What’s the Shelf Life of Frozen Meat? Here’s How to Store Your Steak

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Thawed steak

Photo by Steven Depolo licensed under CC BY 2.0

You purchased some of the most incredible steaks you’ve ever feasted your eyes on from Chicago Steak Company. Now that they’re here, how can you store them properly so that they taste fresh even a month or two from now?

If you buy steak and other meats in bulk, you need to know how to store them in the refrigerator or freezer without ruining them. The last thing you want to do is gnaw on freezer-burnt steak, which is a real possibility if you leave it in the freezer for too long or don’t take proper care to store it correctly.

What’s the Shelf Life for Frozen Beef and Steak?

Generally, most steaks and other cuts of beef can last between 6 and 12 months in the freezer, given that you store it correctly, which we’ll get to in a moment.

You’ll also want to check the Use By dates on your beef when you purchase them. You’ll need at least a couple of days to thaw your beef or steak in the refrigerator, so your Used By date should be, preferably, five days or so from the date you purchased it.

Is there any difference for how long you can freeze steak from Chicago Steak Company? We recommend sticking with the 6 to 12-month rule for our steaks, too. Our steaks arrive frozen and packed in dry ice. We also vacuum-seal our products so no moisture or air gets in or out, which can affect the flavor and texture of the meat. You can choose to keep your steaks frozen or thaw them out in the refrigerator to enjoy for an upcoming meal.

How Long Can Meat Stay in the Freezer?

If you want to know how long can you keep meat in the freezer, the answer will vary with different meats. A whole ham or ham slices can usually remain in the freezer for up to two months, while a whole turkey or chicken can last up to a year. You can also freeze some cooked or leftover meats for two to three months, but you should always follow good storage procedures to keep meat as fresh as possible.

How to Store Raw Meat in the Freezer

A proper seal is the key to getting the most out of your refrigerated or frozen meat shelf life. If you plan to buy meat in bulk most of the time, you might want to invest in a vacuum sealing system, which can be beneficial for storing any type of meat in the freezer or fridge. Even though the shelf life of frozen beef can be up to 12 months, you’ll find that, without a good seal, the beef has a chewy texture and odd flavor from too much air and condensation getting into the package.

The best practice is to remove all store wrapping from the meat and use bags meant for the freezer (it’s worth it to spend a little extra for better bags!) or a vacuum sealer to place the meat in. Place your packages in the freezer and freeze them as quickly as possible. You can do this by using a quick freezer or placing ice packs directly on the meat packages to prevent ice crystals from forming and depleting the meat of its juices.

Best Ways to Thaw Meats

Now that you know about meat life in the freezer, let’s talk about thawing your meat so you can enjoy it!

You’ve probably been told that thawing anything at room temperature or with warm water is a big faux pas. If so, the information you got is correct! Thawing meat this way keeps it out of the safe zone for too long, which makes it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Instead, if possible, thaw all meat in the refrigerator. Depending on thickness, you might need to wait a couple of days for a full thaw. If you absolutely can’t wait that long, you can place the meat under cold, running water. Or, use your microwave! Just make sure that you remove the meat from the microwave before it begins cooking and then cook it in the oven, on the stove or grill immediately.

How Long Can You Refrigerate Steak?

Like frozen meats, refrigerated meats will have different shelf lives, depending on the type of and how it’s packaged. Generally, vacuum-sealed meats can last much longer in the fridge than  if it’s loosely-wrapped. Most steaks can last up to five days in the fridge. Ham tends to last a day or two beyond others, and poultry might have a little bit shorter shelf life of around three to four days.

Be sure to check the Use By date and stick to that. You shouldn’t keep meat in the refrigerator beyond that date. Don’t be tempted to throw it in the freezer if it’s reached its Use By date, either. Remember that it will need a few days to thaw, which could put it past its expiration once it thaws.

Conclusion: How Long Does Steak Last in the Freezer?

“How long can meat be in the freezer?” is a common question to have, and one that’s extremely important to answer if you want the freshest meat possible. We hope that we’ve given you some guidance so that your Chicago Steak Company meats can stay be as fresh as the day you received them when you’re ready to eat them. The FDA’s handy guide for freezing and refrigeration times can help you determine how long to store various meats for, too.

Ready to buy some steaks to store in the freezer? Head to Chicago Steak Company and pick your meats from our incredible selection of steaks, roasts, chicken, and more!