As with all foods, red meat remains in the digestive tract for at least 24 hours. However, it takes longer to digest than most other foods.
Instantaneously upon ingestion, stomach acids begin to transform solid food into a paste. The total amount of time food spends in the stomach and small intestine is approximately 6 to 8 hours. The small intestine is where the majority of nutrients are absorbed. The food is then transported to the large intestine for additional digestion, absorption of water, and evacuation. Depending on the type of meal, complete elimination can take anywhere from one to four days. Because red meat is more difficult for the body to digest, its total transit time is more likely to approach four days than one.
Digestion times seem to vary between men and women, too. In the 1980s, the Mayo Clinic conducted a research that determined the average transit time in the large intestine was 47 hours for women and 33 hours for males. As a result of the study’s use of markers that take longer to travel through the body than food, these durations are longer than average digesting timeframes.