Is It Safe To Eat Steak Tartare?

Steak tartare is a French dish that has gained immense popularity worldwide in recent years. It is essentially a raw beef dish that is often seasoned with herbs, spices, and other condiments. While many people enjoy this delicacy, there is an ongoing debate regarding its safety. The question remains – is it safe to eat steak tartare?

Some food experts warn that consuming raw or undercooked meat can be dangerous as it may contain harmful bacteria. However, others argue that consuming raw beef is perfectly safe as long as it is sourced from a reputable provider and handled with care. In this article, we explore the safety of eating steak tartare and examine the potential risks involved.

The History and Origins of Steak Tartare

Steak Tartare, a dish that is made from raw beef, has been around for centuries and is believed to have originated in Europe. The dish was originally named after the Tartars, who were nomadic tribes that lived in the Mongolian and Russian regions of the world. These tribes are believed to have introduced the concept of using raw meat in their diet, and it eventually spread to other parts of Europe.

Moreover, the popularity of Steak Tartare continued to rise in Europe during the 19th century. It was a favorite dish among the upper class and was often served as a delicacy at elite restaurants. Today, Steak Tartare is still a popular dish in many countries, with variations to its recipe. However, the use of raw meat in its preparation has raised concerns over its safety, raising the question of whether it is safe to eat Steak Tartare or not.

The Traditional Recipe for Steak Tartare

Steak Tartare is a traditional French dish made of finely minced beef seasoned with spices and served raw. The dish originated in the 19th century and is still enjoyed today in France and in many other parts of the world.

The traditional recipe for Steak Tartare includes raw beef, raw egg yolk, capers, onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. The beef is usually cut from the tenderloin or the ribeye and is finely chopped or ground. The dish is served chilled and accompanied by bread or crackers. While the dish may seem a little unappetizing to some due to its raw nature, it is a delicacy enjoyed by many and is also considered to be very healthy. However, it is necessary to source high-quality meat from a reputable supplier to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

The Risks of Eating Raw Beef

Raw beef is not entirely safe to consume as it may carry harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The risks associated with eating raw beef include E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria infections. These microorganisms can cause severe symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea.

Moreover, the risk of consuming contaminated raw beef increases with the quantity of bacteria present in the meat. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that the meat is obtained from a reliable source. Additionally, the preparation and storage of the meat should be done correctly, including washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards thoroughly after handling raw beef, and keeping it refrigerated at all times. It is vital to practice food safety measures to decrease the risk of food poisoning caused by consuming raw beef.

How to Safely Prepare Steak Tartare

Preparing steak tartare can be dangerous if not done properly. Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure that your steak tartare is safe to eat:

1. Start with fresh, high-quality beef: Only use fresh beef that has been properly refrigerated and handled. Look for beef that is bright red, with no signs of discoloration or odor.
2. Clean and sanitize all equipment: Make sure all utensils and surfaces are clean and sanitized before handling the beef to avoid cross-contamination.
3. Use pasteurized egg yolks: Pasteurized egg yolks are free from harmful bacteria such as salmonella, which can lead to food poisoning.
4. Keep ingredients refrigerated: Keep all ingredients refrigerated and only take them out of the fridge when necessary to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria.
5. Serve immediately: Once the steak tartare is prepared, serve it immediately to ensure that it stays fresh and safe to eat.

By following these guidelines, you can safely prepare and enjoy delicious steak tartare.

Alternatives to Raw Meat in Steak Tartare

If you’re not a fan of raw meat but still want to try steak tartare, there are several alternatives that you can consider. One of the easiest swaps is to use diced cooked beef instead of raw beef. This will give you a similar texture and look, without the concerns of eating raw meat. You can also try making tartare with seafood, such as diced raw tuna or salmon.

Another alternative is to use ground beef that has been cooked to medium-rare or rare, depending on your preference. This way, you’ll still get the flavor and texture of the dish, but with the added safety of well-cooked meat. Some people also like to add cooked bacon or prosciutto to their tartare for added flavor and texture. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that there are many variations of steak tartare, and you can experiment with different ingredients to find a version that you enjoy and feel comfortable eating.

Popular Variations of Steak Tartare Around the World

Steak tartare is a dish that has influenced various variations around the world. One such variation is the French style tartare, which includes finely chopped meat mixed with onions and capers, served with a raw egg yolk on top. The beef used is typically served raw or barely seared, making it a popular option for those who enjoy the unique taste of raw meat.

Another popular variation is the Korean dish of yukhoe or beef tartare. This dish is made with raw beef that is thinly sliced and marinated in various sauces and spices such as soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic. It is often served with raw egg yolk and sometimes garnished with fruits or vegetables. These delicious variations demonstrate that steak tartare is a dish that is enjoyed in various forms around the world.

Final Thoughts: Is Eating Steak Tartare Worth the Risk?

In conclusion, whether or not eating steak tartare is worth the risk is a personal decision. While it does offer a unique dining experience, the potential for foodborne illness cannot be ignored. It’s crucial to ensure that the dish is prepared by a reputable chef using quality ingredients and that the meat is properly sourced, handled, and stored.

Ultimately, it’s best to weigh the potential health risks against the enjoyment of the dish before indulging in steak tartare. If you decide to try it, be sure to do so responsibly, and if you have any reservations or health concerns, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Safety should always come first when it comes to consuming raw or undercooked meat dishes.


Consuming raw meat can be a risky endeavor, especially when it comes to steak tartare. While it is a popular dish in many parts of the world, there is a greater chance of contracting a food-borne illness if the meat is not properly prepared or stored. However, if it is made with high-quality ingredients, and the necessary precautions are taken, it can be a delicious and safe treat for adventurous eaters.

If you are considering trying steak tartare for the first time, be sure to do your research and find a reputable restaurant that follows proper food safety protocols. Always ask the chef about the origin and handling of the meat and check for any health warnings on the menu. With the appropriate care, you can enjoy the unique taste of this traditional dish without putting your health at risk.

Leave a Comment