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Now that summer has arrived, it’s time to fire up the smoker and start preparing the first big backyard barbeque of the year. This includes defrosting the briskets you’ve been saving all winter.
However, it’s critical to know whether those frozen briskets have survived their winter hibernation and are safe to eat.
If brisket has spoiled, it will usually be quite noticeable by emitting very unpleasant scents or displaying unappealing colors and compromised textures.
This is vital not just for flavor and food quality, but also for safe food requirements to protect you and your guests from foodborne illnesses.
In this article, we’ll go over how to detect if your brisket is bad, as well as storage recommendations and tactics for extending the life of your brisket.
How to Tell if Beef Brisket Has Gone Bad
Does Brisket Have a Smell?
While most raw meats will not necessarily have a “pleasant” odor, it should not be overpowering. Healthy meat should have a somewhat metallic odor, but nothing that is “pungent” or easily detectable.
Spoiled brisket will pack quite a punch, especially if it’s gone bad inside a vacuum sealed package. It will emit a sour, putrid odor, possibly with the slight smell of ammonia.
The rancid smell is caused by bacteria that develops on expired meat, which not only makes it smell awful but also makes it hazardous to eat.
This means you shouldn’t try to “cook the bacteria off,” because the spores are most likely embedded in the meat.
Color and Texture (Other Signs of Spoilage)
Aside from the smells, rotten brisket has a disturbing texture that is far from appetizing. When brisket goes bad, its color changes to a greyish, dark complexion with a greenish/yellow tinge.
Keep in mind that just because the brisket’s color darkens doesn’t imply it’s bad. Meat that has been thawed from a vacuum seal or refrigerated for 4-5 days can sometimes develop a darker tone.
As a result, it’s critical to keep an eye out for yellow/greenish splotches, which clearly indicate that the meat has spoiled.
Aside from the color, the meat’s consistency can have a sticky/filmy texture. The surface may become sticky and even develop mold specks.
How Long Until Raw Brisket Goes Bad?
There are several factors that influence how long a brisket can be properly preserved, including storage conditions and even the quality of the beef prior to storing.
How Long Is Raw Brisket Good Refrigerated?
Raw briskets should typically be refrigerated for no more than 3 to 5 days. This time can be prolonged for up to 10 days provided the brisket is properly vacuum sealed and kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
How Long Can Raw Brisket be Frozen?
Again, this is dependent on the condition of the brisket before freezing. Technically speaking, raw brisket can be kept frozen indefinitely as long as it is properly wrapped.
However, this is not ideal because the quality will begin to deteriorate, and the chances of freezer burn will increase. However, if raw brisket is frozen soon after purchase and stored in airtight packaging, it can be stored and kept in good condition for up to 12 months.
How Long Can Raw Brisket Last at Room Temperature?
Brisket, whether beef or pork, should never be allowed to sit at room temperature for more than two hours. After that, the meat becomes a haven for bacterial development.
To comply with this, always adhere to the “danger zone,” which is a temperature range in which raw and cooked brisket is deemed safe to eat.
This temperature range is between 40- and 140-degrees(F).
For example: raw pork should not be allowed to reach 40 degrees(F), and cooked pork should not be allowed to dip below 140 degrees(F).
This is especially useful if you can’t remember how long the brisket has been sitting out.
It should be noted that raw meat that has been exposed to room temperature for two hours cannot be safely refrigerated or frozen.
How Long Does Smoked Brisket Last?
Brisket that has been fully cooked should follow the same criteria as raw brisket. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and frozen for up to 12 months.
To discourage bacterial growth, it should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours after being pulled from the smoker.
While a healthy brisket may not smell “pleasant,” it should not smell strong or overwhelming. A rotten or foul odor from the meat indicates that it has gone bad.
If you’re still unsure whether your brisket is gone, keep the following in mind:
- Although thawed meat may get darker in color, it should never have yellowish/green tints.
- Check the texture of the meat; if it’s gotten slimy or has formed a sticky film, don’t risk it.
- Always follow the rules of the danger zone.