Signs Your Steak Has Gone Bad (You HAVE to See These!!)

Just as the very idea of a barbecued steak is enough to make your mouth water!

But spoiled meat will strike terror into the heart of any barbecue lover.

This is why it is so important to know how to correctly store your fresh meat and thaw frozen meat.

Then most importantly, be able to notice the tell-tale signs of spoilage.

So before you ask your friends over for a barbecue, ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are serving fresh steak.

When Did I Put The Raw Meat in the Refrigerator?

If you don’t remember when you put the raw steak the fridge, then you might want to err on the side of caution and give it a miss.  

Give some serious thought to when you brought home the meat. If you can be certain it was within 3-5 days, it might be fine. In the future make sure you date any meat you put in the fridge.

The following questions will help you to know for sure if your meat has spoiled.

Is My Meat Past the Used-By Date?

Fresh meat may have a used-by date and a sell-by date. But the date you need to pay close attention to is the used-by date. 

The sell-by date is the date by which the store must sell the meat.  The used-by date is the date by which the manufacturer can guarantee it will be safe to eat.

Cooking your fresh meat by the used-by date is the safest way to ensure you avoid food poisoning.

Is There Mold Growing on the Meat?

One clear indication of meat spoilage is the appearance of mold. 

If your refrigerated steak has patches of white or grey discoloration, it is likely mold has spoiled your meat and it is time to throw it in the bin.

Has the Color Changed?

Apart from looking to see if mold is growing, another visual change in your meat is the loss of its bright red color.  If the raw steak appears brown and dull, it is old and may need to be discarded.

Is the Meat Dry and Juiceless?

Another indication of old, and therefore potentially harmful meat is a dry and juiceless texture.  The older your raw steak is, the more it will lose its juices. 

This increases the risk of spoilage as it indicates that the meat is no longer fresh and could be harboring harmful bacteria.

Is the Meat Slimy?

Perhaps one of the most disgusting signs that your meat has spoiled is a slimy film. 

Not only will you be able to feel the slime, but there will be a visible shine to the meat, letting you know you have spoiled meat without having to actually touch it.

And finally, the most obvious tell-tale sign for spoiled meat.

Does Your Steak Smell Bad?

If your steak has a bad odor, do not cook it!

One thing that is better than knowing when your steak has gone bad, is knowing to avoid spoiled food in the first place.

Here are some quick tips to avoid dealing with off steak.

Refrigerate or Freeze Raw Meat Immediately.

Red meat can be safely refrigerated for 3-5 days. If frozen, it can last months. 

If you do decide to freeze your fresh meat make sure you invest in some refrigerator bags to avoid early spoilage or freezer burn. 

Label Meat with the Date you Put it in the Fridge.

Keeping an inventory of your fresh meat is a great way to keep track of used-by dates. 

You can write on the freezer bag so that you can easily tell if it has been stored too long.

All it takes is a little extra care and attention to detail to avoid off meat on the menu for your next BBQ. 

Follow the preventative measures above to keep your meat fresh. Or at the very least, check for the listed tell-tale signs to make sure you don’t service spoiled meat for dinner.

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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