If you are a steak fan, you will know that steak is a delicacy, and when cooked right, can be the best tasting food in the world. But, how do you tell if steak is good or bad? Read on to find out more.
Steak is considered to be a nutritious food, as it contains high amounts of protein, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, and other trace minerals.
But – steak isn’t always good for you – not only because it is high in fats, but also because it can cause dire food poisoning if eaten after it has started to go bad.
If you have had a packet of steak in the back of the fridge for a while, or picked one up from the discount aisle of the grocery store, then you will want to read this article.
We have compiled this quick guide to help you to tell if your steak has gone past its best. If you want to know how to tell if steak is safe to eat, then read this article.
How To Tell If Your Steak Has Gone Bad
Often, the first thing that we look at when we are trying to decipher whether food has gone bad is the date on the side of the packet – however, this doesn’t always provide the clearest picture of if your food is safe to eat.
Though some people don’t know this – there’s a big difference between a sell-bye and a use-by date. A sell-by date tells you when you can sell something – so it is still very safe to eat after this date.
A use-by date tells you how long something can stay in your refrigerator before it goes bad. You should always check the sell-by date first.
If you put meat in the freezer, you might want to check the use-by date as well – so that you have enough time to freeze and re-thaw it without it starting to go bad. You should put your steak in the fridge as soon as possible after buying it.
After 2 days, you should cook it, which will extend its life in your refrigerator. For example, if the use by date on your steak is the 16th, then you should freeze it on the 14th, so it will still be good by the time you eat it.
Freezing it at least two days before the use by date will give you a two-day window to thaw a steak in the fridge, and eat it, before it has the chance to spoil according to the original use by date.
How Long Should You Keep Steak In The Fridge
Steak you buy at the grocery store should be eaten or frozen within three to five days after purchase. If you have thawed a steak, write down the day you took it out of the freezer, and then work out the day it should be eaten by, and strictly stick to this date.
Cooked steak should be refrigerated within 3-4 days. Refrigeration extends shelf life by slowing bacterial growth. The longer you leave cooked meat out, the greater the chance of getting sick, and harmful foodborne bacteria increase.
Slimy Steak – A Tell Tale Sign Of Rot
The most tell-tale sign of meat that has started to go bad or spoiled is that it will develop a slimy, filmy layer on the surface of the meat. You will be able to see or feel this. It can be either clear or yellow in color, and will increase the shiny appearance of the meat.
It may also develop a sticky feel when you touch it, which is abnormal for good steak. Often, this shiny, sticky film precedes the steak developing mold.
Mold is another very definite sign that your steak has unfortunately spoiled, and needs to be thrown out. It will be loaded with harmful bacteria, and will cause food poisoning if eaten.
Alternately, if your steak is not shiny and sticky, but has turned a different color, and has taken a brown, yellow or green tint (contrasted to the bright red/pink that it should be), you may also have spoiled beef.
Whether this color is spread across the steak, or is in a few specific patches, you should still avoid eating the steak. In particular, a steak that has been completely spoiled will start to look a bit more like a tuna steak (rather than beef). Don’t eat this!
An Off-Putting Smell Can Signal Spoilage
Steak doesn’t smell like roses, but you should still be able to easily tell the difference between a fresh steak that is still safe to eat, and a spoiled steak just by the way that they smell. A steak that has spoiled will smell quite potent, and may have a whiff of ammonia about it.
You will know this smell as soon as you smell it, and it is an absolute sure fire sign that you should not eat your steak.
A Dry Steak Is A Bad Steak
Steak should be moist and juicy when cooked, so if your steak appears to be dry and free of that juice, then you should probably stay away from it. Dryness means it was stored improperly.
You shouldn’t leave your steaks in the fridge for too long before cooking them, especially uncovered. Steak meals should be stored in a sealed package to avoid exposure to air. This will preserve the meat, by keeping it easy from bacteria, yucky smells, oxidization, and air.
That being said, there are some situations where a dry steak isn’t actually a bad steak – if you can easily find a reason why the steak may be drier than usual, such as you thawed it and the juices ran out of the bag, and it is still before its use by date, then you may still be able to eat it.
However, if it partnered with another sign, such as an expired use by date or a foul smell, then we think that you shouldn’t risk it!
How Long Can A Steak Be Frozen
Steak can safely be kept in the freezer for anywhere between 4 and 12 months. As we have already established, you should freeze it a few days before the use by date, to ensure that you have enough time to thaw it without any food spoilage.
Still, it is always best to examine the steak after it has thawed and before you cook it, just to be on the safe side!
How To Keep Steak Fresher For Longer
Steak should be stored in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it within 2 days. If you plan to store it longer than 2 days, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil, and then pop it in your freezer.
Steaks should be frozen as soon as possible after purchasing them, if you are not going to eat them soon, to avoid the risk of them spoiling during the thawing process.
Vacuum sealers can also work wonders, as they help to ensure that steaks stay fresh and avoid freezer burn.
Grocery stores often offer discounts on meat when the best use date approaches, but if you purchase steaks at one of these discount prices, then you should eat it shortly after purchase – probably on the same day, to ensure its safety.
Even when freezing, it can be risky, as it may go off whilst defrosting.
In conclusion, we have identified all the most common signs of a steak that has spoiled, so that you can avoid consuming or dealing with any spoiled meat.
Food hygiene is essential, so keep your steaks vacuum packed, and maybe even freeze them until you are ready to eat them.