Marinating beef is an easy way to make any dish taste better, but if you’re not sure how long it will last in the fridge, it can be daunting.
In this post, I will share with you some facts and tips about marinated beef storage.
So, how long does a marinated beef stay in the fridge?
The fresh beef can last for 3 – 5 days in the fridge after it has been marinated. However, this time frame is only applicable to raw meat. If you’ve cooked your marinated beef, then it will last for 4 – 6 days.
Now that you know how long marinated beef should be stored in the fridge, I will give you a few tips that will help keep it as fresh as possible.
Tips for Refrigerating Marinated Beef
When marinating beef, you should put it in the fridge immediately after it is done marinating. This ensures that bacteria are not given enough time to grow.
Store the marinated beef in a tightly sealed container. This way, it won’t dry out and if there is a lot of moisture loss during the marination process then you won’t lose as much.
After putting your meat into a container, make sure that you take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking so that it gets to room temperature.
Don’t reuse the marinade for cooking or if you do, make sure it is boiled first. Also, don’t use a container that has been used before or you risk contaminating your beef with traces of the previous marinade.
Can you freeze marinated beef?
My quick answer is yes; you can freeze marinated beef as long as it is done right.
To do this, firstly, you should put your beef into a container that’s freezer-friendly and then cover it with cling film to avoid freezer burn.
Next, you should take your marinated beef out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you want to put it into the freezer to ensure that it doesn’t defrost.
Then seal it tightly and label the container with the date so that you know when to use it up.
However, while freezing marinated beef is possible, it isn’t always recommended because it can affect the taste of your beef.
This is why I recommend that you only freeze marinated beef if there is no other option.
What happens if you marinate beef too long?
If you marinate beef too long, then your dish will begin to develop a sour taste.
This is because the sugar in the marinade begins to break down and ferment and it causes the meat to change its chemical composition and this leads to a bad flavor.
In addition, an over marinated beef may also become mushy because certain compounds found in the meat begin to break down at a faster rate than normal.
Also, if you marinate the beef for too long then it will begin to lose its moisture.
This is the reason why I recommend 3-5 days when refrigerated.
How can you tell if the marinated beef is bad?
The best way to tell if your marinated beef is bad is by checking the sell-by date on its packaging.
If it has passed this date, then you should throw it out because chances are that it isn’t safe for human consumption anymore.
To be sure, you can inspect the meat’s color and smell. If there are any visible changes to the marinated beef such as discoloration or mold, then you should discard it.
In addition, if there is a sour smell or taste then you shouldn’t eat it either.
If your marinated beef has passed its sell-by date, then you’re better off throwing it out.
Even if you cook the beef, this won’t make it safe to eat because some harmful bacteria can survive cooking temperatures.
Do’s and don’ts of marinating beef
Let’s talk about the Do’s first
Do use a glass container with a tightly sealed lid. This will stop your beef from drying out and getting freezer burn.
Do use the right kind of oil. Olive oil may cause your beef to taste bitter.
Do let your marinated beef sit in the fridge overnight to enhance its flavor.
Do wash your hands and utensils thoroughly before and after you’ve handled the marinated beef to prevent contamination. If you’re cooking with fresh marinated beef, then you should also give the same care afterward while handling the leftovers.
Do refrigerate your marinated beef as soon as possible to prevent bacteria from breeding and give it a long enough marinating time. This allows the marinade to go deep down into the beef and enhances its flavor.
Do use a digital cooking thermometer to make sure you cook your marinated beef thoroughly (check my recommended cooking thermometer on Amazon) This is the only way to tell if it has reached a temperature high enough to destroy harmful bacteria.
Now for the Don’ts
Don’t let it sit for more than 1 day and avoid leaving it out at room temperature too long.
Don’t use the marinade as a sauce for your beef after it is cooked because you’re likely to contaminate it by putting it on the same plate or utensil that was used for the raw meat.
Don’t reuse your marinade or if you do, make sure it is boiled beforehand. Also, avoid using a container that has been used before as this increases the risk of your beef becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria such as e-coli and listeria.
Don’t submerge your marinated beef in water or wine because this will shorten its shelf life. Also, you should discard any leftover marinade as it contains harmful bacteria that may cause food poisoning if consumed.
How long can steak marinate at room temperature?
Marinated steak can be left at room temperature for up to four hours as long as it is kept in a room-temperature proof container such as a crockpot or metal bowl that has been covered with aluminum foil.
Do not leave the marinated steak out overnight as this increases the risk of bacteria breeding and then you could get food poisoning if you eat it.
Don’t place the marinated steak on a counter or table for more than four hours because harmful bacteria can breed at room temperature.
Discard any leftover marinade after you have left it out for too long because the bacteria may grow to unsafe levels if you continue to store it.
Does meat marinate faster at room temperature?
Many people think that the marinating process happens faster at room temperature than if you put it in the fridge. This isn’t true.
The only difference is that when you keep it outside, then this increases the risk of harmful bacteria breeding and growing to unsafe levels-while keeping it in a fridge prevents this from happening.
So, whether you marinate your beef at room temperature or in the fridge, it will take around 3 hours to marinate-but you should always opt for a cold setting rather than a hot one.
Does meat need extra time to marinade if kept outside?
There is no extra time that needs to be given for your beef if it’s outside because the marinating process still takes 3 hours no matter what.
Don’t leave your marinated steak out in the open for more than 4 hours as this increases the risk of bacteria breeding and getting on to your beef.
In conclusion, you should always marinate your beef in the fridge because this prevents the bacteria from growing to dangerous levels.
Also, clean your utensils and wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw beef to prevent the risk of getting ill.
The marinating time should be at least 3 hours, but you can also let it sit for longer for enhanced flavor.
Never leave your marinated beef outside the fridge even if it’s just for 4 hours because this increases the risk of harmful bacteria.
The marinating process should always be slow and steady because this prevents the flavor from deteriorating and enhances it.
Finally, use a digital cooking thermometer (check my recommended cooking thermometer on Amazon) whenever you cook your marinated beef so that you know for certain that it’s safe to eat.
This is also the only way to check for its temperature and make sure it has reached a level of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit before eating.