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How Can You Tell If A Steak Is Spoiled?

It's possible for a steak to spoil even if it's in the freezer. If you store the steak improperly or for an extended period of time, there is a good chance it will spoil. This creates a very bad taste when you cook it. Aside from the unpleasant flavor, a spoiled steak can cause sickness as well. So, how can you tell if a steak is spoiled?

You can tell if a steak has gone bad by checking its date of expiry. If it passes that time limit, then it will not be fit to eat anymore. You can also tell by the texture and the smell of it. When you take it out of the freezer and see that it does not feel firm to the touch then this is your sign that it has gone bad. The smell of the steak will also be off.

There are some very clear signs by which you can tell if a steak that was in your freezer has gone bad or not. Continue reading to learn about these signs. This article will also talk about the best way that you can store a steak so that it does not go bad. You will also get to know about ways to keep it fresher for longer.

5 Signs Of A Bad Steak

Before you start cooking, gather all of your ingredients and double-check that you are not missing out on anything. Once you take the steak out from the freezer, you can check it to ensure that the meat is still fit to eat.

If you do not know how to check the edibility of a steak, do not worry. The signs below will help you in this case.

Check For The Date

Checking for the expiration date when you're at the butcher or shop is the simplest way to avoid having a bad steak. This ensures that the date hasn't passed or will not pass by the time you're ready to prepare it. You should also keep in mind that the dates for selling and consuming steak meat are not the same.

The date of sale specifies by which date a seller can sell steaks to a buyer so that they have adequate time to use it. And, the date of use determines when the consumer should eat the steak. It may be acceptable to eat the steak a few days after the expiration date in some instances.

Even so, it's best to be cautious and not wait until the last minute. It's also possible that the expiration date is far away from when you bought the steak, and you have no plans to cook it anytime soon. As most people don't check their refrigerators on a regular basis, it's possible that the steak's expiration date has passed.

Keeping a note of what is in your freezer and when it expires is an excellent way to avoid this. Thus, if you write down the expiry date of the steak on a note, it is unlikely that you will forget about it. You can even pin the list to the refrigerator. You can include the date you first put the meat in the fridge on that list to ensure you don't leave it in there for too long.

Texture Is Slimy

The texture is a significant consideration when determining whether or not a steak is still edible. A quality steak should not have a slimy texture in any way. It may contain some dampness, which is generally from blood, but you can readily dry it. On the other hand, if the texture is slimy, then it is a sure sign that the steak is not up to par.

Bacteria generate this texture, and an excess amount of bacteria will result in an upset stomach. It is possible that the slime will be yellow or perhaps grey in color. It will be gleaming, and you may need to hold it in front of a light to see it clearly. If you see that the light is reflecting off the steak, the steak is slimy.

Despite the fact that slime is a bacteria, you will not yet witness the next evolutionary stage, mold. So far, the cool temperature of your fridge has kept the development of any mold at bay. However, mold will begin to grow if you leave the steak outside at normal room temperature for more than a day.

Last but not least, when it comes to slime, you should check the whole steak. There will not be a whole film of slime covering the steak. Instead, the slime might only be present in a specific area. However, you should know that even a small amount of slime is in excess, and it is better to not eat the steak.


Although discoloration of the meat is unappealing, this is not always an indication that the steak is over its prime. Myoglobin and hemoglobin, two distinct proteins, are responsible for the meat's color. Hemoglobin is present in the blood, whereas myoglobin is found in the muscles. It is responsible for the fresh red color of the steak.

If the meat is exposed to the environment, then chemical interactions will occur between oxygen and these proteins. The steak's color will pass through about 3 stages in this procedure until it reaches a condition of chemical balance. The first step begins as soon as the butcher cuts your steak. There will be a purplish red kind of color at this stage, which is due to myoglobin reacting with oxygen for the first time.

The color of the second step is cherry red. After three days, the steak will achieve its final stage. Myoglobin has totally oxidized at this point, causing the steak to seem brown, which is less appealing than a brilliant red steak. However, there is still nothing wrong with the meat's safety or quality at this point.

Dark brown is the color you should be careful of in a steak. Your steak might be bad if it has a grey or dark brown color. This is not necessarily a cause for concern, as it is normal for steaks to change color. However, if there is a concerning color in combination with another indication that the steak is bad, you should not utilize it.


