We all know the feeling of excitement that comes with cooking a big juicy steak. But then, sometimes life gets in the way, and we’re left with cooked beef sitting out for a while. So, the question is: how long can cooked beef sit out before it goes bad?
Let’s take a closer look.
The Dangers Of Consuming Cooked Beef That Has Been Sitting Out
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has warned Americans about the dangers of consuming cooked beef sitting out. According to the USDA, cooked beef left out at room temperature for more than two hours is at risk of bacterial contamination. The agency says that the bacteria that can cause food poisonings, such as E. coli and Salmonella, can thrive on cooked beef that has cooled to room temperature.
The USDA advises that cooked beef sitting out should be reheated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before it is consumed. However, the agency also warns that reheating cooked meat contaminated with bacteria can cause the bacteria to survive and potentially make people sick.
How to Keep Beef Safe
The old adage “when in doubt, throw it out” is still the best rule to follow regarding food safety.
- The first step is to choose beef raised in a clean and healthy environment. Look for meat raised on a farm that uses sustainable practices.
- The second step is to choose beef that has been adequately processed. Look for beef that has been dry aged or wet aged. Dry-aged beef has been aged in a controlled environment for a specific time. Wet-aged meat has been aged in a marinade.
- The third step is to cook beef properly. Beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The fourth step is to avoid cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is when bacteria from one food item is transferred to another. To prevent cross-contamination, keep raw beef separate from other food items. Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils for raw beef and other food items.
- The fifth step is to practice food safety in your kitchen. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, with soap and water. Keep your kitchen clean, and sanitize surfaces that come into contact with raw beef.
How Long Can Cooked Beef Sit Out?
Cooked beef sitting at room temperature for two hours or less is generally safe to eat. However, after that point, bacteria can start to grow, and the food can become unsafe.
Regarding food safety, the old adage “when in doubt, throw it out” is still the best rule to follow. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. If the cooked beef is being kept in a very hot environment (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit), then it should not be kept out for more than one hour. And, if the cooked beef is being kept in a very cold environment (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), then it can be kept out for up to four hours. (Source)
4 Ways To Tell If Beef Gone Bad
There are a few tell-tale signs that will let you know if beef has gone wrong. Here are four of them:
The Color Has Changed
If you notice that the beef has changed color, it’s likely gone bad. Fresh beef should be a deep red color. If it’s starting to look brown or gray, it’s time to toss it out.
There’s a Bad Smell
If the beef smells terrible, it’s gone bad. Fresh beef shouldn’t have any unpleasant odor. If you notice a foul smell, it’s best to err on caution and throw it out.
The Texture Has Changed
If the beef feels slimy or tacky, it’s gone wrong. Fresh meat should be firm to the touch. If it’s starting to feel mushy, it’s time to get rid of it.
It’s Been Sitting Out For Awhile
If you’re not sure how long the beef has been sitting out, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it away. Beef sitting out for more than two hours is no longer safe to eat.
How To Store Cooked Beef
So, you’ve cooked up a big ol’ pot of beef. Now what? How do you store it so that it’ll stay fresh and delicious? Here are a few tips:
- If you’re not going to eat it right away, cool the beef down as quickly as possible. You can do this by running cold water over it, or if you’re really in a hurry, stick it in the freezer for a bit.
- Once it’s cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container.
- Beef will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- When ready to eat it, reheat the beef slowly, over low heat. This will help to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out.
What Happens When You Eat Bad Cooked Steak?
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a bit of an E. coli outbreak in the news lately. People have been getting sick, and some have even died, after eating beef that was contaminated with the bacteria. So, what exactly happens when you eat badly cooked steak? First of all, you’ll probably start to feel sick within a few hours of eating the contaminated meat. You might experience stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and a fever. In severe cases, E. coli can lead to kidney failure and even death.
So, next time you’re thinking about eating that questionable steak, think again! It’s just not worth the risk.
How Long Can Cooked Meat Sit Out
How long-cooked meat can sit out depends on a few things, like how hot it is outside, whether or not it’s covered, and what kind of meat it is.
- Cooked chicken can sit out for three to four hours, as long as it’s not in direct sunlight.
- Cooked pork can sit out at room temperature for four to six hours.
- And cooked beef can sit out for two to three hours.
- If it’s a hot day, you’ll want to reduce those times by half.
- And if the meat is covered, it will last a bit longer.
Q. Can I Reheat Meat That Sat Out Overnight?
A. It’s not safe to reheat meat that’s been sitting out for more than two hours is the maximum time perishable foods should be at room temperature. The bacteria that can cause food poisoning can multiply quickly at room temperature. Reheating meat won’t kill all the bacteria, so you could still get sick.
Q. If Food Has Been Left Out For Four Hours, Is It Still Safe To Eat?
A. The FDA suggests that all food items that are not refrigerated and are left at room temperature for more than two hours should be thrown away. Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius), doubling in number every 20 minutes. At these temperatures, bacteria can reach unsafe levels within two hours.
Q. Is It Safe To Eat Cooked Meat After 5 Days?
A. No, eating cooked meat after 5 days is not safe. The USDA advises that cooked beef should be eaten within three to four days of being cooked and that it should be kept refrigerated at a temperature of 40°F or below. Refrigeration slows the growth of bacteria but does not stop it entirely. Therefore, the USDA recommends that cooked leftovers be consumed within three to four days.
Q. What is The Safest Temperature To Cook Beef At?
A. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends cooking beef to an internal temperature of 145°F. This temperature will ensure that the beef is cooked all the way through and will be safe to eat.
How long can cooked beef sit out before it goes bad? This is a question that many people have, especially during the summer months when the weather is warm.
First, cooked beef should not be left out for more than two hours because the meat will start to spoil and become unsafe to eat.
Second, if the beef is being kept in a cool environment, such as a refrigerator, it can last up to four days. However, if the beef is being kept in a warm environment, such as a countertop, it should be eaten within two hours.
Finally, it is important to remember that cooked beef should always be stored in a clean, airtight container. It will help to keep the beef fresh and safe to eat.