5 ways to safely eat raw meat [30 Days in the Raw, Day 4]

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When I tell folks I’m eating raw for 30 Days the first response is just a slight “oh, one of your crazy food experiments again.” But when I explain that this is not raw vegan, but what is termed “raw primal” and includes raw eggs, dairy, fish, AND meat, I get some serious raised eye brows. Some are polite enough just to say, “how interesting…” while others go straight to the point “isn’t it dangerous to eat raw meat?”

Short answer: it depends. We all know we’re taking a certain amount of risk every time we order a plate of sushi. We also know (or hope) that the restaurant took certain precautions to make the experience as safe as possible.

Here are 5 ways to eat raw meat safely:

1) Ensure you’re eating high quality, meat from pastured animals.

This is by far the most important of the five, and if this is all you do, it’s going to go a long way. Max Kane spoke of this in his interview yesterday. Food safety starts with the animal: how it was raised, what it ate, how healthy it was.

For these 30 days, any raw meat we eat is exclusively coming from trusted sources of exceptionally healthy 100% grass fed cows or bison. Our main source is J&J’s Grasfed Beef.

To find your closest farmer, check out the amazing free service FarmMatch.com to find exactly what meat you’re looking for.

This same principle goes for anything you eat raw: dairy, fish, eggs, etc. Quality is of paramount importance.

2) Freeze the meat for 14 days

Freezing any meat or fish for 14 days kills all pathogens. It’s that simple. This is how sushi restaurants do it. First: highest possible quality fish; second: frozen for 14 days.

3) Once the meat thaws, keep it very cold and eat immediately

You wouldn’t take home sushi, keep it on your counter for a few hours and then eat it. You likewise wouldn’t take home sushi, put it in the fridge for several days and then eat it. Exact same thing goes for raw meat. Fresh is best.

4) Citrus sear it

Have you ever eaten ceviche? That is raw fish soaked in lemon or lime overnight in the refrigerator to “sear” the fish – killing any potential pathogens from the surface of the fish. This is a common way to eat raw chicken. Now, I have to confess – I’m not a huge chicken fan at the best of times, and the idea of raw chicken, even seared, makes me a bit squeamish. I’m going to listen to my gut on this one, but it’s certainly something that is commonly done.

5) Ferment it

Say what? Yup, you can ferment meat, fish, and dairy. Dairy is the obvious one: yogurt, kefir, cheese, etc. But fish and meat? Absolutely! Gravlax, as one example, is fermented salmon and definitely on our recipe list for this month. We’ll be playing around with this and will share our experience as we dive into it.

Any tips you use to safely consume raw meat? What about favorite recipes? Please share in the comments below.



  1. Pingback: 5 ways to safely eat raw meat [30 Days in the Raw, Day 4] – Eat Naked | Know What You Eat

  2. I always love your posts, Margaret!

    Two of my 5-year-old’s favorite dishes are steak tartar and raw salmon with tamari. This is a kid who will not eat fish if it’s cooked. I’ve always served very rare tenderloin steaks for dinner once a week (with bone broth reduction gravy with lots of raw sour cream mixed in!), and he has a real taste for that tender, almost-raw beef. (Our almost-two-year-old loves raw salmon as well!)

    I used to make tartar from a very expensive local grass-fed ground steak, but I never get into the market to buy it these days. I’m going to try mincing grass-fed tenderloin instead. When I made it from the ground steak I would just mix with raw egg, tamari (to taste), and a bit of expeller-pressed sesame oil, then plate in a pretty mound topped with snipped parsley. So delicious! I love how easy it is to prepare foods raw.

    As for raw vegetables…definitely can’t do raw cauliflower couscous, and I bet a lot of people are with me on this as it can cause real gastric distress. Fermented is a completely different story, so I will be sticking with fermented vegetables for most of my “raw” cruciferous veggies.

  3. jeni


    i LOVE it. ive been eating raw meat as long as i can recall(starting with stealing off my mothers cutting board when she was making fajitas, when i wasnt even old enough to see the countertop. after more than 20 years of enjoying my beef and fish this way, i kind of assume ive come into contact with most of the available pathogens, and im just immune. most think im completely nuts for it, but i was never interested in it cooked.(or chicken, cooked or not, in any form) im just glad im not alone in this as a diet choice. my child also loves it, although she does get it in cevichi form rather than straight raw, shes only 1.

    • Brenon Duff


      I admire and envy both you and your child. It would have been nice to have been raised this way. I’m 64 and just started eating this way a few years ago. I was raw vegan for 12 years but that wasn’t working for me at the end. I realize now I was way off in omega-3 omega-6 ratio. I feel much better eating some animal foods raw now, mainly raw mackerel from Norway, raw butter grass-fed, and raw pastured egg yolks.

  4. Darren


    Freezing meat will not kill pathogenic bacteria. I work in biotech, and it is quite routine to store E. coli at -80 degrees C for years. They come right back to life when you bring them out of the freezer. In fact, NASA has shown that several strains of bacteria can survive the freezing vacuum of space for extended periods of time.

    • Val P


      The main point to freeze meet and fish is to kill parasites and their eggs, not bacteria. If you have a strong good immune system which is the norm on raw food diet that E. coli or not, you dont have to worry much, even salmonella is a small nuisance after all.

  5. Jeremy Ellington


    I just had a nice New York Strip steak that was raw and a co-worker freaked out. When I eat raw beef I buy top grade semi lean beef because the fat isn’t great uncooked. I usually let it sit on the counter with Dales marinade and Worcestershire sauce and maybe a little smear of A-1 for a couple days so it’s basically cured from the high salt content. I’ve never had any issues with being sick from eating this way.

    • debbie Klose


      Hello, is it ok to prepare raw meat ahead of time , like 2-3 days with raw butter and raw cheese and seasoning. I need something that I cab grab and go for simplicity on long work days as I have chronic insomnia. Id like to prepare ahead of time the raw meat dish and store in glass container to consume for lunch. Is this ok to do ?

  6. Jolene


    We butchered a large (500lb easy) sow in november,after kill and dress out we let her sit in the cool for 9 days, cut her up and had our first raw pork shoulder, it was delicious! I know freezing does not kill pathogens,almost all commercial meat is frozen at some point and that stuff is loaded with bacteria. I think if you have to buy meat you should freeze it to kill parasites,a lot of commercial pork livers get trashed because they have white spots on them from parasitic worms,but they still sell the rest of the pig. Trichinosis is a parasite,and while rare can still technically be in any mammalian or avian meat. Trichinosis is ,from what i understand, only transmitted via meat, so if you can get vegetarian fed meat it should eliminate it. Pigs ,in my experience, are strict vegetarians when it comes to their own choice,so pastured pork is a good bet if you want to venture into raw pork. Most people have heard of beef tartar,but when we said we ate raw pork everyone we told said “ewww” but we love it raw now. Enjoy your raw meat and happy new year.

    • f


      vegetarian fed meat will not change your chances of getting trich from the meat. pigs naturally have trichinosis, can get it from anything.

  7. Lyn


    This is awesome! I tried raw mutton the other day and didn’t die so I’m getting more curious! I don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to try raw chicken though. If you process the meat yourself how quickly does it need to freeze to still be safe. I tried it same day, but wasn’t sure how freezing would affect it. Also where do you thaw it, in the fridge or on the counter? Thanks!

    • i would freeze as quickly as you can, and I always thawed it in the fridge just to be safe. I’m sure others would do it at room temperature, but I tend to be scatterbrained and am afraid I’d forget it was thawing and come back when it had been sitting out for hours…

  8. Pingback: Everyone Can Act Like A Savage Man – UCI Humanities Blogs

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