Why Do We Cook Meat?

Imagine if animals could talk and communicate with people. They’d probably have a lot of questions to ask. Why do you all wear pants? Why do you listen to music that makes you sad? Where have all the cowboys gone? 

You get the idea. 

For the carnivorous animals, one of their first questions would probably be “why do you humans cook your meat?” 

Our initial answer would probably be “Because it’s delicious. Especially when it’s barbecued.” 

While that’s not wrong, they’d maybe want a better explanation. After all, it does seem strange that wild animals always eat meat raw, and yet, if humans try that, bad things tend to happen. Some would say this is because humans are actually meant to be herbivores. 

However, many would argue that humans are indeed omnivores, and it’s only through our superior engineering and farming abilities that we can even pass as vegetarians and vegans. 

So then, if meat is a natural part of our diet, why do we need to cook it? 

Why We Cook Our Meat 

The reason we cook meat is to remove bacteria, parasites, etc. that exist on the surface (and sometimes, inside) of the meat. The heat from the cooking kills these contaminates, making the food safe for consumption.  

Additionally, cooked food is easier to chew, digest, and absorb. 

Why Can Animals Eat Raw Meat? 

The truth is, animals don’t all handle raw meat as well as you might think. Yes, some animals have special enzymes and stronger stomachs that can better defend against bacteria and parasites found in raw, stale meat. For example, vultures and other scavengers eat meat that is rotting and decaying, and yet, they survive unharmed. 

Many other animals, however, can get sick from raw meat just like we do. For them, the big differentiator is the freshness of the meat they consume. When a predator kills its prey, they eat it immediately. 

Up until the point of death, an animal’s body fights against infection, disease, bacteria, etc. If the animal is eaten right away, the meat stays relatively clean.  

The meat that humans are eating has been stored, processed, and moved around, leaving plenty of opportunities for parasites and bacteria to develop. 

What About Sushi and Steak Tartare? 

There are some exceptions to not eating raw meat. Specifically, sushi and the more posh steak tartare. Why are these okay to eat raw? For starters, both beef and fish are less likely to contract disease and bacteria than chicken or pork.  

You should never eat chicken or pork raw under any circumstances. 

It also has to do with the way they’re handled and prepared. 

For sushi, the fish is caught in cold water and frozen immediately, killing any bacteria that might be present. It is then thawed and served immediately before any new contaminates can develop. There’s also a degree of body chemistry at work. The bodies of fish and humans are very different. What makes fish sick doesn’t necessarily have the same effect on humans. 

Still, you should always make sure you’re only ever consuming fresh sushi from a reputable location. 

As for steak tartare, while it is a popular dish, it’s also considered riskier to eat than sushi. Preparation and handling of the meat beforehand is very important, which is why you’ll generally only find it in fine dining restaurants and should avoid any attempts at making it yourself. 

Personally, We Prefer Meat Cooked to Perfection  

There was a time when humans didn’t have the capability to store and process meat. They had to eat it immediately, just like carnivores. Yet, they started cooking the meat anyway. Why? There’s a very good chance it was because of the superior taste. 

Fire and heat bring out the best in meat. 

That’s why at Rudy’s, we provide a variety of barbecued meats cooked low and slow. Whether you’re looking for barbecue catering, or you want to stop by our restaurant for a quality meal, we have you covered. Contact us today for more information. 

True barbeque as practiced in the American South has 4
main ingredients- quality meats, low temperatures, wood
burning for flavor enhancement, and lots and lots of
patience, which is exactly what we do here at Rudy’s
Smokehouse.
All Glory be to God!