Despite the existence of his vegetable-focused fast-casual restaurant, Beefsteak, chef José Andrés loves to eat animals. “I am obsessed with meat,” the multi-city chef says on a recent episode of the Eater Upsell. “I am a big chunk of meat on two legs.” This advanced appreciation of a carnivorous diet — most on display at his Las Vegas restaurant Bazaar Meat by José Andrés — means that the chef also understands its limitations, namely, that each bite of steak is only good for the first five, juicy seconds.
The problem, according to Andrés, is that after the first few seconds, during which the meat juices “begin floating all around your tongue,” you’re left with “fibers and other things” that you must then spend the next 30 seconds breaking down enough to swallow. “It’s a waste of my life,” says the chef who speculates that those “tasteless moments” can add up to entire days at the end of a meat eater’s lifetime.
Luckily, Andrés has a solution for retaining all of that flavor with none of the jaw-breaking hassle. First, he juices steak with his hands. Then, he takes that juice and puts it into a glass to drink, warm, with a little bit of salt. “Those four seconds that you're drinking the juice of the meat, that's the way we should be eating meat,” he says.
Although Andrés jokes that he took some inspiration from Dracula, the juice from a steak isn’t actually blood — it’s myoglobin, an oxygen-storing protein that changes color when exposed to heat. Oxygenated myoglobin is red, and as a steak cooks and the meat becomes dry, myoglobin goes from red to grayish brown, according to the New York Times’ Curious Cook Harold McGee. There’s no reason, then, to be squeamish about drinking steak juice. Plus, it has the distinction of providing an extreme counterpoint to the approach President Trump, the chef’s legal foe, takes to consuming steak.
Drinking steak juice is also very much in line with the chef’s food philosophy. “I’m trying to make sure that people don’t spend so many hours of their lives — days of their lives — munching something so tasteless,” he says. With his dishes, by “looking for the moment of the juice,” Andrés aims to offer diners at his restaurants more than maximum flavor — he offers them time.
Hear the complete interview with José Andrés below, as he discusses standing up to President Trump, being snubbed by the James Beard Awards, and putting Beefsteaks — his fast-casual vegetable restaurant — in every college town in America. Subscribe to the Eater Upsell on iTunes, or listen on Soundcloud. You can also get the entire archive of episodes right here on Eater.