With just a mere glimpse at your refrigerator, you could assume that it is one of the most hard-working appliances in your home.
Of course, why wouldn’t it be? After all, the common fridge has more utility compared to the other buzzing appliances in your home.
We would also go to the lengths to claim that it is one of humankind’s notable inventions, all because of its usefulness. Well, we are not claiming that it is on par with man’s most significant discoveries like fire or constructing the wheel, but you know what we mean here.
Because of its ability to store man’s primary source of energy—food—all the while preserving its freshness, the modern-day fridge appears to be one of man’s unsung heroes. Without it, we may still practice our ancestors’ way of keeping and storing food in giant clay pots filled with salt.
However, refrigerators will never prevent food from spoiling—it only prolongs its shelf life. Misinterpretation of this fact may be troublesome. Eating food that is not stored correctly or frozen in the fridge can spell many gastronomic problems, specifically food poisoning, which can be fatal.
Hence, when refrigerating food, we must be knowledgeable that bacteria can and will eventually grow on it.
The first kind is called pathogenic bacteria, which are borne from unrefrigerated food. This type of bacteria—which does not change how the food looks, tastes, or smells—is quite dangerous because they are usually the main culprit behind foodborne illnesses.
The second type is spoilage bacteria, which develops from spoiling food. Hence, its presence can be detected by changing the food’s appearance, taste, and scent. However, spoilage bacteria cannot make you sick.
That is why despite how advanced our refrigerators may be, the quality of food that we store or freeze within it—and eventually consume—still depends on how well we properly execute the methods described above of preserving our meals inside it.
In this article, we will talk about the basic rules of food storage and refrigeration, particularly meat. To be specific, we are going to unravel the answers to the questions: “how long can steak stay in the fridge?”
How Long Does Cooked Steak Last in the Fridge?
Well, the answer depends on how well you prepared and eventually cooked it—as long as you do not keep it for more than seven days inside there. Just be sure to maintain a minimum temperature of 40℉ in your fridge.
However, many experts, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration, strongly recommend consuming your cooked steak no later than four days after storing it in your fridge.
At best, roasted meats maintain their quality for three days inside a fridge.
What is essential is to remember that refrigerating food, in this case, a cooked steak, only slows down—but does not prevent—the eventual build-up of either pathogenic or spoilage bacteria on your prime cut.
You can prevent the development of bacteria on it by refrigerating the steak as soon as it is cooled down. Furthermore, the risk of bacteria build-up on your steak diminishes if you store it in your fridge in no less than two hours after you have cooked it.
Suppose you are planning to maximize the freezing capacity of your cooked steak. In that case, we recommend wrapping it in a freezer wrap and eventually storing it inside a heavy-duty freezer.
Just remember that a frozen cooked steak has an optimum shelf life of three months while stored inside your freezer. However, note that a deeply frozen cooked steak eventually becomes a dried-up version of its once juicy self.
With all of this said, going after that juicy and savory flavor from the leftovers of your backyard barbecue from last night depends on how long you keep your steak stored inside your fridge. If you decide to cook it within three days after keeping it in your ref, you are at least making the right choice.
Make sure to quality check the steak before actually eating it, as only you can protect yourself from potential food poisoning, which can range from having an upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
How Long Does Raw Steak Last in the Fridge?
If you wonder how long you can keep an uncooked steak inside your fridge, then the answer is the same as the query from the previous section—it depends.
It depends on how fresh the meat was when you purchased it, and it also depends on how you pack it.
Nonetheless, there is a consistent trend among butchers and cooks that uncooked steak, at best, can be safely kept inside your fridge for about two days maximum. This is because bacteria—the pathogenic kind—can quickly develop in raw meat, particularly beef.
Food Safety Authorities also support this claim, as they further recommend cooking your raw beef steak within those two days.
When figuring out how long your uncooked steak can be good inside your fridge, just remember that you have to store it at 33℉ temperature. We also suggest placing it on the relatively cold areas inside your ref, particularly its door and lower compartment.
But if you want to have a stockpile of uncooked premium cuts of meat, then you might as well decide to put them inside your freezer. That is, if you do not intend to eat your steak as soon as possible.
Another advantage of freezing uncooked meat is the slowing down and eventual halting of bacterial build-up, which can drastically alter the quality of your steak. Again, just make sure that you wrap it properly to avoid freezer burn and excessive dryness.
There are also suggestions to vacuum-seal the uncooked meat to achieve optimum shelf life and storage viability–three to five times longer in the freezer, to be exact. This is due to the capability of vacuum sealers to remove oxygen from your steak’s packaging altogether.
Moreover, vacuum sealers effectively prevent microbial build-up on your steak, as a lot of pathogenic bacteria are aerobic, meaning they need oxygen. However, there are still bacteria (anaerobic) that can grow on your steak despite the absence of oxygen inside the packaging.
That is why experts still recommend unsealing and cooking the raw meat within ten days to minimize the risk of any food-related complications, as consumer safety is essential.
So, How Long Can You Keep Steak in the Fridge?
To sum up, a slab of steak, be it raw or cooked, can last for at least three days inside your refrigerator. It all depends on how did you handle your steak before actually storing it inside your ref.
Just remember that refrigerating your steak only slows down the eventual spoilage of your food. Thus, explaining why it has a limited shelf life and requires immediate consumption after taking it out of your fridge.
You could always cook up a fresh one. After all, consumer safety always comes first before comfort.