The best way to tell if your steak has gone bad

A fresh steak that's perfectly cooked is a beautiful thing. There's nothing worse, though, than pulling a New York strip that you had been saving out of the fridge and discovering that the steak isn't worthy of the grill. It's not only a waste of a potentially pricey cut of beef, but you'll be left kicking yourself for allowing it to go bad. 

Eating food that's gone bad because of bacteria can really make you very sick. Before you bust out the steak sauce, it's worth familiarizing yourself with the tell-tale signs that your steak could be past its prime and better in the garbage than on your plate.

Check the steak for a slimy feel

Just like any perishable food, time is the enemy of your steak. Sure, you can slow down the process by keeping it in the freezer, but the longer you wait to eat a steak, the greater the chances of harmful bacteria ruining it. 

The first thing to check is going to be the steak's expiration date. The "sell-by" date pertains to when the butcher must sell the steak, and it should still be okay to eat a few days after the date has passed — provided the steak is properly refrigerated at below 40F. The "use-by" date on your steak means you have even less time to eat it and it's best that you consume it before that date rolls around. 

You may still be able to eat the steak a day after the use-by date, but you'll need to check to see if it's spoiled — thankfully, your senses of smell, sight, and touch will tell you all that you need to know. If you touch your steak and it feels like there's a slimy film on it, this is a sure sign that it's now rancid. You may even notice that it has a yellow, brown, or greenish color (Steak Univeristy), which means yes, it's going to look pretty gross. 

Smell can be a good indicator, too

Finally, the smell should be a strong indicator that your steak has spoiled. Raw meat isn't going to smell like a bed of flowers, but it shouldn't have a strong, foul, or unpleasant odor either (via LiveStrong). If a whiff of your steak makes your nose shrivel up and you pull back in disgust, toss it!

Steaks can stay good in your freezer for up to 12 months according to FoodSafety.gov, but it's best to be on the safe side check for spoilage after thawing them. A bout of food poisoning can really turn a person off eating steak for good and that would be a crying shame.