Cooking meat in ARK offers benefits that you can’t just simply by eating raw meat harvested from creatures. When you need to replenish health or food metrics, eating cooked meat will do a lot more for you – and might help your tames, too.
Understanding not only the different uses for raw or cooked meat but also how to cook, store, and transport meat will help any player in ARK with their adventure.
What is Cooked Meat?
Cooked meat in ARK is just what it sounds like. It’s a piece of meat that has been cooked so that it is no longer raw.
Unlike dinosaur eggs in ARK, meat isn’t differentiated between types of land creatures. The raw meat you get from a Rex is the same as the raw meat from a Raptor, Dodo, or Trike.
There are a few exceptions. You can get raw fish meat from undersea creatures. However, it’s the same meat, whether it’s a Sabertooth Salmon or a Megalodon. You can also get raw mutton from an Ovis.
Raw meat and raw fish meat can also come in a higher quality called Prime Raw Meat or Prime Fish Meat.
The real difference in types of meat is cooked versus raw. Raw meat has its uses, but cooked meat is an essential food item for any player character in ARK.
How to Cook Meat in ARK
While there are a few different places where you can cook meat, the process itself is basically the same no matter which you use. The two main places that players can cook meat are the campfire and the Industrial Grill.
- Approach the cooking device that you’re planning to use.
- Press the Use key to access its inventory.
- Drag the raw meat from your inventory into the inventory of the cooking device.
- Add the required fuel into its inventory.
- Start the device.
- Wait for the meat to cook.
- Drag the cooked meat into your inventory. You can keep it there or move it into a storage device if you so choose.
One of the crucial things to decide is which cooking device you want to use.
The campfire is an easy choice for early-game players. It’s available immediately and doesn’t take much in the way of building materials. Once it’s ready, you can set it down anywhere, add thatch or wood for fuel, and have meat cooking in a matter of moments.
- One piece of raw meat takes 20 seconds to cook in the campfire. A stack of 15 takes five minutes, and a stack of 30 takes ten minutes.
- One piece of raw mutton takes one minute to cook in the campfire. A stack of 15 takes 15 minutes, and a stack of 30 takes 30 minutes.
- One piece of raw fish meat takes 20 seconds to cook in the campfire. A stack of 15 takes five minutes, and a stack of 30 takes ten minutes.
- Prime meat cooks at the same speed as standard quality meats.
To make a campfire, you must combine:
- One flint
- Two wood
- 12 thatch
- 16 stone
You craft it directly from your inventory.
The industrial grill is a great way to cook large amounts of meat at once. However, it is an expensive device to make and definitely geared more toward endgame players.
- One piece of raw meat takes 18 seconds to cook in the campfire. A stack of 15 takes 36 seconds, and a stack of 30 takes 54 seconds.
- One piece of raw mutton takes 18 seconds to cook in the campfire. A stack of 15 takes 36 minutes, and a stack of 30 takes 54 seconds.
- One piece of raw fish meat takes 18 seconds to cook in the campfire. A stack of 15 takes 36 seconds, and a stack of 30 takes 54 seconds.
- Prime meat cooks at the same speed as standard quality meats.
As you can see, it makes a great deal of meat at once. This is especially helpful if you’re feeding many animals cooked meat or planning to stock up for a trip.
To craft an industrial grill, you must combine:
- 30 crystal
- 40 oil
- 40 cementing paste or achatina paste
- 200 metal ingots
It’s crafted in a fabricator or tek replicator. Also, it runs on gasoline and will stay active for 40 minutes for each unit of gasoline you put in it.
Another option to cook meat in ARK is in a tamed Phoenix. You can use the creatures as a mobile cooking station once tame.
- One piece of raw meat takes 5 seconds to cook in the campfire. A stack of 15 takes one minute 15 seconds, and a stack of 30 takes two minutes and 30 seconds.
Phoenixes are challenging to tame. You have to hit them with fire-based weapons a bit at a time until you finally finish filling their taming bar. They have to eat sulfur once tame. It can take a while to get a Phoenix, so understanding how to use and prepare meat at your base is beneficial until you can get this late-game tame.
Where you store cooked meat affects how long it takes before it spoils. (Once cooked meat spoils, it becomes spoiled meat just like raw meat.)
- If you keep cooked meat in your inventory, a piece from each stack spoils in 20 minutes. If you have four stacks of 50, four pieces of meat spoil every twenty minutes. If you have ten stacks of 20, ten pieces of meat spoil every twenty minutes.
- Add cooked meat into the inventory of a tamed dinosaur, and its spoil timer is extended to one hour and 20 minutes.
- In a preserving bin, meat lasts for three hours and 20 minutes.
- In a refrigerator, it lasts for one day, nine hours, and 20 minutes.
Remember to check your settings and mods for the actual spoil timer. It has been different on most servers I’ve been on because of custom settings.
You can also take another step and turn your meat into cooked meat jerky. This dramatically increases the amount of time the meat lasts.
Making cooked meat jerky is easy once you have access to many mid-game items like oil. Many players choose to change most of their meat into jerky rather than storing plain cooked meat.
- Open the inventory of the preserving bin.
- Place three sparkpowder, one unit of oil, and a piece of cooked meat into its inventory.
- Wait for the process to finish. It takes a preserving bin 36 minutes to craft one piece of cooked meat jerky.
Because the cooked meat jerky cook time is so long, many tribes choose to have multiple preserving bins going at once to help make the most of their cooked meat.
- A piece lasts for two days in a player’s inventory.
- A piece lasts for eight days in a tame dinosaur’s inventory.
- The timer is extended to 20 days if you leave it in the preserving bin.
- The timer is extended to 200 days if you put it in the refrigerator.
As you can see, the increased spoil timer makes cooked meat jerky the best for food storage because you can rest assured it will be available longer.
Recipes with Meat
There are a few recipes in ARK that require cooked meat. These give you a series of different effects.
- Enduro Stew gives you increased health regeneration for 15 minutes. You can make it in the cooking pot with a container of water, ten mejoberries, nine cooked meat (or fish meat or cooked meat jerky), five rockarrots, five savoroots, and two stimulants.
- Focal Chili increases your movement speed and crafting speed for 15 minutes. You can make it in a cooking pot with 20 amarberries, 20 tintoberries, 20 azulberries, ten mejoberries, nine cooked meat (or fish meat or cooked meat jerky), and five citronal.
- Lazarus Chowder increases your health recovery and decreases the amount of oxygen you use. It’s a great food to bring on dives. You can make it in the cooking pot with a container of water, ten mejoberries, nine cooked meat (or fish meat or cooked meat jerky), five longrass, five savoroots, and two narcotics.
If you’re new to ARK, you might not know that you don’t always get the exact yield with every harvesting tool. For example, a pick is better than a hatchet. With a pick, you get more meat. With a hatchet, you get more hide at the expense of meat.
Consider taming a large carnivore to get the absolute best raw meat yield, consider taming a large carnivore. The Rex, Allosaurus, Gigantasaur, and Gacha are all excellent options for tribes that need a great deal of raw meat at once.