It’s not always easy to tell when steak is bad. Sometimes the smell is an obvious indicator, but other times it might look and smell perfectly fine yet still seem off in some way. So what signs should you look for to tell if you’re dealing with spoiled meat? Use these tips to help identify if your raw steak is no longer safe to eat.
Table of Contents
- Quick “is my steak bad?” checklist
- Give it a sniff test
- Take a look at the texture of the meat
- Check the color of the steak
- See if there are any signs of mold
- Check the expiration date
- Finally, trust your gut
- Can cooked steak go bad?
- Can a frozen steak go bad?
- What happens if you eat slightly spoiled meat?
- How to keep raw steak fresh longer
- Must-read related posts
Quick “is my steak bad?” checklist
- If it smells bad, don’t eat it. Bad steak.
- If the texture is slimy or sticky, it’s a rotten steak. Toss it.
- If the color of a raw steak is brown or gray, throw it out. The steak is bad.
- If there’s mold, pitch it. Bad steak.
- If your raw steak is well past its sell-by or use-by date, it may be bad.
- If there’s any doubt, err on the side of caution.
Give it a sniff test
The best way to determine if steak is fresh is to smell it. A good steak will smell beefy, salty, and slightly sweet. Bad steak smells like a variety of unpleasant odors, including sourness, ammonia, and off-putting flavors. It has a rancid smell.
Rotten steak often smells bad because of the bacteria that are growing on it. These bacteria release unpleasant odors that can be easily detected. If you smell anything unpleasant when you’re near your steak, it’s best to discard it.
Take a look at the texture of the meat
If the steak feels slimy, wet, or sticky, that’s another warning sign. These are all signs of bacterial growth, which means the steak is no longer safe to eat. The texture should be dry and firm to the touch. Though very dry and firm raw steaks, to the level of toughness, may also be indicators that the meat is past its prime.
Check the color of the steak
Fresh steak is usually a deep red color with some marbling throughout. If it looks brown or gray, that’s an indication it’s going bad. The brown color in spoiled steaks often indicates that the meat has begun to rot.
This is because as meat spoils, it starts to break down and release a pigment called myoglobin. Myoglobin is responsible for the red color in fresh meat, but it will begin to turn brown as it decomposes.
See if there are any signs of mold
Mold is another surefire way to tell if raw steak has gone bad. If you see any mold growing on the surface of the meat, it’s time to toss it out.
Check the expiration date
This one seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. If your raw steak is well past its sell-by date (and it hasn’t been frozen to extend its shelf life), then don’t eat it. It may not have any of the tell-tale signs mentioned above, but even so, it’s better safe than sorry.
Finally, trust your gut
If you have any doubts about whether the steak is bad, it’s better to err on the side of caution and throw it out. Spoiled steak is not something you want to mess with.
Can cooked steak go bad?
Cooked steak can go bad, but it takes much longer than raw steak. Cooked steak will usually stay good for three to four days in the fridge. And you can extend its shelf life by freezing it for two to six months.
When cooked steak goes bad, it will often develop a sour, ammonia-like smell. The texture will also start to become mushy and less firm. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the steak.
Can a frozen steak go bad?
Frozen steak can last for six to twelve months, but it will gradually lose its flavor and become less tender the longer it’s frozen.
You can tell if a frozen steak has gone bad by looking for signs of freezer burn. This is when the meat becomes dry, hard, and leathery. The steak will also develop a pale color and might have dark spots.
If you see any of these signs, it’s best to discard the steak.
What happens if you eat slightly spoiled meat?
Eating spoiled meat can cause food poisoning, leading to various unpleasant symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. So play it safe and only eat steak that looks, smells, and feels fresh.
How to keep raw steak fresh longer
- Store steak properly: Keep raw steak in the refrigerator, sealed in its original packaging or an airtight sealed container. This will extend its shelf life.
- Don’t let it sit out for too long (no more than two hours). You increase the chances of your steak going bad. Read our post on resting steak before cooking to learn about proper times to rest raw steak before cooking.
- Freeze steaks that won’t be used in the short term. A frozen steak can keep for months.
Must-read related posts
- What Is The Red Liquid In Steak? Think it’s blood? Think again.
- Chewy Steak? Here May Be Why: Learn why your steak likely didn’t turn out as perfect as you would have liked.
- How To Defrost Steak Without Ruining It: Defrosting can be tricky – make sure you’re doing it right.