The Color of My Beef - Should All Natural BEEF look different?

Fresh, all natural beef will last for around 2-3 days in your refrigerator after it is defrosted.This is a good rule of thumb for meat purchased at Carrisito Ranch. We RECOMMEND simply defrosting your beef before you want to cook it. Sometimes plans change tho and yes it will be ok the next day (depending on how you defrost it). Many people are used to a longer shelf life when purchasing not frozen beef at the grocery store. That is because its not ALL NATURAL. Nearly al BEEF in the grocery store is uniformly bright red. Do you think that all of those packages were freshly butchered that day? How can it look so uniform? Some cuts are put out every day but others have been in the display case for two, three, four days, or even longer.


If you have purchased meat from a local ranch you know that very bright red meat is not a natural occurrence. Once meat becomes exposed to air, oxidation begins and turns the bright red color to more maroon brown color. Thus dry aged beef looks different and the color of your frozen beef will change as you defrost it (especially if taking it out of a vacuum sealed package). How does this never happen at the grocery store? Notice all the meat is UNIFORMLY red, not even different shades of red.


Much of the meat sold in stores is dyed with color dye and is also treated with carbon monizode to keep the meat looking deceptively fresh. This is called "modified atmosphere packaging". It is done in some cases keep meat at the proper temperate while in grocery store coolers. The internal temp of retail meat is not supposed to exceed 39 Fahrenheit at any time after it is defrosted. An increase of a few degrees can increase bacterial growth a lot. When meat is exposed to carbon monoxide it reacts with the myoglobin in the red blood giving the meat a bright red color. Fresh beef is naturally RED (right after it is killed). As it ages, it becomes more brownish. READ HERE to understand the differences in color for fresh beef vs. dry aged beef. Carbon monoxide keeps it looking artificially fresh for up to a full year by restricting the growth of bacterial.


Natural beef will be more of a brownish red on the outside and more red on the inside (due to the fact that oxogen hasn't reached the inside). Treated meat will be even more RED on the outside than the inside. Defiantly not natural.


Is carbon monoxide dangerous? It is if inhaled in large amounts. It certainly does not add any nutritional value. Its simply something we do in America that has no benefit. It seems ridiculous that we spend time and resources doing things to our food that add no nutritional value. Talk about first world problems. Some say that modified atmospheric packaging is necessary to keep meat affordable "as consumers won't buy brown meat even if its still one to eat causing meat that is perfectly good for sale to be thrown out unnecessarily". Your grandmother used to decide if meat was good based on many factors including smell, feel, and COLOR. She was raised to know what meat REALLY looks like. You no longer have the luxury of using color as an identifier for good vs spoiled meat. Lawyers for the meat instusry state "When a product reaches the point of spoilage, there will bet there signs that will be evident - for example odor, slime formation, and a bulging package - so the product will not smell or look right". Well thats sure comforting. Meat just might look fresh, even if its really not. (Tip: Salmon is also dyed)!


We hope this gives you some insight into what you are consuming and putting into your body. We often get questions about the color of our beef. What your grandmother was used to, you have never been exposed to. Dyed and treated meat simply makes using color as a good identifier impossible for most mainstream beef. We are always happy to answer any questions about the color of our beef, we want you to be comfortable and educated about what all natural beef looks like. Just know that it SHOULD NOT BE BRIGHT RED. It should be a brownish red with varying shades. Nothing natural is completely uniform. Always remember that! That is the all natural real deal!


Just another reason to KNOW WHERE YOUR BEEF COMES FROM.