oxygen. But it’s not an indication of spoilage. Many people believe that a cut of meat with greyish hues isn’t suitable for consumption.

A grey-tinged steak does not indicate that it has been damaged. However, it could indicate that the meat was overcooked. To ensure that your steak remains clean and soft, use these suggestions for cooking the perfect steak.

The steak becomes gray most frequently because of cooking too long. Therefore, while cooking your steak, it is essential to ensure that the temperature inside remains between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the temperature within this range will allow you to ensure that the steak stays juicy and tasty.

The wrong kind of oil may cause the grey steak. Too much oil could result in the steak becoming dry. Instead, use a pan with low temperatures for cooking your meat. Make sure you sprinkle a pinch of salt. Salt assists in drawing out moisture and prevents the cut from drying.

If you need to check whether your steak was cooked properly, test the temperature of its internals using the help of a thermometer for steaks. Ideally, the steak should be a dark brown exterior with an underlying pink hue.

It’s Exposed to Oxygen Over an Extended Period.

If a steak becomes grey, typically, it’s because they were exposed to air for an extended period. It doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat. However, it is essential to be cautious. There are a few signs of being looking for to ensure your steak is safe to consume.

The first indication you must take note of is color. Gray meat might not look equally appealing as its bright red counterpart, but it’s still healthy and safe to consume.

Another thing to be looking out for is consistency. The texture of gray meat is often slimy, and that’s not something you should eat. If you find an area of slime that is not edible, you may want to remove the meat.

The change in the steak’s color results from two proteins formed in the cooking process. They are called myoglobin and metmyoglobin. Myoglobin is composed of iron pieces that can interact with oxygen. Metmyoglobin is a chemical compound with gray-colored tints and is found in muscle.

Depending on the kind of meat, the darkening process is different for each meat species. Sure, steaks may be extraordinarily dark or highly light red. But, unfortunately, you may be unable to tell if the color has changed until you’ve eaten your steak for a long time.

A steak can change color when it’s in the refrigerator. In addition, oxygen hurts the taste of your meat; therefore, keeping your steak in a sealed container is recommended.

Other signs to look for are a smelly odor and the appearance of a thin layer on the outside. Steaks that show these indicators should be removed since they can deteriorate the food.

Additionally, be sure to cook your steak at temperatures that are at room temperature. If you cook your steak too hot or too long could cause it to be dry and bland. A thermometer to determine the temperature inside is an excellent way to ensure you get the proper temperature for your steak.

With just a bit of care and preparation with care with a little care, you can have the best steak without having to worry about the gray color.

It’s Safe to Take a Bite of Food.

If you’ve purchased an animal, you might wonder if gray steaks are safe for consumption. Although they may not suggest that the meat has spoilt, it could indicate it was exposed to excessive oxygen.

Gray steaks can be safe to consume, provided they’re cooked correctly. But, it’s crucial to know that there are instances in which the meat might appear less tender than it ought to be. There are ways to make sure that your steak is juicy and tasty.

A way to prevent gray-cut steaks is by cooking them at a low temperature. High heat can destroy proteins and render the steak hard. Another method of ensuring that your steak is cooked to perfection is to rub it with salt. Salt can also help keep the steak moist while cooking.

Another way to prevent gray steaks is to ensure you buy an air-tight package. It is an excellent method of ensuring that your meat isn’t subjected to the ozone.

Other indicators that indicate that a cut is in decline include slimy, squishy texture and bad smell. Of course, a slimy steak isn’t healthy for you and your appearance, but it can be a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

If you’ve got a steak that has gone bad, It is recommended to dispose of it. If you’d like to keep it, then you can freeze it. However, the storage of it for extended periods requires better wrap. It is also possible to call the USDA toll-free number if you have any concerns about the security of a particular piece of meat.

When you can identify if a specific cut of meat is spoilt, you will be more particular about the quality of the dinner. However, it is essential to adhere to the proper procedures for preparation because spoilage may alter the flavor and color of the food.

If you’re worried whether your steak has been spoiled, you can dial toll-free at the USDA for a toll-free number. Whether you purchase a meatball or an entire steak, a fresh-cut steak is much more likely healthy.


Why is my steak GREY while cooking?

That most likely indicates that your frying pan’s surface temperature has dipped below the searing point. Steak should be seared at a temperature of 400–450°F (204–232°C).

Why is frozen steak GREY?

You won’t get sick from freezer burn, which happens when that icy air from the freezer touches the surface of the food. But, eating freezer-burned beef is like chewing leather since it is dry, flavorless, and a genuine jaw-workout. Before cooking, remove the “burned,” or grayish-brown dry areas.

What is the GREY stuff in steak?

Protein and water made up the “grey substance.” The protein crystallized as the water evaporated.

Is steak OK if it’s GREY?

Steak that has been kept in the fridge for a few days, though, may also turn grey, suggesting that it may have been exposed to more oxygen there. But, if it doesn’t have an unpleasant smell or a slimy texture, this does not necessarily imply that it is unsafe to eat.

Is it OK to eat gray steak?

Insider goes on to say that gray steak is really pretty common and can be prepared and eaten safely, so long as it isn’t slimy or emitting an unpleasant smell.

What color should raw steak be?

Beef is purplish when it is at its freshest; after time, it turns cherry-red, then brown-red.