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If you have a steak medium to rare, such that it's still pink in the middle, is it kosher? At what point is meat cooked enough?

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One Kosher establishment I have been to refuses to serve their steaks well done for fear of overdoing it and losing money on the return. –  YDK May 29 '11 at 18:28
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Welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! Please consider registering your account so that the site can keep track of all of your contributions. –  Isaac Moses May 29 '11 at 21:17
    
Can someone put into the question the reason why you would think that meat has to be "cooked" to be kosher? I enjoy kosher raw meat sometimes. –  avi Dec 15 '11 at 11:59
    
@avi, I think that's the answer to the question. I think the question rests on the assumption that meat needs to be cooked somewhat to be Kosher, which is not correct. –  Seth J Dec 15 '11 at 15:48
    
I also think the title asks a very different question than the body. The answer to the title is, "Yes, a rare steak is Kosher." The answer to the body is, "Your question is based on a faulty premise." –  Seth J Dec 15 '11 at 15:50

6 Answers 6

I'm assuming you are talking about steak which has been processed under rabbinical supervision.

Presently, in the US, with the exception of liver, all meat is salted to remove problematic blood by the certifying agency before it hits the stores and restaurants. So meat which is edible does not have to be cooked "enough" and rare is fine.

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Ya, that's the way I like it. The law of eiver min hachai was put in the Torah for people who like meat the way I like it... :) –  Shaul Behr May 30 '11 at 6:48
    
@Shaul see the last sentence in this Mishna he.wikisource.org/wiki/… –  David Perlman May 30 '11 at 9:31
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I have found unsalted meat in a kosher butcher shop. It was so unusual I made a point of buying it, and then soaking and salting it myself. But I'd agree that most meat sold kosher in America is soaked and salted in advance. –  Ze'ev Felsen Jun 28 '11 at 14:37
    
@Ze'ev Felsen, that's strange. Did they have a private shochet? The hashgacha companies don't like to rely on us poshute yiddin and require that products are finished kosher. As a small boy, my family bought from local butcher shops and salted chickens themselves. I don't remember if meat was like that. –  YDK Jun 28 '11 at 14:47
    
I really don't know. –  Ze'ev Felsen Jun 28 '11 at 14:51

You don't say why you think a rare steak might be a problem. I've heard others ask this question based on the prohibition of eating blood -- "hey, if we're not supposed to eat blood, then what about steaks?". I'm answering on the assumption that this is your reason for asking.

Chabad says that what's left in the meat after it's been kashered is juice, not blood, and ok. No sources cited, though I've heard this from a number of people (for what that's worth).

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indeed. see over here: diaspora.org.il/Jewish_Law/on-line/05-milica.htm –  josh waxman May 29 '11 at 22:30

What Monica answered above, that it is 'meat juice'. To find out in much greater detail about this, see here:

  1. No matter what the source of the issur, the Ran asks: We clearly observe that blood continues to come out of meat even after the salting process is over. Indeed this blood is sometimes even redder than the blood that was originally expelled. Why do we permit this meat after the required time of salting, even though there blood still appears to be inside?

He gives two explanations :

A. The liquid which comes out of the meat after the period of salting is not blood but is called mohul (juice). The Gemora refers to it as chamra boser (the wine of the meat). In other words, although it may have the appearance of blood, it is not in reality blood that is ossur at all.

B. The issur of blood that comes out through the salting process is only forbidden Rabbinically, and the Rabbis limited their prohibition to blood that comes out of the meat during the period of salting . After that time, anything that comes out of the meat, although it may be blood, it is not within the Rabbinical enactment. Therefore it is blood of heter and not of issur.

This, based on the gemara in Chullin 113b.

