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How long can I store raw steaks in the fridge?

I want to try to get some good bone-in ribeyes for Christmas dinner, but I don't really want to go to the butcher on Christmas Eve. If I can get them on Saturday or Sunday (if they are open), can I safely store them in the fridge until Tuesday?

Thanks!!

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  1. I would think that would work as long as you wrap them very well, and keep them in a very cold spot. If you have a deli/meat drawer that would be best.

    1. I asked my butcher the same about when to buy my rack of lamb and he told me because it came cry-o-vacked it wouldn't matter so if you can get your steaks cry-o-vacked that would be even better; in any event, from Sunday til Tuesday should be fine as danhole said.

      1. Philly Ray
        You refer to going to the Butcher. If they are being fresh cut for you, they will be fine.
        If you are picking them up at a supermarket, they should be ok, but it's a crap shoot as to when they were cut. I'd 'zip loc them' and, as danhole suggested, store them in the meatkeeper drawer. If you are in doubt, pick up a "cryo vac'd" Filet Mignon. That's always a good alternative.

        1. I often let steaks sit uncovered and salted in the fridge for a couple of days before using. Kind of like a mini dry aging. You get a good crust on the meat since it's not wet before cooking.

          8 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            Uncovered? Interesting....I would think the meat would dry out, but not in the aging sort of way....
            Also, don't you find the meat picks up odors from other foods?

            1. re: Tay

              That's exactly how beef should be aged. depending on how long you let it go you will probably want to trim up the leathery bits. AB has used tupperware with holes drilled in it to cover on his show to prevent contamination.

            2. re: scubadoo97

              That method can be dangerous though unless you can maintain a specific humidity level and temperature. Typically in the 35-38 degree range and about 50% humidity. Just the simple act of opening the fridge door is enough to throw that off. Also, dry aging properly takes longer than a couple of days, more like one to three weeks. So I'd say that you are not really dry aging, but rather dry marinating with salt. That's a good thing to do too, but I'd cover it and be careful about cross contamination with uncovered meat in there, also I'd make sure your temp is below 41.

              1. re: Shane Greenwood

                Out of curiosity, what's the danger involved? Dangerous as in you may end up pitching an expensive steak, or dangerous as in you may end up connected to an IV?

                Seems to me that as long as the temperature stays below 40 degrees, pathogens such as e. coli shouldn't be much of a problem. But if there are risks involved, I'd like to know, because, as noted below, I regularly age my own beef.

                The meat stays in a spot that is somewhat protected from temperature fluctations: it isn't exposed to room air very often because it's in the spare fridge, and it's protected drafts when the door is open because it's in the meat drawer. I've noticed no problems at all after a week, but at two weeks the leatheriness on the surface is getting pronounced. So presumably any longer than that creates a risk that the the steak is going to be dogfood. But are there other risks, too?

                TIA for any info.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  Food born pathogens are the first concern. You're right about keeping it below 40 for that. I've read that most home refrigerators are not set at the proper temp. Plus, opening the door is problematic in temp control. So when someone says they are keeping a raw piece of beef in a home fridge, uncovered for a couple of days, that's cause for concern.

                  Consider that 4 hours in the danger zone is all it takes to render food too risky to eat. And that 4 hours is cumulative.

                  Separately, if the humidity isn't right you run the dogfood risk too. I'm not sure how long it would take to destroy a steak. I suppose it would depend on the cut, thickness, original moisture content, humidity level, temp, etc. I'd say spend the extra few bucks to buy a properly aged steak and don't risk it, unless you have the proper equipment and know exactly what you're doing.

                  1. re: Shane Greenwood

                    Not likely that the temperature will be above 40 in the fridge for more than a few seconds at most if the door is opened. The humidity in your average fridge is usually below 50% and commercial dry aging is done between 50-75% RH. I'm not looking to do a 6-7 week dry age. Just want to dry the meat up a little to concentrate the flavors and get a good crust. I have done this many times with no rotting or ill effects. In commercial aging they use primal cuts because the meat will get moldy and this needs to be cut off before cutting steaks or subprimals.

                    An interesting article on dry aging from the University of Minnesota

                    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribu...

                    Do you think the meat in the open meat cases stays below 40 degrees in the supermarket at all times with people picking a steak up to inspect then putting back or they may even put it in their cart and walk around the store before deciding that they don't want it and put it back.

                    Most pathogens on a steak are on the surface and that's going to be exposed to high heat which will kill them anyway.

