Does time in cryovac change taste?

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Nate52

Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jun 22, 2021
215
257
Queensbury, NY
I know beef is supposed to be safe for 6ish weeks in cryovac, but is the taste affected in any way? I'm assuming this topic has been covered before, but maybe I just can't figure out the right search terms.

I bought a whole ribeye to cut a roast from for a delayed Christmas dinner, which was supposed to take place on January 1st. But the kids are on quarantine until the following Monday, so we're forced to push it back another week.

The butcher gave me a packing date of 12/9, so I didn't think anything of letting it sit in a 34 degree fridge for three weeks. But now we're getting to the point where it will be over four weeks. I know that it will still be safe to eat, but when will there be a noticeable flavor change?
 
I know beef is supposed to be safe for 6ish weeks in cryovac, but is the taste affected in any way? I'm assuming this topic has been covered before, but maybe I just can't figure out the right search terms.

The butcher gave me a packing date of 12/9, so I didn't think anything of letting it sit in a 34 degree fridge for three weeks. But now we're getting to the point where it will be over four weeks. I know that it will still be safe to eat, but when will there be a noticeable flavor change?

Beef can be wet aged in the cryo packaging, and as it breaks down the meat becomes more tender and develops a more 'beefy flavor'. It's different from a dry aged beef flavor, but good nonetheless. They sometimes smell slightly strong when you first open the cryo pack, but the odor dissipates in a few minutes. If beef has turned, you will know immediately.

All that said, you must have the pack date that appears on the end of the case. Boxed beef can sit in the shipping case, in the walk-in cooler for quite some time, and it's wet aging all of this time. When the store moves a brisket for example to the meat case, they weigh it and print a label... and that label will display a 'use by' or 'sell by' date. This date is not the 'pack date'. So, if you got the pack date of 12/9 from the packing case itself, you are fine for 30 days beyond, and could push the date a little longer. If you are going from a date on the label, your beef may have already had 3 weeks of wet age on it and you would not want to add 30 more days.
 
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The 12/9 date is definitely the packing date. This is from a regular grocery store chain that generally doesn't offer beef sold this way. The butcher and I talked about my intentions, so he understood which date I needed. The date he threw on the sticker was definitely more conservative than necessary.
 
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As for the taste, I'm all for beefier. My desserts are rich, my cigars are maduros, and my whiskey is neat. I love strong flavors.

I'm just trying to think of my guests. Heck, one of them would prefer fish over beef. Thats practically a vegetable.
 
The 12/9 date is definitely the packing date. This is from a regular grocery store chain that generally doesn't offer beef sold this way. The butcher and I talked about my intentions, so he understood which date I needed. The date he threw on the sticker was definitely more conservative than necessary.
Then you should be good to go. I recently bought a Prime beef tenderloin that already had 28 days on it, I aged it another week and it was fantastic.
 
As for the taste, I'm all for beefier. My desserts are rich, my cigars are maduros, and my whiskey is neat. I love strong flavors.

I'm just trying to think of my guests. Heck, one of them would prefer fish over beef. Thats practically a vegetable.
When you are steaking out the loin, make a thin one and saute it in butter, you will get a feel for the flavor. Serving au jus on the side is a plus for some folks.
 
Thanks.

Instead of an au jus, I do a bourbon and mushroom cream sauce. So If they don't like it, they can just drown it in that.
 
I just hate the thought of going through the process of freezing for just a week.
Here's some examples of a stickers that have both dates son it .
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1640807938581.jpeg

I always check the dates when I buy . If it's a pack date close to when I'm buying , I'll just leave it in the fridge . I see on average 35 to 40 days on vac'd beef .
How you like those prices ? Lol . Had the freezer stocked pretty deep .
 
Unfortunately, they didn't put the packing date on the sticker, since its so rare that they sell anything still I'm cryo. They sometimes have tenderloin and brisket in cryo this time of year, but its rare.

I wish we had a Gordon's here. There's something similar about an hour away, but I can never justify a trip in that direction.
 
Nate , if you know it was packed on 12 / 9 figure 35 or 40 days for beef in a still intact package . If you know for sure your fridge temp is 34 degrees , your fine .
 
Yeah, I was never concerned about if the meat is good or not. Just trying to get a feel for how the flavor might change over time.
 
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Yeah, I was never concerned about if the meat is good or not. Just trying to get a feel for how the flavor might change over time.
Yeah , I get that . Just saying it all falls into the same " duration ". USDA web site has great info and meanings of product dating .
Gonna be a great meal for you and yours . Enjoy .
 
I always check the dates when I buy . If it's a pack date close to when I'm buying , I'll just leave it in the fridge . I see on average 35 to 40 days on vac'd beef .
How you like those prices ? Lol . Had the freezer stocked pretty deep .
Here is a funny I didn't even notice until I used the brisket.... The backstory was the meat cutter knew all about wet aging and he brought out 4 or 5 briskets for me to choose from, I picked this one and he had another guy print the label while he visited with me. The printer was set-up for hamburger and guy #2 did not change it.... he just entered the weight and printed the
nf7xfMn.jpg
 
Finally got around to cutting the roast out of this. I was a little nervous, because that section of my spare fridge was a little warmer than I thought. It was more in the 38-39 degree range.

I dabbed it with paper towels and let it rest for a few minutes to air out. To describe the smell as "beefy" is definitely accurate. I asked the wife to take a sniff and confirm that it wasn't bad. She approved, which means we're ok.

I ended up cutting a four bone roast. Left one bone on the loin end thats destined for a reverse sear, and two bones on the chuck side that made three great looking steaks. Allowing them to break down in the cryovac for four weeks did amazing things for tenderizing. You could almost cut them with a fork now.

There was a lot fat on the end, so I decided to french the bones. Not bad for a first attempt.
20220107_183602.jpg


About 2.5" thick. Should be the perfect meal for the two of us later on, plus some leftovers.
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Its safe to say that these are the most tender ribeyes that I've ever handled. Its a shame that they're destined for the freezer, but I just don't know when I'll have a chance to get back into them.
20220107_190041.jpg
 
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