HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Would you cook expired corned beef?

I found a large point cut that I found at the back of the fridge. It has an expiration date of May 20th. I know its preserved up the wazoo. Would you cook it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would if it is still in it's original cryovac packaging with the brine. It will be fine

    1. It would have to pass the smell test first. Chances are that it would probably be OK but it's still nearly a month past the date. Any slight off odor and I'd toss it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sam D.

        I'm with Sam D on this one, smell it. Although I always think corned beef smells kind of funky even when it's within it's time period. Does the package list a website that maybe you could look up and see if they have any information? Good luck!

      2. If it is sealed in cryovac with brine, the seal is fully intact, there is no appearance of mold, and it doesn't actually stink, there is no earthly reason not to cook it. It is probably just fine. Indeed, it will probably continue to be fine for months. As you note, it is, indeed, "preserved up the wazoo". I'll bet the date is a "sell by" date rather than an "expiry" date. Plus you will be cooking it for several hours. There is no chance that it could harm you.

        When I am curing my own corned beef, leaving it in the brine too long just makes it saltier and saltier, and therefore less and less likely to spoil with increasing time. It simply becomes unbearably salty and must be soaked, with many water changes, before cooking. (However, I don't know whether this would also apply to your commercial product.)

          1. Beef is funny even old beef if it's not rancid is just aged and most of the time tastes better.I always look for meat in the discount sections of store cause theres so much more flavor.Meat as a whole is so sanitized in todays world it's a pleasure to have a well aged piece of meat.Smell it it's probably ok if it smells like good old meat.

            1. I probably would. I know how long things generally keep in my fridge and if it smells good it probably is. Here's a thought; how much do you really like your dog?

              1. Don't rely on smell alone when you first open a cryo-vacced portion of meat, no matter what it is, lamb, beef, pork whatever. It will smell like freshly slaughtered animal which is not pleasant. Take it out of the packaging, blot it dry and let it bloom a bit before sniffing. Amazing how the aroma will change in 15 -30 mins. You will also get some color change too as the meat is exposed to fresh air.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Candy

                  Isn't all corned beef already expired ... I would hope it doesn't moo. Seriously, I'd eat it unless it smells funny or was moldy.

                2. By all means. In fact, it may even be better. The FDA always demands extreme caution, which is ridiculous, as you know, if you travel outside of the U.S. If the cryovac blows up, or the meat discolors, then you might have a problem--otherwise not. Enjoy

                  1. From May 20th to June 16th? Never! Smell notwithstanding!

                    1. Thanks for the replies! The package wasn't bloated and the meat wasn't discolored so I went for it. I did soak it in cold water for a while..I was afraid it'd be too salty. I threw out the brine to be on the safe side. I'm still alive and my stomach feels fine. It was a little on the salty side, but I think it had more to do with the brand than the age. (I bought two packs back in March, ate one right away and that one was a little salty as well.)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: brandnewuser

                        Try the Cook's Illustrated version of home-brined corned beef. It's lovely. More beefy and less salty.

                        1. re: toodie jane

                          Don't they also have a "New England" style corned beef recipe? This style contains no nitrates and comes out somewhat gray, but it is really good. (Don't try this with pastrami, though, as the nitrates figure in the taste profile much more than they do in corned beef.)

                        2. re: brandnewuser

                          I frequently will do several soaks changing the water a number of times to reduce salinity. BTW that was a sell by date not a use by date. You could have held off for another month or so.

                        3. I dont know if any of you guys are still around, but what about a cryovac sealed package with the sell by date almost 2 months old? I don't see any mold and it looks otherwise fine. I think I'm with embee, Candy and the others who say to go ahead and eat it. I just dont want to kill anyone at the BBQ (I plan on boiling it for a few hours to get rid of the salt and then slow cooking it on the smoker).

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: MartinB28

                            If the meat was frozen, it's still good to eat. I had a turkey I bought on sale during the holidays in my freezer for almost a year before I cooked it..it was delicious. Google online and you'll find that most, if not all dates on packaging has nothing to do with whether the food is still safe to eat or not.

                            1. re: MartinB28

                              I would have no issue with cooking and eating a crovac sealed package of corned beef with a 2 month old sell by date.

                              Quote from OP: "I know it's preserved up the wazoo."

                              1. re: MartinB28

                                I would cook it and have it for myself, but I wouldn't to serve it to guests. Not worth the risk.

                                1. re: MartinB28

                                  In response to MartinB23 Jun 23, 2010
                                  My answer is,
                                  Nope, and I wouldn't want to be served it either.

                                  1. re: MartinB28

                                    I did not see this until now. Don't boil the meat to remove salt. It will ruin the texture. If you want to remove salt, give it a soak in cold water, changing it for fresh water every couple of hours. It is very important to change the water, if you leave it in without change it will re-salt itself. Treat it as you would a country ham.

                                    1. re: addicted2cake

                                      This thread was started over 3 years ago. They cooked and ate the expired beef without a problem.

                                    2. Understand, Beef that is corned, (having nothing to do with corn) having to do with salt corns, because before they had refrigeration, Slaughtering a whole cow would be crazy unless you were having a huge banquet. People corned beef to preserve it. That is the purpose of corning beef in the first place. I had a corned beef brisket once that was in the fridge for a month and a half, (way after its expiration date) it was still just fine. Understand that corning beef also kills the bacteria. Not allowing the meat to spoil. The USDA mandates expiration dates on everything. That does not mean it is not a perfectly usable product.
                                      I say, cook your brisket and enjoy!!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Bubsterfinster

                                        i'm always amused at questions about expiration dating on food-especially cured and canned foods which are intended to last for years-often many years.. for example, proccuito is cured in salt for about a month or more after slaughter and
                                        then air dried for a year or 2 and then packaged for sale-all without ever seeing either cooking or refrigeration. they last for years even decades, but you'll never see that on the expiration label.
                                        while dating on some foods surely makes sense, with cured and otherwise preserved foods i suspect it is more about laws written by big food producers in part to force retailers to have to buy more product rather than sell what's still in inventory.
                                        a little common sense by the consumer needs to be exercised.

                                      2. I would cook expired *raw* beef. If it ain't green, it ain't spoiled, and you can cut off the green part. People pay a lot of extra money for aged beef.