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Thanks for the link scubadoo. As long as you're temping the air in your fridge you'll be able to guarantee it's under 40. I've heard that most are not that cold because we over fill them and don't turn down the cool dial to compensate. Anyway, good luck with your steak. Sounds more like dry marinating to me if you're just doing it for a couple of days. You're getting more of the "drying" effect from the salt leaching the liquid out of the meat than anything else. That's an excellent technique for flavor too. Also a great technique for poultry.

                      1. re: Shane Greenwood

                        I use my outside fridge that doesn't see too much traffic. As I mentioned before I am not really dry aging but just drying the meat which if anything concentrates the flavors and the dryer surface results in a better crust. When drying for a short time like a day or two I will salt but when drying for an extended time I will not season the meat.

                        Last year I did a large 5 bone prime rib and left it in the fridge for over a week. Just had to trim the exterior before cooking but the meat had a nice beefy flavor. I had actually did two roast last year, one after drying and then did a fresh one because I didn't think the first one would be enough due to a lot of last minute guest added to our festive meal. There was a noticeable difference between the two. The aged one beat out the fresh one in flavor and texture.

                        I usually dry a chicken the same way with salt and leave in the fridge for a day or two. The skin get very crisp and I would equate it to dry brining but you get very little penetration of salt into the meat. I do this with whole chickens for roasting and parts for grilling.

            3. You shouldn't have any problems storing them for a few days.

              I've stored steaks over a week. I loosely wrap them(it) in butcher paper, put them in 1 of the drawers by itself and throw an ice pack in with them..keep the temp down.

              If you're going to store them for long, you're better off buying a rib roast or larger piece of beef..and cutting it into steaks yourself when you're ready to use them.

              I find the flavor improves after a week or so..sort of amateur dry aging.

              1. A week will improve them if you don't let them sit in their own juices. Two weeks is even better. More than that and you have to start worrying about trimming the green stuff off the edges.

                BTW: as to "drying out"--what do you think dry aging is all about? Drying the steaks out concentrates the flavor. They're better for it.

                11 Replies
                1. re: alanbarnes

                  So what you guys are saying is that dry aging is something that can be achieved by tossing a couple of semi/uncovered steaks in the fridge at any random temperature between 35°-45° and just leaving them there.for a few days.?
                  Who knew?

                  1. re: Tay

                    Steaks aren't ideal for home aging..larger pieces work better..and you may need to trim off the "dried out" edges...and store them dry as Alan says..

                    Here's an article that explains some of it..

                    http://online.wsj.com/public/article/...

                    Here's a pic of a bone in ribeye after 10 days...the color changes from a bright red to a brownish color..with more concentrated flavor..expect about 10% shrinkage in the size of the meat.

                    http://flickr.com/photos/61246842@N00...

                    1. re: Tay

                      No, dry aging is achieved by hanging a primal cut in a carefully controlled 38° environment for 30-60 days. But the notion that "drying out" a steak by leaving it in the fridge for a couple of days will adversely affect the flavor or texture is absurd.

                      Oh, and if the meat drawer of your fridge fluctuates randomly between 35 and 40 degrees, you need a new fridge.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        That's what I thought, Dry aging is done in a carefully controlled temp/environment.You made it seem as though you could just toss a couple of steaks in the fridge and let them hang out and 'age' over a 1-2 week period. It didn't make any sense because that's not the case.

                        1. re: Tay

                          Actually, that is the case. You can. I have. It works. I'd hesitate to call it dry-aged meat because it has only been aged for a week or two. It doesn't have the same depth of flavor that it would develop after hanging for 45 days, but if you like aged meat it's definitely an improvement over a fresh cut.

                          BTW, it isn't just me. Alton Brown recommends dry-aging a standing rib roast in the home fridge. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip.... And if you read the reviews of the recipe, they're uniformly positive.

                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            I get the dry-aging part, but you cook this in a planter? What if you don't happen to have an azalea terra cotta planter?

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              The Alton Brown thing works if carefully controlled, as he showed. You can't dry age individual steaks in the frig...unless you like the taste of rotted beef.

                              1. re: Hensley

                                Have you tried leaving steaks in the foam wrapped trays from the grocery store in the fridge for a few days. Do a side by side comparison. I have and the steak left uncovered not only smells better, it's not rotten. The one in the plastic well, that one went into the trash. Maybe my fridge is different from yours. Don't know.

                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  I agree. The plastic-ed ones get green and weird. On a plate is fine for me for up to a week, I've never had the balls to extend it longer than that.

                                2. re: Hensley

                                  I don't know where you're getting your information, but it's wrong. I often put a large porterhouse on a rack over a plate and leave it in the meat drawer of the spare fridge for several days to a week or more before cooking it. I have done this dozens of times. The meat develops something of the intensity of flavor you get from full dry aging. It does not rot.

