Storing steak in the refrigerator or freezer can slow down the spoiling process if you’re not going to eat it right away. However, neither place will keep your meat fresh forever. Steaks can, and do, go bad, even in the freezer, if they’re not stored properly or if they’re stored for too long. The last thing you want is for your favorite food to make you sick. These tell-tale signs will help you know when it’s gone past its safe point.
The Use-By Date Has Passed
This seems pretty obvious, but a lot of people don’t know that there’s a difference between a sell-by and use-by date. Plus, what if you put your steak in the freezer? Those dates no longer apply.
The sell-by date is what the store must go by. If a steak has a sell-by date of May 13th, the store must sell it by that time to give the purchaser ample time to use it. The steak should still be okay to eat for a few days after that date. Now, if the use-by date on that steak is May 16th, you’ll need to cook or freeze it by that date. After that date, there’s a good chance it may spoil.
If you want to freeze your steak before its use-by date, be sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time for it to thaw and still be safe to eat. With a use-by date of May 16th, you should get your steak in the freezer by May 14th. This will give you a two-day window to get the steak thawed (most only take about 24 hours, but some thick cuts may need closer to 48 hours) before it could spoil according to its original use-by date.
You’ve Had it in Your Fridge for…You Can’t Remember How Long
Writing a date on steak when you thaw it or put it in the fridge is best practice so that you don’t forget about it and store it for too long. Get into the habit of writing your own use-by date if the store or butcher didn’t put one on there for you. Most steaks can be left in the fridge safely for 3 to 5 days. If you can’t remember how long it’s been there, it’s probably been in the fridge for too long!?
It’s Slimy in Appearance or to the Touch
A slimy film that you can see or feel on a piece of steak is a sign of spoilage. It’ll be clear or yellowish in color but will make the steak appear shinier than usual. It will also have a slippery or sticky feel when you run your fingers over it. Steak will usually get this slimy film on it a couple of days before it begins to mold.
If you don’t yet see film on your steak but it has a strange color, like more brown, yellow, or green than the bright, purplish-red it should have, you might also have spoiled beef. You might see just a few patches of discoloration rather than the whole steak slab, but spots are still a sign it’s unsafe to eat.
It Has an Off-Putting Smell
Raw steak doesn’t necessarily smell the greatest, but you’ll usually be able to tell a distinct difference between a good steak and a spoiled one just by using your nose. A spoiled steak will have a potent scent that no longer smells like raw meat, but instead has an ammonia-clad aroma. You’ll definitely know it when you smell it!
Conclusion: How to Check for Spoiled Steak
The above pointers will help you tell the difference between fresh and spoiled steak. Want to know how to avoid dealing with spoiled meat? Purchase from Chicago Steak Company! Our steaks come vacuum-sealed and flash frozen to preserve every ounce of freshness for as long as possible. Keep them frozen until you’re ready to eat them, thaw the steaks in the fridge by keeping them in their airtight packaging, and cook away. You’ll benefit from fresh steaks delivered right to your door that have the potential to outlast any steak from the grocery store or butcher when you use the right storing, freezing, and