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Dec 19, 2007 10:53 AM

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?


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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


                    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.

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