                                3. re: alanbarnes

                                  Alan, you're so right, we should hesitate to call this "dry-aging". That is done at a specific temp and humidity over one to three weeks. Some posters are describing dry-marinating. But even the Alton Brown recipe in the link lays this out:

                                  "Place into a refrigerator at approximately 50 to 60 percent humidity and between 34 and 38 degrees F. You can measure both with a refrigerator thermometer."

                                  My concern is that many people do not really control the temp and humidity of their home refrigerators. Also it fluctuates shelf to shelf. If you're not totally sure about the temp, you should not be doing this. It can be quite dangerous to eat meat that sat raw for days at the wrong temp.

                        2. As many know jfood is extremely conservative on food preservation. But going to the butcher on Sunday and wrapping well should not be a problem with tuesday. Saturday probably as well since it is fresh cut. Jfood would not keep them wrapped in the brown butcher paper though. He would transfer to hefty freezer bags.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: jfood

                            I bought some filet today for Tuesday. I wrapped each one in press and seal wrap then put them in freezer bags. I put them in the coldest spot of the garage fridge-it usually freezes nonalcoholic drinks in that spot. Hence why it is the garage fridge. Should I unwrap them maybe that day and let them air out? Or maybe on Monday? I can't seem to bring myself to "air/age" them any longer my husband once again will label them rancid.

                            1. re: chocchipcookie

                              We ended up buying ours on Friday. I wrapped each one separately in plastic wrap and then put them in a Ziploc bag. I put the bag in the meat drawer in the fridge on top of one of those blue freezer packs. I have another one of those packs in my freezer, so I keep switching them back and forth every 12 hours or so.

                              1. re: Philly Ray

                                Thanks Philly Ray. Are you gonna take your steaks out to air or age? Just curious. I just checked mine and they are partially frozen. I may uncover them on Mon night and let them stay uncovered until dinner Tues.

                                1. re: chocchipcookie

                                  I usually like to let my steaks come to room temp and then I normally use my grill pan to cook them. But that's when I buy run-of-the-mill stuff at the supermarket.

                                  The ones we bought on Friday were from a "real" butcher shop and we paid top dollar for them. I'm considering throwing them under the broiler since they are much thicker than what I am used to cooking. One method I saw has them going right from the fridge to the broiler. Since the times they use are based on that method, I might go with that. Plus, we also bought some gigantic shrimp to go with them and they will be going in the grill pan.

                                  1. re: Philly Ray

                                    Hi,
                                    I've been trying something lately by way of a rapid semi-forced aging,.. and I need opinions.

                                    While I've tried leaving the steak in the fridge exposed as has been suggested and its has reliably worked.
                                    (I'm a big fan of traditional gamey meats and caribou is fine riding a week on the back of the skidoo then I don't have any worries about steak in my fridge for a few days,)

                                    There are some times other things also in my fridge and the smell of raw aging meat and some other edible things don't necessarily mix.
                                    So, anyway lately I've been sealing my nice 2 inch rib-eye unwrapped in a plastic tupper wear like container with a little salt, (occasionally some garlic or rosemary or whatever), and a generous handful or so of rice.

                                    I figure that like with the rice in the salt shakers at roadside dinners its tendency to suck up moister rapidly would help dry out the steak, and boy does it,... a day or so in there and where talking a different chunk of meat, in fact you have to be careful or it might go jerky.

                                    Anyway, I have just tried it a couple of times lately and figure I'd ask if anyone had any serious objections.

                                    1. re: madjohn

                                      Life intervened and I kept a 2 inch thick cut porterhouse in my fridge for a week and half (I think) in a ziplock, in the back of the fridge but not the meat drawer. Weirdly, the filet is a dark brown, while the NY side is still reddish. it smells mildly gamey. the fillet side is much softer than the other. So.. cook it all? trim it? throw it out?

                                      1. re: cwodtke

                                        Sorry I named the sides wrongly, as some googling showed me. It's what i was taught; we can't all be raised by bobby flay./;) This helped http://www.themeatmarketgb.com/porter... seems the tenderloin did indeed suffer form age, and got mushy. However the NY side was tasty. And honestly, I think it was two weeks. (rolls eyes).

                          2. I just bought a full package one piece of beef tenderloin in a crayovac bag . It,s in the fridge I roll it every three day,s for 10 day in it,s on juices I,m I correct ?

                            1. How long can I cure costco tenderloin in it,s heavy vacuum wrap?