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Year old frozen ribs and hot links

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by ack226, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. ack226

    ack226 Newbie

    I have a raw rack of ribs and a package of hot links that have been in my freezer for a little over a year.  They're both still in the vacuum sealed plastic packaging from the store.  They were put in my freezer as soon as I got them and have stayed frozen since.  Think I can still cook them or should I throw them out?
  2. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    I have eaten stuff frozen that long if it was a steady zero temperature. Depending on how well it was sealed, it might have a freezer taste. Does it look like there are ice crystals in it? That usually is a good indicator of freezer burn.

    The old adage "if in doubt, throw it out" is a good one. Usually the concern is if the temperature ever got above a safe level.

    Would be a shame to spend the time to smoke & serve up the ribs & links and then find out they tasted funny.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  3. bcfishman

    bcfishman Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Since youre asking for input, I'd say theyre fine.

    Vaccuum sealed and always frozen.

    You know what opinions are like though...
  4. Everyones got one.......

    I'd say you're fine. As stated above, as long as it was kept at a safe cold temp. I've eaten stuff that old. Vacuum packed and kept frozen...no worries here
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I would say that you are fine aslong as there is no signs of freezer burn. If any of the ice crystals aren't forming inside the package you should be fine.
  6. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If they still look good smokem!!
  7. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Only one way to find out, thaw them out and see if there freezer burnt. I've had chubs of sausage in the freezer for that long and they were fine.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  8. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah, I've got "One" too... And you know I can't resist a food safety question!! [​IMG]

    I would say for the purposes of SAFETY it DEPENDS.

    Was it in a deep freezer at 0 degrees?  (eat it, 12 months is fine)  -or-

    Was it in the top (or bottom) of a fridge/freezer combo? (pitch it - 6 months MAX, 3 is better)


    As far as taste and/or quality goes? Check for freezer burn. Cut off any areas that have been dried out, proceed as normal.


  9. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    What Princess said,

    Plus I would add, if it looks OK, and it smells OK----Smoke it.

  10. ack226

    ack226 Newbie

    They're in the top of a fridge/freezer combo.  Not sure of the temp in there, but they're frozen rock solid.  Now that I look at it more closely there are some ice crystals on the ribs under the packaging.  I'll toss them.  No ice crystals on the Hot Links and I'd imagine they're loaded with preservatives.  Think they're ok?
  11. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Dude... in all fairness, I do not jack around with pork.  For $3 you can buy another pack of links, you know? 
     I'd grab me some new ones...
  12. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Ice crystals are a sign of possible degraded quality not a sign of safety. 
  13. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    This thread is a sad commentary on contemporary life. Make what you want of it, I pitch stuff too. It irks me to no end that a bargain sometime ago has turned into a waste.
  14. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    I completely agree.

    It's not the ice crystals that concern me (for safety, though admittedly, perhaps for taste). It is the containment (fridge/freezer combo) and time frame (12 months) that makes me question the safety as per USDA guidelines.

    To be off topic, I eat rare steak and consume sashimi regularly. At certain establishments, I consider these delicacies to be worth the risk.  But a styropak of brekkie links?  IMHO, not worth it, and USDA recommends against it. $.02
  15. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    Strange eh? I completely agree with you. Raw fish is a fave.
  16. smoke_chef

    smoke_chef Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    The real lesson here... and one I hope you will remember always Ack226... is you should never ever leave a perfectly good rack of ribs in the freezer that long for any reason. Shaaaaammmmeeee on you Ack226. Shhhaaaammmeeee!!!  To think that you would disrespect that meat by neglecting it for that long... It's ribs man... ribs I say!!! Never mind those links. But ribs... One doesn't idoly put away ribs in the freezer only to forget about them. Why... you should have your smoker taken away for one month! Yes... that's it. You're grounded. And stand with your nose in the corner and think about what you've done!

    hernando likes this.
  17. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Dang I would have made him chop wood instead. [​IMG]
  18. Yes I agree with the Chef
  19. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yeah, since you're talking about a fridge/freeze combo, definitely chuck it.

    I never put any of my precious stuff in that freezer. I put all of my treasures in my small (7.3 cu ft) chest freezer. Besides, I don't think a rack of ribs would even fit in our little side by side piece of crap we mistakenly call a refrigerator/freezer combo!

    Ack226, Don't worry about it. Everybody screws up once in awhile. As long as nobody gets sick, it's a cheap lesson.

    You could do like I do--Buy the ribs a day or two before you're gonna make 'em.

  20. ack226

    ack226 Newbie

    Thanks for the advice everyone.
    My only defense is that our baby was born around the time I bought the ribs.  They went in the freezer, I went into new baby survival mode, and the next thing I know it's a year later.  I know it doesn't completely excuse my negligence, but please don't take away my smoker!