Similar to a slimy texture, severe dryness is the second indicator on the terrible steak scale. The steak should not be fully dry, like it should not be a soggy mess. It is a hint that your steak is not going to be tasty if it is excessively dry. The moisture in a steak can evaporate with time, and a symptom that the steak has been in the fridge too long is dryness.

When it comes to steaks, nothing is straightforward. If the cut of steak that you have has too much marbling, or fat all over it, it will have more dryness than leaner slices of the meat. Thus, in this circumstance, dryness is not so bad. If two factors such as the dryness and another indicator such as the texture or discoloration come simultaneously, your steak is most certainly rotten.

There is a technique that keeps the steak in the fridge longer by preventing it from drying out. If you get your steak from a butcher, then they will wrap it in a paper for you. If you are not planning to eat the steak in the next 2 days, keep it in a container that is sealed to keep the moisture in.

Off-Putting Smell

The scent of raw beef that is fresh is not very appetizing to most people, but it should not be objectionable. A mild bloody or kind of metallic odor will emanate from red meat if it is fresh. This aroma is not strong, and you will need to put your nose right up against the steak to detect it.

On the other hand, if the steak is going bad then you will be able to smell a distinct odor. You will realize that it smells a bit like ammonia or eggs, or has a sour smell. This fragrance will make you cringe and even give you a feeling of nauseousness!

However, as there is a creation of lactic acid during the procedure of aging, certain steaks which are dry-aged will have an aroma that smells like cheese. As a result, if you have a steak that is dry-aged, smelling it is not the best method to know whether it has gone bad or not. Instead, look for the other clues above to see if it is safe for you to consume.

How Can You Keep Your Steak Fresher For Longer?

When it is a matter of keeping your steak fresh, the best policy is always prevention. Consider when you are likely to eat the steak first. If you eat it on the day you buy it, there is not so much work that you will be required to do. Just return home, store the meat in the refrigerator, and take it out before cooking.

If you are going to eat your steak within a few days, store it in the refrigerator in a container that is airtight. Finally, if you intend to consume your steak at a later time, it is better to put it in the freezer then. You can maintain the freshness of the steak and avoid any freezer burns by eliminating air from around it and carefully closing the bag by sealing it.

Another tip is to check the date when you can best use the steak before purchasing it. If this date is coming quickly, supermarket retailers may offer meat at a discount. This is a cost-effective method to buy steak. If you do end up buying that steak ultimately, be sure you want to eat it that very night. If not, put the steak in the freezer straight away.

You may still have some questions regarding steaks as to what a bad steak might taste like. If by chance you miss any of the signs mentioned above, you can still tell if a steak is bad or not by taking even a small bite of it. However, most of the time, it will not be necessary.

Best Method For Storing Steaks

Before you learn how to preserve your steak to keep it from spoiling too fast, you should know how much time it can be kept in the refrigerator. You may store the steak in the refrigerator for about two to five days if you firmly wrap it. If you choose to keep it in the freezer, then you can keep it there until the expiration date.

You may also keep the steak in the freezer for some more days if necessary, but be sure there are no more other symptoms of rotting. Cooked meat can stay for about three to four days before being frozen or discarded. The freezer is the greatest place to keep steaks. You should cover them in clingfilm to prevent air exposure.

Then, before you seal the steak bags and put the meat in the freezer, press out all of the air in the freezer bags or Ziploc. The shorter the time the meat is exposed to air, the fresher it will remain. You may also have your steak wrapped or sealed by the butcher.

This will prevent bacterial development and increase the shelf life. Allow 24 hours for your steaks to defrost in the refrigerator before you begin cooking.

Now that you know how can you tell if a steak is spoiled, you can easily look out for the signs to be sure. You do not have to bite into a steak and then throw it out. There are also ways to keep it fresh so you do not waste your money due to the steak going bad too soon. Thanks for reading the whole article. I hope you can now tell if the steak is bad from beforehand.

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Author Ferdi
Written by Ferdi Vol
Ferdi Vol has been working for a grocery store for the last few years and he knows all the ins and outs of running a grocery store. He's also got great tips about what you need to know as a customer, from getting the most out of your money to knowing where everything is in the store! Ferdi loves sharing his passion with others via his blog on how to have an awesome shopping experience at your local grocery store.
About Ferdi Vol
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