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And actually, the pink color in a rare steak isn't even necessarily blood or meat juice anyway; it can simply be the natural color of the muscle tissue. –  Alex May 29 '11 at 23:10
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@Alex I was skeptical, but you win! cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/24208/why-is-meat-red –  Double AA Jun 7 '12 at 6:52
    
I don't think that's what's being asked. –  Seth J Jun 2 at 2:56

Most of the other answers seem to be working under the assumption that the OP is basing the question on the prohibition against consuming blood (although this motivation is not stated in the question). Taking the question at its face value, however, the OP just wants to know how well meat needs to be cooked in order to be Kosher. As YDK's answer suggests (albeit somewhat vaguely), cooking has nothing to do with the Kashering process. Yes, we could get technical and discuss roasting meat in lieu of salting as a means of blood-removal, etc., but if the question is taken at face value, it is based on a faulty premise, probably due to a misunderstanding, that meat needs to be cooked 'X' amount in order to be Kosher. It does not.

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Raw, unsalted meat is completely kosher. Just rinse and eat. Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah siman 67 siff 2.

EDIT. The Shach in siman 76 s.k. 2 also point out that unsalted roasted meat even if only rare is also permitted to eat. The point of my original answer was to dispel any misconceptions about blood, but this edit will answer the assumed question more directly as pointed out in the comments.

One more point of clarification as pertaining to cooked, not roasted meat, is after salting the red juice is not considered blood,but called mohel, as pointed out by Monica. This is the Ashkenazi law lichatchila. For Sfardim however, if possible they should be putting the raw salted and washed meat into boiling, not warm or cold, water in order to seal in the red juice which the Rambam did in fact consider blood, and the Shulchan Aruch says to take into account, when possible. See siman 69 siff 19. This is process is called chalita.

I don't know any Sfardim who actually do this, whether at home or in restaurants (though some Teimanim do). So for all Acheinu bnei Hamizrach please comment or quote any modern day rulings, but this is what the Shulchan Aruch says and some people reading this question and these answers might find this interesting.

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If raw unsalted meat is kosher, why do we bother kashering with salt or vinegar? By the way, I know people who do chalita, and will not eat any ground meat - they cook their meat, then grind it and make it into hamburgers. –  Robert S. Barnes Sep 10 at 8:33
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@RobertS.Barnes Because if you cook it it becomes unkosher unless you've salted it first. Salting is only required if you want to cook it. –  Double AA Sep 10 at 10:46
    
The fact raw meat is kosher without salting isn't relevant to the question at all and could be mistaken to imply that rare is therefore certainly kosher. Pointing out that meat kashered by roasting is kosher even rare, at least according to the Shach, is interesting and relevant but your answer doesn't clarify whether roasting is a sufficient or necessary condition for rare meat to be kosher. The application of the question in the majority of situations (where meat has been salted and then cooked) remains unanswered. –  Yirmeyahu Sep 11 at 20:58

As others have pointed out, it doesn't have to be cooked at all. Another example of this is soaking raw muscle meat in vinegar - this is another method of kashering. So if you ever get the urge for kosher carpaccio... Although it seems like it's not such a straight forward process... Rambam discusses this although I don't have the reference handy at the moment.

EDIT

הלכות מאכלות אסורות פרק ו

י אֵין הַבָּשָׂר יוֹצֶא מִידֵי דָּמוֹ אֵלָא אִם כֵּן מוֹלְחוֹ יָפֶה יָפֶה, וּמְדִיחוֹ יָפֶה יָפֶה. כֵּיצַד עוֹשֶׂה: מֵדִיחַ הַבָּשָׂר תְּחִלָּה, וְאַחַר כָּךְ מוֹלְחוֹ יָפֶה יָפֶה, וּמַנִּיחוֹ בְּמִלְחוֹ כְּדֵי הִלּוּךְ מִיל; וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְדִיחוֹ יָפֶה יָפֶה, עַד שֶׁיֵּצְאוּ הַמַּיִם זַכִּים; וּמַשְׁלִיכוֹ מִיָּד לְתוֹךְ מַיִם רוֹתְחִין, אֲבָל לֹא לְפוֹשְׁרִין--כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּתְלַבַּן מִיָּד, וְלֹא יֵצֵא דָּם. ‏

