Beefsteak Mushroom
(Fistulina hepatica)

Beefsteak Mushroom Sculpture

Beefsteak Mushroom

Sculpture, acrylic paint by "Wildman"

This unbelievable polypore looks and tastes remarkably like beefsteak. It's pink inside, gelatinous and marbled, like beefsteak. When it's young, it even bleeds a reddish juice when you cut it.
Beefsteak Mushroom, Cut

Beefsteak Mushroom, cut

Note the marbled, juicy steak appearance.

As it ages, the color fades to reddish-brown, and the flesh dries out.

The soft, spoon-shaped to fan-shaped, flat, reddish, slimy cap is 3-10 inches wide, 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches thick.

Beefsteak Mushroom Cap

Beefsteak Mushroom cap

As the cap ages, the color goes from red to brown.

The pores on the underside of the cap are very tiny, only a millimeter across. In cross section, the tubes that lead to the pores are about half an inch long, and you can easily separate the tubes from each other, characteristic of the genus Fistulina. The spore print is light pink.
Beefsteak Mushroom Pore Surface

Beefsteak Mushroom Pore Surface

Young Beefsteak Mushrooms

Very Young Beefsteak Mushrooms on Log

At first, this mushroom is red, white, and pink.

Almost any cooking method works with this choice, sour-flavored mushroom. If you season it with the same herbs and spices people use with beef, and include ingredients to make the dish filling, you can create outstanding mock beef dishes.

Of course, if you're a vegetarian who dislikes meat substitutes, you can use different seasonings and still wind up with excellent mushroom dishes.