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How long do you guys store smoked meats in the fridge?

viper

Smoke Blower
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Joined Dec 6, 2010
Just curious how many days you guys leave stuff in the fridge?  I am usually cool with 2 weeks but thought I might see what others do. 
 

cycletrash

Meat Mopper
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Nothing that I cook or smoke last that long , everyone eats it up . Between my parents ,nieghbor and friends I get pillaged ! LOL
 

forluvofsmoke

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There have been a few ocassions where I've reluctantly pitched a couple small baggies of smoked goodies on the 5th day. Cured and smoked, I don't risk after 7 days, and in either case, this may even be pushing things a bit.

One thing to consider is that modern refrigerators are designed to properly chill the food, but need to be loaded correctly in order to operate correctly. If they have a light load, they can warm up too much when they are in the defrost mode. If they are loaded too heavily the defrost mode won't be an issue, but, then the cold air may not circulate effectively throughout the unit. Some foods may even become frozen while others are too warm. We have a family of 7, a 26 cu ft side-by-side for our main unit, a 4.2 cu ft for my Q-fridge (thawing/curing), 2 upright freezers and a 21 cu ft side-by-side for outdoor use in my Q-kitchen in the summer. We're constantly overloading our main fridge, so it becomes a concern to me quite often.

Bear in mind, you're not using the chemical preservatives which the commercially produced cold-cuts have in them. Even the good packaging of certain brands of cold cuts won't stop bacteria after it's opened.

Smoking, increased salt content from using dry rubs, and especially curing will preserve the meat and increase the product's refrigerator life, but it's nothing to gamble with.

I've gotten sick from deli smoked turkey breast about 15 years ago...bag wasn't dated and I was suffering through sinus congestion (my sniffer didn't work for squat). The thing is, meats may still smell fine and it could be right on the verge of getting toxic from bacterial waste to make you sick. When it's turned completely nasty with odor and has a slimy feel, yeah, that's instant trouble. Anyway, one sandwich and less than 8 hours later, I found myself with severe gastro-intestinal cramps and after many fast-paced trips to the large porcelain receptacle, it was finally over...after 6 or 8 more hours of sheer agony. Lucky for me, it was coming out the back door instead of the front.

Point being, don't take the chance on it spoiling. My rule of thumb is that if we may not eat it within 3 days, it goes to the freezer for a "rainy day". And it doesn't matter much to me weather it's candian bacon, corned beef pastrami, or my cured/smoked chicken sausage (all being cured smoked), or juyst smoked ribs, pulled pork, brisket, yard birds...I tell my wife and kids to eat it or freeze it after the second day. If there is a lot of it, chances are it's going to the freezer.

If I'm looking through the fridge for something to cook or snack on and find a package without a date and no-one seems to know how old it is, I just toss it. It's not worth it, IMO.

Trust me, food poisoning sux big time, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone...well, except maybe for Osama Bin Laden...LOL!!!!!!

Eric
 
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SmokinAl

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I think Eric said it all. Better safe than sorry.
 

realtorterry

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I'm with them. It's usually just me & my wife, but if it's not vav sealed & frozen it goes in the trash after 1 week
 

mballi3011

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2 weeks do you like hairy meat or what. We don't leave anything if the refrig for more then 2-3 days then it's into the freezer or the trash. Now I forgot who was the first to mention this but here goes. "It's not Red Meat that's bad for you it the green hairy meat thats Bad for you."
 

beer-b-q

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I don't eat anything left in the fridge for more than 4-5 days and sometimes less depending on what it is...
 

beer-b-q

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This is from the FDA food safety site.

Source: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html
[h1]Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer[/h1]
These short but safe time limits for home-refrigerated foods will keep them from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. The guidelines for freezer storage are for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.

For storage times for eggs and foods made with eggs, see Egg Storage Chart.

Category

Food

Refrigerator
(40 °F or below)

Freezer
(0 °F or below)

Salads

Egg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads

3 to 5 days

Does not freeze well

Hot dogs

opened package

1 week

1 to 2 months

unopened package

2 weeks

1 to 2 months

Luncheon meat

opened package or deli sliced

3 to 5 days

1 to 2 months

unopened package

2 weeks

1 to 2 months

Bacon & Sausage

Bacon

7 days

1 month

Sausage, raw — from chicken, turkey, pork, beef

1 to 2 days

1 to 2 months

Hamburger & Other Ground Meats

Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixtures of them

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork

Steaks

3 to 5 days

6 to 12 months

Chops

3 to 5 days

4 to 6 months

Roasts

3 to 5 days

4 to 12 months

Fresh Poultry

Chicken or turkey, whole

1 to 2 days

1 year

Chicken or turkey, pieces

1 to 2 days

9 months

Soups & Stews

Vegetable or meat added

3 to 4 days

2 to 3 months

Leftovers

Cooked meat or poultry

3 to 4 days

2 to 6 months

Chicken nuggets or patties

3 to 4 days

1 to 3 months

Pizza

3 to 4 days

1 to 2 months
 

beer-b-q

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
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Joined May 1, 2007
This is from the FDA food safety site.

