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How To Tell If Steak Is Bad

is your steak bad

There is nothing more exciting than a great steak and it is something which many of us look forward to, especially on those special occasions.

However, if your steak has gone bad then this dish is less than appetizing. But how to tell if steak is bad?

Having someone prepare a steak for you allows you to sit back and look forward to a great meal, but if you’re the one cooking then it can soon turn into chaos.

If you want a delicious meal, then it is necessary to see the signs of a bad steak. In this article, we will be highlighting all of these signs to help you serve the finest steak dish without any issues.

Signs Your Steak Has Gone Bad

It is very easy for steak to turn bad, especially if you haven’t stored it correctly or you have forgotten about it.

Because of this, it is important to notice the signs of spoilage before it’s too late. The worst thing you can do is ingest something which shouldn’t be eaten for it can make you seriously sick. Food poisoning is no joke!


A quick and simple way to tell if your steak has gone bad is the smell. This smell can be described as an ammonia-clad aroma and this smell is very easy to notice.

You should quickly notice this smell as it is very different to the smell of raw meat and dispose of it as necessary.

Make sure to dispose of it quickly too as you don’t want it leaving a foul odor in your fridge.


An easy tell-tale sign of spoiled steak is if the meat has turned slimy. You will be able to notice this either by its physical appearance (there will be a film of slime on the meat) or by the touch itself.

If your steak doesn’t appear to be slimy, try running your finger along the meat. You will be able to notice right away if the steak is slimy and in that case you should not eat it.

This is only the start as soon mold will develop, therefore contaminating the meat completely.


Raw steak should be full of moisture and is a general sign of good health, but if the steak appears and feels dry then it is no longer good to eat.

With this, however, it is important to note that cooking and eating dry steak will not necessarily harm you in any way. Think about dry aged beef – the meat is stored in a fridge for weeks, and you can still eat it afterwards.

It will instead remove all texture and flavor and leave the end result unsatisfactory.

For the best quality steak, you want the meat to be succulent and avoid cooking one which has turned dry.

Does Discoloration Mean Steak Is Spoiled?

Does Discoloration Mean Steak Is Spoiled?

One of the signs which make people question the life of their steak is discoloration.

Raw steak is supposed to be a healthy red however sometimes this hue can change into a brown or yellow color.

If you find this is happening with your steak then your steak is no longer fresh, but this is not to say that it is not safe to eat.

Steak is naturally red because of the myoglobin which gives the meat its vibrant color.

This color shows after slicing the meat as it reacts to oxygen, but after around three days of exposure the myoglobin will have oxidized and discolored.

Despite this, the steak is still completely safe to eat. You should just make sure to not leave this discoloring meat for too much longer before eating.

You should also put your other senses to good use. If the steak has a bad odor and is slimy as well as being discolored, then it should not be eaten.

If it smells fresh and looks satisfactory, then it is okay. However, of course a nice red steak will always be the best quality.

How To Store Steak

In order to keep your steak fresh and safe to eat, it is essential that the meat is stored away appropriately.

Steak should always be stored in either your refrigerator or your freezer. When in the fridge, steak can last 3 to 5 days before starting to go bad.

Do not remove your raw steak from its sealed packaging as to do so will mean you will risk introducing airborne pathogens onto the meat. Keep it sealed until the day you are preparing it.

If you happen to have a steak that isn’t in its packaging then place it in an airtight container. When in the freezer, you can find the steak lasting for as long as 12 months if stored correctly.

To store your steak in the freezer, wrap the meat up entirely in clingfilm in order to prevent any exposure of outside air.

Once this is done, you should then take this wrapped steak and place it in a freezer bag, making sure to push all of the air out of it before sealing up. The less air there is, the longer your steak will last. Don’t forget to write the “use by” date on the packaging with a marker.

If you need to cook frozen steak, then here are some tips on how to defrost steak quickly, and if you can or should cook wagyu from frozen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens If You Eat spoiled steak?

If you are to eat steak that has gone bad, then you most likely get food poisoning. This can lead to multiple problems such as stomach cramps and nausea.

Can You Eat A Steak Which Has Turned Gray?

Gray steak can be cooked and eaten so long as it is cooked thoroughly. It should also not hold any foul smell or be slimy to the touch. Discoloration might be due to oxidization, not always because the steak has turned bad.

Will Cooking Spoiled Steak Make It Safe To Eat?

There are some people who believe that you can kill away the bacteria from a steak by cooking it, but this is not the case. Cooking spoiled meat does not make it safe to eat. Do not do it, under any circumstances!

Final Thoughts

If you want a delicious and fresh steak then it is necessary to see the signs of spoilage. By following our guide above, you will always be safe eating your steak and know how to avoid it going bad.

Remember: If in doubt, throw it out!



Richard is the founder of SteakBuff. He manages the team of expert writers on the site and is a foodie who loves eating steaks

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