How to Know if Steak is Bad?


Have you ever been in a situation where you have a nice cut of steak in your fridge, but you’re unsure whether it’s still good to cook?

It can be frustrating to have to throw out a perfectly good steak, or worse, to end up with food poisoning from eating a bad one.

That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that will take you through the signs to look out to know if your steak has gone bad. From the appearance and smell to the texture and color, we’ll cover it all.

With our guide, you’ll be able to confidently determine whether your steak is still good to cook or if it’s time to toss it out and avoid any potential health risks.
So, let’s get started and ensure that you always cook with fresh and safe ingredients!

How to Know if Steak is Bad?

Fresh meat is not only crucial for taste but also for health reasons. Consuming spoiled steak can lead to foodborne illnesses, including food poisoning and salmonella.

Here are some signs that will help you determine whether your steak has gone bad.

  1. Check the Color

The first thing you need to do is inspect the color of the steak. Fresh steak has a vibrant cherry-red hue when it has been cut and exposed to oxygen. Over time, this color will change to a darker brown.
This isn’t necessarily a sign that the steak is spoiled. However, if your steak turns a grayish shade or has streaks of discoloring, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to throw it away.

  1. Smell the Steak

The smell is one of the most reliable indicators to determine if your steak has spoiled. Fresh steak has a mild iron-like smell due to its myoglobin content. If your steak gives off a potent, sour, or unpleasant odor, it’s a strong sign that it’s spoiled.

  1. Feel the Texture

When you are checking a steak for freshness, it is important to ensure you have clean hands. This will help to prevent the spread of bacteria and maintain the quality of the meat.

To assess the freshness of the steak, you should look for a few key indicators.

Firstly, the meat should be firm yet tender to the touch. This suggests that the steak is still in good condition and will likely be enjoyable. However, if the steak feels slimy or sticky, this may be a sign of bacterial growth.
In this case, it is best to avoid eating the steak, as it may be spoiled and could potentially cause food poisoning.

By paying attention to these important details, you can ensure that you are selecting and preparing the best possible steak for your meal.

  1. Expiry Date

Always check the ‘Sell By‘ or ‘Use By‘ date on the packaging of your steak. While this isn’t the definitive way to determine if your steak is spoiled, it can be a helpful guideline.
Remember, once the ‘Use By’ date has passed, the safety of eating the steak isn’t guaranteed.

  1. Presence of Mold

It’s essential to always check your steak for any signs of mold or other growth before cooking or consuming it.

If you notice any visible signs of mold on your steak, such as green or black spots, it’s crucial to discard it immediately.

Consuming moldy steak can lead to severe food poisoning symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and, in some cases, can even be life-threatening.

Therefore, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and avoid consuming moldy or spoiled steak at all costs.

Signs of Fresh Steak

Choosing the freshness of a steak is crucial for ensuring food safety. Here are some indicators mentioned below.

  1. Smell: Fresh steak should have a mild, beefy aroma. If the steak emits a strong, unpleasant smell like ammonia, sulfur, or a sour odor, it may indicate spoilage.
  2. Appearance: Fresh steak typically has a vibrant red color. Any discoloration, such as a brown or gray hue, may suggest spoilage.
  3. Texture: Fresh steak should feel firm and slightly moist to the touch. If the meat feels slimy or sticky, it could indicate spoilage.
  4. Expiration Date: Check the date on the packaging. The steak is likely not fresh if it has passed its expiration date.

By following these guidelines, you can avoid using spoiled steak, and storage conditions and handling practices can also affect a steak’s freshness. When in doubt, it is always better to err on the side of caution and discard any steak that raises concerns about its freshness.


Determining whether your steak is bad can save you from potential health risks associated with spoiled meat. Taking the time to check the color, smell, texture, expiry date, and presence of any mold can ensure that your culinary endeavor is delicious and safe.

Remember, the safest route is to throw it out when in doubt. Don’t risk your health for a steak. There’s always a next time for that mouth-watering dish!

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