There is nothing quite like a perfectly cooked steak. The juicy, pink center and the crispy, browned exterior are a heavenly combination. But how long do you have to wait before cooking it? How long can you leave it out before it goes bad? And is it safe to eat beef that has been left out accidentally overnight? Let’s dive into what you need to know.
Table of Contents
- Why does a steak need to rest before cooking?
- How long to leave steak out before cooking for the best flavor
- Is it safe to leave a raw steak resting for that amount of time?
- Is uncooked beef left out for over two hours safe to eat?
- Must-read related posts
Why does a steak need to rest before cooking?
When you remove a steak from the fridge, it is typically very cold in the center. If you were to cook it immediately, the outside would be cooked through before the inside had a chance to warm up and cook properly.
By letting your steak rest at room temperature before cooking, you allow the steak to cook more evenly from edge to center. Not to mention, it will also be juicier and more tender. So next time you’re tempted to cook your steak right away, remember to let it rest first.
How long to leave steak out before cooking for the best flavor
As a general rule of thumb, let a steak that’s been refrigerated rest at room temperature before cooking for 30 to 60 minutes. If you’re using a thicker cut of meat, it may need to rest longer.
If you’re in a hurry, you can cook your steak immediately after removing it from the fridge. And the difference between cooking the refrigerated steak immediately and a few minutes of pre-cooking rest time is very little. So you might as well get that steak to the pan (or grill) right away.
If you have the luxury of time, it’s worth the resting time, even if there are only modest gains in bringing the steak’s internal temperature closer to room temperature. Every degree can count.
Is it safe to leave a raw steak resting for that amount of time?
Absolutely. If you’re worried about food safety, don’t be.
As long as the steak is fresh and hasn’t been sitting out for more than two hours (total), it is perfectly safe to cook. In fact, even the USDA recommends that you let your steak rest at room temperature for at least up to 30 minutes before cooking.
Is uncooked beef left out for over two hours safe to eat?
It is technically safe to cook and eat if you accidentally left your steak out beyond that two-hour window (or even overnight). However, the quality of the meat may not be as good as if it was cooked within the two-hour window.
The longer beef is left out at room temperature, the greater the risk of bacteria growth. After two hours, bacteria will have a chance to multiply and begin to break down the steak’s muscle tissue, which can cause it to become dry and tough.
So while you can cook and eat an uncooked steak that has been left out overnight, it’s not going to taste as good as one cooked within the two-hour window.
If you’re ever in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and throw out any meat that has been left out for more than two hours.
Must-read related posts
- Overcooked Steak? How To Salvage A Meal: There are times we’ve all spaced while cooking. All may not be lost – that meat can still work in some way.
- How To Defrost Steak Without Ruining It: The choices you make here can make a big difference in your meat’s tenderness.
- The Red Liquid In Steak – What Is It? Many think it’s blood. Are they right?