Is Steak Classed As Red Meat?

is steak classed as red meat

A question we are regularly asked here: is steak classed as red meat?

It’s easy to presume that steak is red meat due to its color, but the answer is more complex than you might first think.

Let’s take a closer look…

What Is Red Meat?

According to the USDA, red meat is defined as follows: “all forms of beef, pork, lamb and game; including fresh, uncured, cooked or cured meats.”

All of these words are important in the definition of red meat because it helps us understand how steaks are classed.

When asking is steak classed as red meat, it’s important to understand what red meat is.

Red meat is considered to be any animal flesh that is NOT poultry or fish.

For example, beef, lamb, and pork are all considered red meats, like steak.

However, it’s important to note that some people may consider some types of fish (such as tuna) to be classed as red meat rather than fish.

Surprisingly, all kinds of different types of meat can be classed as red meat:

  • Beef steaks and burgers (such as steak burgers)
  • Pork chops and spare ribs (which is a type of pork that doesn’t contain bones)
  • Venison steaks and buffalo burgers (which is a kind of meat found in deer and buffalo)

Whilst this may seem like a pretty comprehensive list, it’s important to note that this isn’t an exhaustive list:

Some people may class other types of meat as red meat. However, if you’re not sure about it then you’d be safe classing it as red meat.

Some people may class fish such as tuna, salmon, and trout as red meat (particularly the fatty types).

This would be acceptable because these fishes contain a lot of fat similar to that found in beef steaks.

If you’re unsure whether something is classed as red meat or not then it’s probably best to class it as red meat.

Is Steak Red Meat?

This may seem obvious, as steak is red, right? Well, that is somewhat true.

It does have a red hue, but the cut of meat that makes up steak (a beef strip loin) is not classed as red meat.

But why? Surely it gets eaten like red meat? The reason for this is due to the levels of myoglobin present in any given cut of meat; but what is myoglobin?

Myoglobin is the main type of hemoglobin found in vertebrates. Hemoglobin is a globular protein that consists of four subunits, each consisting of an iron-containing heme group.

A heme group consists of an iron atom bound to a porphyrin ring. When this gets linked with oxygen, it can carry oxygen to tissues.

This helps supply muscles with the oxygen they require if fully oxygenated, but when oxygen levels are lower in muscle cells, myoglobin can bind with oxygen instead of hemoglobin.

So, now you know that part of the meat’s coloration is due to the levels of myoglobin present; you have the answer as to why different cuts of meat have different colors.

Now, back to the original question: Is steak classed as red meat? The answer is yes!

Although steak is red in color because of myoglobin, it is still classed as red meat as it is not poultry or fish.

What Meats Are Not Red Meat?

Meats that are not red meat are poultry and fish.

As mentioned previously, this means that steak is classed as red meat but the following meats are not:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Pork
  • Lamb

All of these meats are considered to be poultry or fish. Poultry includes chicken, turkey, and also duck, while fish includes tuna, salmon, and trout.

So if you’re wondering what meat is classed as red meat then steak is included in that list!

Just remember though that there are different types of steak depending on the cut of beef, so not all types of steak will be considered red meat. But every type of steak contains myoglobin just like beef, so this is another reason why it’s classed as red meat.

If you’re still unsure about whether something is classed as red meat or not, then it’s safe to say that everything other than poultry and fish is red meat.

What Is The Healthiest Meat To Eat?

When it comes to which meat is healthier, white or red, it’s a very difficult question to answer as there are a lot of factors that affect the healthiness of meat.

However, red meats tend to contain a higher amount of saturated fats compared to white meats, but they also contain more protein and usually fewer carbohydrates.

The key is to avoid fatty cuts of meat because if it’s very lean then you can enjoy this without too much of an impact on your health.

You should also take into account the cooking method used when preparing meat to avoid any potential detrimental effects, which is why it’s so important to look at what you’re buying and where possible, refrain from using processed meat products.

So now that you know whether a steak is classed as red meat or not, you can make your decision about which type of steak to buy.

If you’ve got a craving for red meat, then it’s definitely worth trying to find out what cut of steak is best to enjoy based on the specifications that are important for this cut of beef.

And finally, remember that if you’re trying to eat healthier by cutting out red meat, then this is fine if you replace it with leaner types of meat such as chicken and fish.

However, there are also health benefits associated with eating red meats so you don’t have to avoid it completely!

Other Considerations

It’s worth keeping in mind that there are actually different types of steak, so some are considered to be red meat while others are not.

For example, the following cuts of beef are usually classed as being red meat:

  • Ribeye
  • T-bone
  • Porterhouse
  • Sirloin Steak
  • New York Strip Steak  (although this may have some white marbling)
  • Flank Steak

As for the following beef cuts, they are usually not classed as being red meat:

  • Filet Mignon

This is because these cuts are so lean that there is more collagen present, which makes it tough to eat.

As a result of this toughness, these cuts of beef are usually cooked using moist heat methods such as braising, which is why they’re less likely to be classed as red meat.

I know it can be quite confusing, but just keep the above points in mind and you should be able to tell which type of steak is classed as red meat!


In conclusion, red meat is a very broad term that includes all types of beef, so steak is included as being red meat.

In regards to which type of steak is classed as being red meat, it’s mainly the long muscle fibers that are considered to be red meat.

Not only that, but the biggest factor that affects the healthiness of meat is whether it’s white or red, so if you want to eat healthier then switch to white meats, but don’t cut red out altogether.

However, remember that there are other factors that affect the overall healthiness of meat so it’s best to look at what cut of steak or beef you’re buying and how you prepare it.

It’s worth remembering that red meat is actually really high in nutrients so it can play a vital role in your diet.

When you consider the fact that one steak provides around 90% of your daily zinc requirement, 50% of your daily niacin, vitamin B6, and selenium requirements plus 38% of your daily protein, then it’s clear that red meat is rich in nutrients.

Hopefully, this post has answered your question of is steak classed as red meat? And you now know that it is one of the many types of red meat that you can enjoy (in moderation)!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, feel free to share it with other steak lovers who may find it interesting.

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