cold cooking

Joined Apr 1, 2002
I have been searching many search engines and sites trying to find information on safe cold cooking. A friend of mine has a partial family recipe involving lemon juice, jalapenos, and steak. Apparently, one sticks these ingredients in the refrigerator for a period of time and the lemon juice "cooks" the steak. My problem is that I have heard from a few people that this can be dangerous as the lemon juice may not "cook" the steak thoroughly if you leave it in for too short a period of time and also that leaving it in too long may result in safety/health issues as well. Any ideas, solutions, or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Joined May 6, 2001
I would do a search under "curing meats" instead of "cold cooking". I've never heard of this method though; only smoking, salting, and aging of meats.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
A pH of 4 will kill most bacteria. Acid also denatures the proteins and "cooks" it in that sense. Do a search for ceviche (or seviche) and see what you come up with.



Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
I have never heard of "cooking" a whole steak this way, but there are many other items that use an acid to "cook" food. Usually the food is cut into very small pieces so that the acid can penetrate all the way through. The best example of this is the Latino dish Seviche (Ceviche). Raw seafood is finely diced, and then tossed with numerous different acids though usually it is a citrus juice of some sort. The seafood is left to "cook" in this acid until done (usually 1/2 to 1 hour, though sometimes for a shorter period). It is then tossed with various ingredients ranging from chiles to tomatos, to tropical fruits, depending on the style you are trying to make.

Beef is less often prepared this way, and those that usually are, are tossed just before serving so as to not cook the meat too much. Dishes such as tartare or carpaccio usually have some acid component to them, thus they are tossed at the last minute so that the meat doesn't cook.

As for safety, there is always a risk involved in eating raw meat, be it seafood or beef. I have yet to get sick from any such raw preparation. You just need to take a few precautions.

1. buy from someone you trust and let them know that it is being used for a raw preparation so that you get the freshest available

2. keep all your equipment as cold as possible during preparation and only work with a little of the meat at a time, and cut it into a bowl placed in an ice bath

3. be very careful of cross-contamination. And WASH your hands constantly

4. Eat what you make, don't save it for the next day.

Follow these simple rules and your raw meat preparations should be safe, though once again, there is always a risk eating raw meats. And as one other disclaimer, before I go, pork or chicken tartare is a big NO-NO!!!!!:eek: :eek: :eek:
Joined Mar 21, 2002
Ceviche's are great and relatively safe as long as you are working with fresh ingredients. Pete was right on point with his guidelines. Acid breaks down the protiens in meat in much the same way that heat (cooking) does, which is why someone might call it cold cooking. Basically you aren't really "cooking" it though.

Joined Nov 14, 2001
intresting fact is that almost all bacteria that occurs in meat is on the outside of it the only way it penitrates the meat is in the blood stream (mad cow disease) . When i make carpaccio i trim the fat off ensuring i do not penitrate the meat then i refridgerate it until very cool and sear it in a hot pan then slice thinly and plate no acid involved and i've never run into a problem. Alot of the beef u are going to recieve if ur in the USA is going to be tested for alot of diseases u and i have never even heard of. I bet that this turn off of carpaccio uses the lime juice not just for cooking but to release the flavors of the pepper u use. I say don't worry about it and go for it,lol:chef:

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