Source: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html
[h1]Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer[/h1]
These short but safe time limits for home-refrigerated foods will keep them from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. The guidelines for freezer storage are for quality only. Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.

For storage times for eggs and foods made with eggs, see Egg Storage Chart.

Category

Food

Refrigerator
(40 °F or below)

Freezer
(0 °F or below)

Salads

Egg, chicken, ham, tuna & macaroni salads

3 to 5 days

Does not freeze well

Hot dogs

opened package

1 week

1 to 2 months

unopened package

2 weeks

1 to 2 months

Luncheon meat

opened package or deli sliced

3 to 5 days

1 to 2 months

unopened package

2 weeks

1 to 2 months

Bacon & Sausage

Bacon

7 days

1 month

Sausage, raw — from chicken, turkey, pork, beef

1 to 2 days

1 to 2 months

Hamburger & Other Ground Meats

Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, & mixtures of them

1 to 2 days

3 to 4 months

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork

Steaks

3 to 5 days

6 to 12 months

Chops

3 to 5 days

4 to 6 months

Roasts

3 to 5 days

4 to 12 months

Fresh Poultry

Chicken or turkey, whole

1 to 2 days

1 year

Chicken or turkey, pieces

1 to 2 days

9 months

Soups & Stews

Vegetable or meat added

3 to 4 days

2 to 3 months

Leftovers

Cooked meat or poultry

3 to 4 days

2 to 6 months

Chicken nuggets or patties

3 to 4 days

1 to 3 months

Pizza

3 to 4 days

1 to 2 months
 

nicetoy

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Joined Apr 12, 2015
Old thread I know, but seeing as I get into this argument with a co-worker fairly regularly, thought I'd chime in.  I'm with the original poster in that +/- 2 weeks is acceptable.  The FDA guidelines are total BS, and unless you have a very weak, compromised immune system for some reason, your body should be able to easily handle the small amount of extra bacteria that may be on the meat.  Think of how much we can potentially spend on good quality meats for smoking, might as well use it as long as possible.  If you want to be wasteful and throw your hard earned money right into the trash, that's your choice, but unless it's slimy/growing and smells array, I say its likely still ok.   Keep in mind that while smoking, "the bark" is actually a highly acidic layer that preserves the meat.  This is exactly how people used to store meat long term prior to refrigeration.  Now I'm sure once you slice  it, it opens the door for bacteria, but smoking combined with modern refrigeration, and I'd say 2 weeks is pretty reasonable.   my2cents 
 
Last edited:

bmaddox

Master of the Pit
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Joined Jan 5, 2015
 
Old thread I know, but seeing as I get into this argument with a co-worker fairly regularly, thought I'd chime in.  I'm with the original poster in that +/- 2 weeks is acceptable.  The FDA guidelines are total BS, and unless you have a very weak, compromised immune system for some reason, your body should be able to easily handle the small amount of extra bacteria that may be on the meat.  Think of how much we can potentially spend on good quality meats for smoking, might as well use it as long as possible.  If you want to be wasteful and throw your hard earned money right into the trash, that's your choice, but unless it's slimy/growing and smells array, I say its likely still ok.   Keep in mind that while smoking, "the bark" is actually a highly acidic layer that preserves the meat.  This is exactly how people used to store meat long term prior to refrigeration.  Now I'm sure once you slice  it, it opens the door for bacteria, but smoking combined with modern refrigeration, and I'd say 2 weeks is pretty reasonable.   my2cents 
I really don't want to start this discussion up so I will simply say that the forum guidelines state that everyone abides by FDA/USDA regulations and that we don't counter what those regulations say with our own personal opinion that has no scientific evidence to back it up. I think telling people that two weeks is fine is dangerous as you have no idea what their circumstances are. The regulations exist to keep people safe under all circumstances. If you don't want to abide by them that's fine but please don't go trying to convince people that they are incorrect.

And on the topic of saving your smoked foods, put them in the freezer. I have a freezer full of smoked food so I can have some whenever I want. 
 

padronman

Master of the Pit
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116
Joined May 5, 2011
I VAC and freeze all my leftovers if I have any and portion them out for future meals.

Scott
 

forluvofsmoke

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,170
405
Joined Aug 27, 2008
 
I really don't want to start this discussion up so I will simply say that the forum guidelines state that everyone abides by FDA/USDA regulations and that we don't counter what those regulations say with our own personal opinion that has no scientific evidence to back it up. I think telling people that two weeks is fine is dangerous as you have no idea what their circumstances are. The regulations exist to keep people safe under all circumstances. If you don't want to abide by them that's fine but please don't go trying to convince people that they are incorrect.

And on the topic of saving your smoked foods, put them in the freezer. I have a freezer full of smoked food so I can have some whenever I want. 
That is the EXACT response we should see on this topic. Very well done!!!

