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How To Tell If Steak Is Bad

is your steak bad

There’s nothing more exciting than a great steak. It’s something that many of us look forward to, especially if it has been saved for a special occasion.

However, if your steak has gone bad, then the planned dish is less than appetizing. But the question is, how do you tell if steak is bad? This is something that a lot of people have reservations about, because the results can be very unpleasant.

Having someone prepare a steak for you allows you to sit back and look forward to a great meal. No cooking, no stress – you can trust that whoever is cooking the food knows what they’re doing.

However, if you’re the one cooking, it can soon turn into chaos. The worst part? If you don’t know any better, you might not even realize it.

If you want a delicious meal, then it’s important to know how to tell if a steak has gone bad. You need to be able to see the signs of a bad steak. 

In this article, I will be going through all the things you need to know about steak to make sure you can prepare and consume it safely.

Signs Your Steak Has Gone Bad

It’s very easy for steak to turn bad, especially if you haven’t stored it correctly, or you’ve forgotten about it while it’s out.

Because of this, it’s 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, as it can make you seriously sick. Food poisoning is no joke!

Does It Smell?

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 bad smell. It will be very different to the smell of regular, unspoiled raw meat. If you do notice this smell, the steak should be disposed of.

Make sure to dispose of it quickly, too. You don’t want it leaving a foul odor in your fridge or around the rest of the house!

Is It Slimy?

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. If it is, you definitely should not eat it.

This is only the start, as mold will soon start to develop. When this happens, the meat is completely contaminated.

Is The Steak Dry?

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

With this, it’s 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. This doesn’t mean that it’s no longer safe to eat, though.

Myoglobin is the reason that steaks have a naturally vibrant red color. This color shows after slicing the meat as it reacts to oxygen. After around three days of exposure, the myoglobin will oxidize and cause discoloration.

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’s 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. Doing this means that you will risk introducing airborne pathogens onto the meat. Instead, 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.

Technically, food that is properly frozen will last indefinitely, but the quality will deteriorate over time. Eat your steak before the quality diminishes too much!

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

You should also write on the clingfilm when the steak was bought, just to keep track of it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens If You Eat Spoiled steak?

If you eat steak that’s gone bad, then you will most likely get food poisoning. This can lead to multiple problems such as stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and a whole host of other unpleasant symptoms. This is more common than you think, so always be careful.

Can You Eat A Steak That Has Turned Gray?

Usually, yes! 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?

No. 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!

What Does Spoiled Steak Smell Like?

Ammonia or egg-like. Healthy, unspoiled steak will have a slightly metallic smell that isn’t unpleasant.

A steak that has gone bad will usually have a very noticeably unpleasant smell, which means that it should be disposed of immediately.

Final Thoughts

If you want a delicious and fresh steak, then it’s necessary to see and understand the signs of spoilage. By following my guide above, you will always be safe when 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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