Expired Lamb - advice?
So I accidentally bought some cryovac'd lamb chops that expired July 31 ("best before/freeze before July 31"), the receipt is gone, and the nearest opportunity I will get to cook it is tomorrow.
So, I'm wondering what exactly that expiry message means, and if I cook it tomorrow will it be safe? What are the potential risks of eating it other than it tasting bad?
I know I can do a smell test or something, but I know that since it's vacuum packed it's gonna smell a bit off anyhow, and if I open it to let it air out I could be potentially reducing it's shelf life.
My experience has been that expiration dates for meat, assuming the meat has been kept properly refrigerated, are very conservative. I trust my nose, and if I detect a slight odor I give it a quick rinse and smell again, at which point the odor is usually gone and I don't worry further. If I still got a strong odor after that I'd cook it up for the pups, but I can't remember the last time that happened.
Me three, but for extra insurance I'd marinate it for 8hrs or more, since typical marinade ingredients have enough salt and/or acid to kill the nasties.
Your label is a "best before" not "use by" so you have a little latitude.
It should be OK to cook it today. Check if it smells.
And, I think you should cook it thoroughly to kill any bugs which means that you're not going to have nice juicy pink lamb, I'm afraid.
I will agree with the above comments and have myself found meats to be usually good well past the "best by" date if they've been kept properly. Your nose will tell you pretty quickly if it's gone off.
If your fridge is properly cold (or if you've frozen the meat right away for a future use) you'll be fine. If you think it's borderline, marinate it before using it, or better yet, sear it and then stew in in a Jalfrezzi or RoganJosh sauce (Indian style) or a Berbere based sauce (Ethiopian style).
I've got a couple of cryovac'd lamb shanks that are waiting for good lentil weather. As far as I'm concerned, cryovac = immortality, or damn near. If they ain't green, I'll cook'em.