Food poisoning is not something you should leave to chance, and one should definitely not toy with any misconceived ideas of "what if" when food safety is a concern. The lucky ones who become ill from mishandled/stored food simply have gastrointestinal tract difficulties, while some are not so lucky.

Originally Posted by Nicetoy  
 

Old thread I know, but seeing as I get into this argument with a co-worker fairly regularly, thought I'd chime in.  I'm with the original poster in that +/- 2 weeks is acceptable.  The FDA guidelines are total BS, and unless you have a very weak, compromised immune system for some reason, your body should be able to easily handle the small amount of extra bacteria that may be on the meat.

Call the guidelines whatever you wish. They were implemented to protect us from, well, ourselves. People do ignorant things every day...sometimes they (or someone else) pay(s) for their mistakes...and the rest of us learn from it and move forward, a little wiser than we were the day before.  We're not the pioneers of this nation...that era is long past, and yes, their knowledge has been carried down through the generations. There are still old-world, natural, artisan ways of preserving flesh-foods that are still viable, effective and reliable...these are based on the environmental conditions present and the skill-sets of those who still practice these methods...these methods are learned through a life of tradition, and are practiced as part of their way of life. They aren't just preserving meats, they're preserving their lifestyle.

Think of how much we can potentially spend on good quality meats for smoking, might as well use it as long as possible.  If you want to be wasteful and throw your hard earned money right into the trash, that's your choice, but unless it's slimy/growing and smells array, I say its likely still ok. 

By the time it's slimy it's far beyond the level of toxicity which would likely make most of us quite ill. It doesn't even need to have an offensive or rank odor to be unsafe for human consumption...which brings up the question: when did it cross the line and become unsafe to consume? That question can only be answered in a lab, where precise measurement are used to make a determination...which has for the most part already been done for us...hence, those pesky USDA/FDA guidelines.

Keep in mind that while smoking, "the bark" is actually a highly acidic layer that preserves the meat.  This is exactly how people used to store meat long term prior to refrigeration.  Now I'm sure once you slice  it, it opens the door for bacteria, but smoking combined with modern refrigeration, and I'd say 2 weeks is pretty reasonable.   my2cents 

Not exactly: smoking to preserve flesh-foods also involves DRYING...drying being the major contributor to preservation. By drying you reduce water activity, thereby reducing bacterial activity. I doubt you'll slice a dried brisket, pork shoulder or other larger cut of meat that has been smoked an dried. Not to mention the drying time for larger cuts would essentially render it unsafe in and of itself (we're not talking about dry-curing or fermenting/dry-curing here...that's a whole new ball-game). Drying of flesh-foods for the purpose of preservation is achieved by processing it into smaller pieces so that drying can be accomplished relatively quickly, before bacteria can multiply and elevate toxins to dangerous levels.

Stick around here long enough and you'll learn more about food than you will ever have the need for...


Trust me, back in 2008 when I joined SMF, I THOUGHT I knew what I was doing with a smoker (for example)...I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn...and I'm still learning...some of it I don't need to know simply because I don't use that particular method or process (such as fermenting/dry-curing), while there are many other things I practice every time I start a fire to cook a meal.

Enjoy your time here!!!

Eric
 

themandlj32

Smoke Blower
84
18
Joined Nov 27, 2014
Hello. As serving as a food service guy in the Army I follow the TB Med 530 and that states 72 hours in the fridge. After that I'll throw it away if I haven't vacuum sealed it if it's sealed it goes in the freezer.
 

rabbithutch

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
1,600
46
Joined Oct 15, 2011
Dang it!

You guys just let my wife win the argument!

I always thought that once meat was cooked it could be left in a refrigerator almost indefinitely, but these posts have made me change my mind. I'm about to throw out most of 2 smoked butts that I never pulled but sliced and chopped. I left them in the extra reefer for about 2 weeks now thinking that I could slice and vac seal 'em for the freezer.

I printed out the USDA guidelines from B-B-Q's post and will post them on my reefer. I always date everything I put in the freezer just so I'll know how old it is when I do a clean out.


Still, you've probably saved me from myself yet again; so THANK YOU!!!!
 

oldschoolbbq

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
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Joined Jul 16, 2008
Save 
, like the others , it don't get past day one. or two at the most
.

Follow the recommendations and have fun and . . .
 

gary s

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Joined Jan 6, 2011
Good Info.   I vac. seal what I want and hide it in the freezer, Smoked meat just doesn't last long at my house

Gary
 

judy rogers

Newbie
1
10
Joined Dec 2, 2015
Chill Promptly
Refrigerate meat and poultry within 2 hours of removing it from a smoker. Cut the meat or poultry into smaller portions or slices, place it in shallow containers, cover, and refrigerate. Use it within 4 days or freeze for later use.
 

BTW this info is from the USDA federal website. Hope it helps you and other's. 
 

jpc815

Newbie
2
10
Joined May 18, 2015
We have a small family and know that we cannot eat a large smoked butt fast enough to prevent spoiling.  We spit it into pound packages and freeze part of it to keep it good longer.  It thaws and reheats well.  
 

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