is roast beef supposed to be pink

If you have just shifted your focus to BBW and roasting, you may be wondering, “is roast beef supposed to be pink?

Meaty and browned, yet tangy and pink. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. 

Firm, but with a soft center. Succulent without being very stringy. 

No doubt, when you master the art of the roast, you master the art of the compromise.

So, can roast beef be pink? What do experts say in this regard?

Ideally, there has to be some pinkish tinge to your finely roasted beef, but learning how much is too much is just as important as avoiding eating undercooked meat. 

Is Roast Beef Supposed to Be Pink or Not?

roast beef that is pink

Roast beef that has been perfectly caramelized on the outside and is still pink on the inside is a visual and gustatory delight. 

How do you manage to make it look like that? 

And is it okay if it still looks quite pink?

The problem is that meat’s color is not always a reliable indicator of doneness. 

Sometimes, the color changes due to many factors. 

For instance, you may notice your beef maintains a pink color because of:

  • The meat containing nitrates
  • The use of certain root veggies 

What Role Do Nitrates Play in Making Beef Look Pink?

use nitrates on beef

Some types of processed meat, such as cooked or smoked sausage, contain nitrates to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria during processing.

Nitrates have the ability to bind to meat proteins, preventing the release of oxygen molecules during the cooking process.  

Thus, the meat’s oxygenated proteins keep their rosy hue even after being cooked thoroughly.

Tip: Be very careful about the cooking temperature because there be fewer chances of your beef drying out if you cool it to a lower temperature. 

Why Do Root Veggies Turn Beef Pink?

Sometimes, you notice your roast beef to be a bit too pink when you cook using root veggies, such as garlic and onions. 

Why does it happen? Well, nitrates are to be blamed, again!

Nitrates occur naturally and in large concentrations in root veggies. 

root veggies turn pink

You risk having dry, overdone meatloaf if you wait until the center is brown.

You should also bear in mind that muscle meats seasoned with root veggies can also have this “undercooked” look because of their high water content. 

An Important Consideration

The presence of extra seasonings, fat content, pigment and pH levels, and even gas grilling all affect the final color of grilled meats.

When the internal temperature of your meatloaf (or other ground meats) hits 160F, it kills any germs that may have been present.  

Therefore, it is a good idea to use meat thermometers to ensure that meat is cooked thoroughly and securely.

Tip: Reduce the oven temperature to 180 and continue cooking as normal after the initial high-heat searing phase of 15 to 20 minutes to avoid your beef becoming dry. 

Is It Possible for Cooked Ground Beef to Remain Pink Inside?

pink ground beef

Yes, it is, and sometimes, it has nothing to do with how well cooked the beef is.

It is crucial to use a food thermometer while cooking ground beef because you cannot tell whether or not it is done and therefore safe to eat simply by looking at it.

Ground beef products should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F to ensure that all hazardous bacteria have been killed. 

If the internal temperature has reached the desired limit, it is safe to serve beef regardless of its color.  

It is worth mentioning that sometimes myoglobin reacts with the high temperatures in the oven, turning the meat a bright crimson. 

In addition, if nitrite-containing veggies are cooked alongside the meat, this can happen as well.

Is Your Beef Spoiled When Turning Grayish-Brown Inside?

spoiled beef turning gray

The brilliant red color of retail meat results from oxygen reacting with the meat’s pigments, which is why you see it on the surface.

Oxymyoglobin, present in all warm-blooded animals, is the pigment giving the meat its color.  

But, keep in mind that the hue of freshly cut beef is more of a purple.

Moreover, a lack of air can cause the meat’s interior to turn a grayish brown, but if the entire package’s contents have taken on this color, the meat may be spoiled.

Tip: Keep in mind that 10-15 minutes of roasting time is recommended for a beef joint, but the longer the better before you start slicing. 

How Should Your Perfectly Roast Beef Look?

As mentioned, the red color of meat comes from a protein called myoglobin, which is also found in the meat’s fluids. 

Exposed to heat or air, its color changes to brown.

Because of this, properly cooked meat will not be pink in the middle.

a perfect roast beef

Serving roast beef requires making sure it both looks and tastes great. 

On the outside, it should be a golden caramel color, while the inside should be a delicious pinkish red.

Some people prefer meat cooked to a deeper shade of pink than red, which is fine. 

But try not to push it past this point or you will end up with dry, crumbly, and unappealing meat. 

Is Pink Roast Beef Due to Undercooking?

cook pink roast beef

Yes, it is possible and therefore should be confirmed using a meat thermometer.

You want your roast to be at least 145F – preferably 160F – inside before you serve it. 

If it does not reach this temperature and still looks pink, it usually indicates you need to cook it some more.

Quite interestingly, it is also possible to have pink yet overcooked beef. 

If the center of your roast is still pink, it either needs more time in the oven or a higher cooking temperature. 

Is It Safe to Eat Roast Beef in Pink?

is pink roast beef safe to eat

Although no known health risks are associated with eating roast pink, not many would find it particularly appetizing. 

On the contrary, the overwhelming majority of those sampled have found that it tastes unpleasant and metallic.

In most cases, it is safe to eat rare roast beef so long it is not undercooked. 

Only the outermost layer of beef can harbor E. coli, which is killed by cooking at 160F. 

When the temperature is 160 F internally, it is much higher on the surface, making it impossible for bacteria to survive. 

An Important Consideration

You have to be more careful when cooking ground beef because if it is cut and mixed, the cut may become contaminated with bacteria. 

You need to cook it above 160F in most cases.  

What Can Go Wrong for Eating Pink Roast Beef?

what is wrong with pink beef

It is also possible to get sick from eating pink, undercooked roast beef.

Roast beef, like most other types of beef, is normally roasted at a high temperature to remove any potentially hazardous microorganisms. 

The risk of disease increases if you do not cook at a high enough temperature.

It is possible to develop symptoms of food poisoning, such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal cramps from eating undercooked beef. 

Some cases of food poisoning are so severe that the victim dies from dehydration. 

Therefore, the roast beef you consume should be well-cooked before you eat it.

Tip: Use a meat thermometer carefully and ensure that it does not touch a bone because it will give a higher reading than the internal temperature of the meat itself. 

What are the Right Temperatures for Cooking Beef?

The USDA advises that hamburgers and ground beef mixes like meatloaf be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F to ensure food safety.

Keep in mind that you should cook kidney, heart, tongue, liver, and organ meat to an internal temperature of 160F

right temperature when cooking beef

Otherwise, you run the risk of developing food poisoning and other food-borne illnesses.

On the other hand, beef steaks and roasts should be cooked to an internal temperature of no less than 145F before they are removed from the flame.

It is important to mention that resting meat for about three minutes after cooking improves both its quality and safety before being cut or eaten. 


Is roast beef supposed to be pink? Yes, it is possible to have well-cooked yet pink roast beef. 

It sometimes depends on the meat’s quality and the veggies you use while cooking. 

But, keep in mind that sometimes pink represents undercooked beef, which is not safe for consumption.

Using a meat thermometer can save you from a lot of trouble, as you can confirm if it has reached a particular temperature, rendering it safe to eat.