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Sep 22, 2009 05:51 PM

A little worried about my ground beef...

I picked up a pound of fresh ground beef at the butcher (Thundering Hooves for anyone familiar with Walla Walla), came home, put it in the back of the fridge and forgot it was there because our dinner plans changed at the last minute.

It was sealed, not just wrapped, but the date says Sept. 14. I made my hamburgers (they're now in the fridge waiting to be grilled) and they smell "normal" not foul, but I'm a little worried.

What do you think? Would you eat it?

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  1. I admit, I'd have tossed it even before opening to smell it - ground beef is one of those things that I keep for generally one day, or I freeze it. But I tend to err on the side of caution, so others may have a different take.

    1. If they don't smell and aren't gray or slimy, go ahead and make the burgers. If you are more cautious, use the beef in something that you cook more thoroughly. If I have ground beef that is starting to smell off but that I still want to use, it's generally for chili or sloppy joes, sometimes just thoroughly browned with onions and soy sauce and spooned over mashed potato.

      7 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I'm with you on the smell and slimy front.

        1. re: greygarious

          i agree about smell and slime, but not greyness. meat, unless it is treated, turns grey when exposed to air.

          1. re: thew

            This is true. A grey color on your ground beef can simply be the iron in the meat/blood oxidizing when it is exposed to air.

            If they smelled fine, I would have eaten them, but I would have made sure they were cooked thoroughly without any pink remaining. Scratch that - I hate well-done burgers. I would have used the meat for something else, like tacos, where I could break it up and ensure it was cooked all the way through to kill any potential bacteria.

            1. re: QueenB

              my understanding is that the grey you find inside of a package of ground beef, or when a skirt steak is folded over itself, is from a *lack* of air exposure. that would be fine to eat. when the outside of your meat is grey, it was time to throw it away yesterday.

              as far as keeping day old ground beef, i think 1 day is about the max, and that's if it's wrapped really well. take a hit on the 4 bucks and get yourself some fresh meat.

              1. re: QueenB

                Ground beef does not turn gray when exposed to oxygen...It turns Red! It's called "Bloom" .....


                1. re: Uncle Bob

                  Sorry, had it backwards. I hadn't had my required cup of coffee yet.

                  1. re: QueenB

                    No apology needed Miss QueenB :)

          2. I am sure someone will give you more official advice. But, my mamma always told me that 5 days in the fridge is okay for beef. I am "posting proof" that it won't kill you if you follow the "5 day rule" :)

            1. Thanks all!
              I'm going to go ahead and grill'em up. I get so mad at myself if I waste food, especially something like this great beef, so I'm taking the risk.

              1 Reply
              1. re: browneyedwoman

                Please update us. What was the upshot? I hope nothing "shot" anywhere! ;-)

              2. I would eat them burgers for sure. I don't know what your label looks like, but usually the date is a "sell by" date. I have no idea what that means in terms of "cook or freeze by" date, and if I did I still would not trust a label created by who knows who in some back room of the meat department. As others have said, give it a sniff test (which it seems you did and they passed), and if you like your burgers medium rare, make it more to the medium side this time. Should be no problem at all for meatloaf, spaghetti sauce and such.

                And even if it smells a bit rank you can still detoxify funky meat by cooking to to 160 F. You can't de-funkify it, but it still makes great dog or cat food after a proper cooking.