When most people think of red meat, they might first think about beef. The reality is that red meat encompasses much more than meat that comes from cows. Red meats are all meats that tend to be red when they are raw, but some red meats could be easily confused as white meats. For example, pork can change color based on the cut and the style of cooking. How can you tell the difference between red and white meat?
Red vs. White Meat
White meats are those that remain white after they're cooked, and they include poultry, like turkey and chicken. Of course, the differences between red and white meat involve more than simply the color of the meat.
Another significant difference between red and white meat is the nutritional and health value of the meat. Red meat is typically higher in saturated fat, and many people regard white meat as healthier.
Beef is perhaps the most popular red meat, used for steaks and hamburgers. Beef, which is made from cow meat, is full of proteins, iron and amino acids that are healthy, but it's also important to consider the fact that different cuts of meat contain different types of nutrients and levels of fats. While beef is rich in Vitamins A and B, eating too much beef can result in eating too much fat.
The most nutritious cut of beef is the liver, which contains the biggest buildup of minerals and vitamins. For those who want to find the most nutritious beef, look for meat that comes from grass-fed cows rather than grain-fed cows.
Pork, which comes from pig meat, is similar in nutritional and health value to beef, with some exceptions. For example, pork that has been smoked or cured, such as in the process of making ham or bacon, will contain additives and a lot of sodium that many people try to stay away from.
One of the confusing facts about pork is that in culinary circles, it's often referred to as a white meat. While pork does often appear white in color, its nutritional value puts in in line with beef and other red meats.
Lamb, though not the most popular meat in the United States, is widely consumed around the rest of the world. Like pork, the nutritional value of lamb is comparable to that of beef, which makes it a red meat. In the culinary world, lamb may be considered a white meat, but it's technically a red meat.
Less Common Red Meats
Other red meats aren't as common on a large scale, but they may be more common in the hunting communities. “Gamey” meats, like those that come from deer, boar and hare, are all considered red meats. While the culinary definition of red meat may have some slight variations, the nutritional guidelines classify these meats as red and poultry, like ducks and geese, as white.