Steak is one of the most popular cuts, with many people loving it due to its meatiness. This contributes to its use in various recipes and cooking styles like grilling, frying, or cooking in a rich sauce. It is common to have a steak serving in your fridge, waiting for the perfect day to cook it.
However, things may not go your way, and you find that the steak is bad. It is a disheartening situation, and the only option is to dispose of it. No matter how you price it, you should never cook a bad steak. The taste and smell may be off, same as the texture. If you eat it, you may have complications with your digestive tract.
To prevent you from tossing bad steak in your cooking pan, we will guide you on how to tell if a steak is bad.
How Do You Know if Steak is Bad?
Most of us have too much faith in our refrigerators that we assume food stored in it cannot go wrong. If the food is past its time, you cannot reverse it. Focusing on steak, here is how you will know that it is not fit for the table.
Check On the Dates
When you buy your meat from some stores, the attendants go the extra mile to show you its dates. You should pay attention to the dates to know if the steak can be part of your next meal. Here, look at the sell-by and use-by dates.
The two dates are quite confusing to many as they do not understand what they mean. The sell-by date means that the steak should be off the shelf by a particular day. This is to give the consumer ample time to prepare it.
The use-by date is the date when the consumer should last use the meat cut. If it stays past the date, there is a high chance it has already gone bad. However, there may be a grace period of a day or two, though you should not rely on it.
When you buy the steak, ensure that the use-by date is lengthy enough for you to eat it before it goes bad. If you put it in the refrigerator, do not let it go past five days for a healthy and tasty steak serving.
How is the Appearance?
One of the telltale signs of lousy steak is its appearance. In this case, the color and general outlook will seem off. The first sign of bad meat is the disappearance of its signature bright reddish appearance. In its place, it will take on a dull greyish hue.
It will start with a silvery, slimy look, with some places looking yellow. The slime will soon be moldy, and this is an indication that the steak is bad. In short, if you sport a different-looking steak from what is standard, then it isn’t pleasant.
Pay attention to color, where aside from those earlier indicated; it may be brown or greenish. If you spot such, even if it patches, it means it is time to toss it in the garbage bag.
Another way to tell if steak is bad is by touching it to feel its texture. Fresh meat is firm and solid. When you grab fresh steak by a corner and shake it, it will feel bouncy. The cut’s fibers are still strong and hold firmly.
For a bad steak, the texture may feel slimy, like its appearance, as previously mentioned. If the decomposition is severe, the slime will be thick, and you may feel it between your fingers. The shake test can also show you if it is bad.
When you shake it, it will feel loose, and, at times, some pieces may fall off. You may try and poke it with your finger for confirmation. Fresh steak is very firm, but a spoiled one will sink deep; sometimes, the fiber may break.
Still, on texture, it may have a leathery or dry feeling, and it will no longer be juicy. However, this may not always mean that it is bad, as it may be a case of freezer burn, which we will look at later on.
The Smell of the Steak
While the smell of fresh steak is not all roses, it is quite distinct, and with a slight whiff, you can tell that it is good. For bad steak, the smell is quite pungent, more like ammonia. If the meat was in the fridge, you might not be able to detect the smell instantly.
Other times, the off-putting smell will come when you are cooking it. The odor may be too much that it may invite flies to your space. Should you notice any disturbing odor from the steak, it is high time you dispose of it.
Related content: Can You Eat Raw Steak and Is it Safe?
Bad Steak vs. Freezer-Burned Steak
In some situations, your steak is good, but it has the characteristics of going bad. This is common if you stored it in the freezer, where it may have a leathery feel and a color change to brown or light grey. It might be a case of freezer burn.
Freezer burn is the condition where the steak got exposed to the freezer conditions. It leads to dehydration and oxidation of the steak, which may cause it to shrivel and have brownish spots.
This condition may mislead you to think that your meat cut is bad due to the texture and color. On the contrary, it is safe to eat and does not smell. Though the taste may be entirely off due to oxidation and water loss.
Check our guide for grilling a frozen steak
Bad steak is a frustrating experience, especially if you do not know that it is not fit. You may have issues with your digestive system and health, generally. We come to your aid, giving you ideas of how to tell if steak is bad.
Look at signs like the color, texture, smell, and dates to know its state. If anything seems out of the normal, you should throw the steak in the garbage bag for your health’s benefit.