יא כְּשֶׁמּוֹלְחִין הַבָּשָׂר, אֵין מוֹלְחִין אוֹתוֹ אֵלָא בִּכְלִי מְנֻקָּב; וְאֵין מוֹלְחִין אוֹתוֹ אֵלָא בְּמֶלַח עָבֶה כְּחוֹל הַגַּס, שֶׁהַמֶּלַח הַדַּק כְּקֶמַח יִבָּלַע בַּבָּשָׂר וְלֹא יוֹצִיא דָּם. וְצָרִיךְ לְנַפַּץ הַבָּשָׂר מִן הַמֶּלַח, וְאַחַר כָּךְ יְדִיחֶנּוּ.‏

יב כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ, לְבָשָׂר שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְבַשְּׁלוֹ. אֲבָל לַצֳּלִי, מוֹלֵחַ וְצוֹלֶה מִיָּד. וְהָרוֹצֶה לֶאֱכֹל בָּשָׂר חַי--מוֹלְחוֹ יָפֶה יָפֶה וּמְדִיחוֹ יָפֶה יָפֶה, וְאַחַר כָּךְ יֹאכַל; וְאִם חֲלָטוֹ בְּחֹמֶץ, מֻתָּר לְאָכְלוֹ כִּשְׁהוּא חַי, וּמֻתָּר לִשְׁתּוֹת הַחֹמֶץ שֶׁחֲלָטוֹ בּוֹ, שְׁאֵין הַחֹמֶץ מוֹצִיא דָּם. ‏

Mishne Torah Laws of Forbidden Foods 6:10-12

The meat is not freed of blood unless it has been thoroughly salted, and thoroughly rinsed. How is it done: first rinse the meat, and after that thoroughly salt it, and lay it in it's salt for the time it takes one to walk a mile; and after thoroughly rinse it, until the water runs clear; and throw it immediately into boiling water, but not just hot water -- such that it will whiten immediately, and blood will not come out.

When salting the meat, it is not salted except in a sieve, and it is salted only with salt like large sand grains, because salt fine like flour is absorbed into the meat and the blood isn't drawn out. And the meat should be shaken free of the salt, and then rinsed.

All of these things are for meat which is cooked ( in a vessel ). But for roasting, salt and roast immediately. And one who wants to eat raw meat -- salt it thoroughly and rinse it thoroughly, and afterwards eat it; and if one did chalita with vinegar, it is permissable to eat it raw, and it is permissible to drink the vinegar in which chalita was done, because the vinegar doesn't draw out blood.

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Soaking in vinegar is most defiantly NOT a good kashering. See Shulchan Aruch Yo'd siman 67 siff 5. It just doesn't ruin the meat. In fact if you leave the meat in the vinegar too long it will become completely assur to eat. See siman 69 siff 18 and siman 105 siff 2 about kavush kimivushal and the amount of time this takes in vinegar or saltwater. –  user6591 Sep 10 at 17:00
    
@ Robert s barnes the offending statement 'this is another method of kashering.' is still in your first paragraph. And you confused matters by calling the placement in vinegar chalita, it may perform the same function as chalita by sealing in the blood, but it is not chalita. And again you say incorrectly' And one who wants to eat raw meat -- salt it thoroughly and rinse it thoroughly, and afterwards eat it;. Raw meat does not need salting, just rinsing. If you called my attention to your edits because you think I downvoted, it wasnt me. –  user6591 Sep 10 at 19:45
    
@user6591 meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2067/5323 would probably help you. [In this instance, Robert was pinged by your comment because he owned the post you commented on, which means that you didn't need to ping him; on the other hand, the @ symbol that you used would not have pinged him, bc you put a space after it before the name.....] –  Shokhet Sep 11 at 0:25
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@user6591 All I did was translate what is quoted above from the Mishne Torah - I'm not sure why it was down voted - my translation is accurate and supports my above assertion. The fact that the Shulchan Aruch contains a different opinion doesn't nullify Rambam's opinion. –  Robert S. Barnes Sep 11 at 3:37
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@user6591 The vinegar is kosher because no blood was drawn out, but the blood was sealed inside like in traditional Chalita. It's no coincidence the Rambam used the same word here. –  Double AA Sep 11 at 16:59

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