Nothing tastes delicious than a beef brisket or pork ribs with your family over a weekend. The juicy and tender smoked meat goes amazing with all side dishes and works like a charm with cold white wine or beer.
That said, regardless of how hungry you might be, sometimes it is impossible to finish all the cooked meat. We often tend to cook and smoke more raw meat than required, which then results in unexpected leftovers.
But luckily, instead of throwing the extra smoked meat, you can vacuum seal the meat and use it again whenever you like.
Smoked meat can go bad even if it is stored in a vacuum seal bag. But obviously, this invention helps to increase the shelf life of the meat. But how long does smoked meat last in a vacuum sealing, and are there other methods to preserve it?
If you want to find answers to all your burning questions, you will have to dig into this article. So, without further ado, read on.
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What is the Shelf Life of Smoked Meat?
As per the basics, smoked meat can last for up to four days in a fridge. But that means you will have to place it in the fridge within two hours after cooking it.
Moreover, if you want to freeze your smoked meat for more than a month, either wrap it in aluminum foil or place it in an airtight vacuum sealer. The vacuum packing keeps the meat fresh for a long time. But how long exactly?
How Long Does Smoked Meat Stay Edible in a Vacuum Sealer?
Vacuum sealing blocks all the excess air and keeps your smoked and flavors packed in a bag. This means that it is safe to keep a vacuum-sealed bag in a fridge for up to five days. The strategy helps to reduce food wastage and also gets you ready-made food when you don’t feel like cooking.
But if you want to freeze smoked meat, you can place it in a vacuum sealer plastic freezer bag and follow all the food safety standards to keep it edible for a maximum of six months. The life of the smoking meat increases many times by using a simple vacuum bag or sealer.
What are the Food Safety Standards?
As mentioned above, even a proper refrigerated smoked meat can go bad if not handled properly. Improper food handling can increase waste and lead to food poisoning if the meat is consumed. So, to avoid that make sure to follow the tips below to handle your smoked meat properly:
- Refrigerate smoked meat as soon as you can.
- Don’t place the cooked meat on the same surface that had raw meat previously.
- Refrigerated food should be thrown away rather than stored in a freezer.
- Keep your meat in airtight containers or store smoked meat in plastic wrap.
- Keep your frozen meat in vacuum-sealed bags only before putting it in a freezer.
- Throw the meat as soon as it smells different.
- Keep your hands clean while dealing with any smoked meat.
How Long Do Different Smoked Meats Last?
Now that we know that vacuum sealing the meat is imperative to increase smoked meat’s shelf life, let’s see how many days different vacuum sealed meat last. There are hot smoked meat, warm smoked meat, roasted meat, and cold smoked meat, and each one of these come with their own unique shelf life.
Roasted meat can stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to four days. That said, you need to place it in a vacuum bag or an airtight container to enjoy it for this period. If you want to freeze the meat, again make sure to pack it in a plastic vacuum bag so it can remain edible for as long as three months.
The secret of fresh bbq meat lies in the storing process. The meat should be properly wrapped so you can thaw it whenever you crave a meaty delight.
Warm Smoked Meat
Warm smoking is a procedure that involves smoking any meat between the temperatures 77- and 104-degrees Fahrenheit. Bacon is the most common warm smoked meat. It is smoked and then frozen before the meat is sent out to the supermarket for sale.
It is quite tricky to warm smoke chicken or pork because of the danger zone. The danger zone is represented by a temperature between 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and requires careful food handling to avoid any chances of food poisoning.
Warm smoked meat can last for four days in a refrigerator, but when frozen in vacuum bags, this meat can safely last for three months.
Hot Smoked Meat
Hot smoking requires you to cook meat at a temperature between 225- and 250-degrees Fahrenheit. This process is pretty long, but the final duration varies according to the meat cut.
You can preserve hot smoked meat for up to four days in a refrigerator. But make sure to place it in a vacuum sealed bag to keep the freshness of meat intact.
Cold Smoked Meat
Unlike hot and warm smoking, cold smoking is a process where the meat is properly cured using a salt mixture to avoid bacterial growth. This is an ancient method that helps in preserving foods.
Cold smoking involves air-drying the meat before it is smoked at a low temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoked fish is one of the meats that is cold smoked for preservation.
Cold smoked meat such as salmon has a very short life. It can last for two weeks in a fridge and almost a month in a freezer. Since listeria can grow on cold smoked meat, paying attention to the storage duration is imperative.
How Long Do Other Vacuum-Sealed Meats Last?
Here is the list of different meats and their respective shelf lives:
You can keep the smoked turkey in your fridge for up to four days. But if you want to freeze it for a longer period, place the meat in a sealed bag and then store it for up to three months.
If your smoked chicken is placed under room temperature for more than two hours, simply discard it. In case you want to refrigerate it, vacuum seal the meat and store it for seven days. Sealed smoked chicken can also stay safe in a freezer for up to one month.
Beef stays edible in a fridge for up to four days. You can also freeze the wrapped meat for up to three months.
So What Happens When the Meat Goes Bad?
As stated above, vacuum sealing also can’t keep your meat good for a long time. The maximum it can save your meat is four days in a fridge and three months in a refrigerator.
It is also possible for your meat to go bad before this time ends. Here are a few signs that you should notice before throwing the meat in a trash can:
The color of fresh meat is crispy and brown. However, if your smoked meat shows yellow or green spots, it has probably turned bad because of a bacterial attack.
In that case, there is no point in storing the meat any longer. Discard it as soon as you can before it starts ruining other things in your freezer.
Edible smoked meat has a smoky smell that remains intact as long as the meat is fresh. But if you smell an odd scent coming out of your meat, it is safe to throw it away before someone else attempts to eat it. The change of smell means that the meat is no longer fresh and may also cause food poisoning if consumed.
Sealed frozen smoked meat is supposed to be firm. However, if it’s waxy or too hard, you should discard it. Since fresh smoked meat is tender, it shouldn’t get too hard when stored in a freezer.
Secondly, if the meat’s surface has leaks or dark spots ruining its texture, the meat might not be worthy of your consumption.
Remember, the chances of these things occurring are high when you fail to store the meat properly. If you do not want to waste your beautiful smoked meat, make sure to seal it properly by removing excess air.
Also, ensure that you do not open the sealing frequently to preserve the meat for a long time.
Before you throw or give away all the leftover meat, consider storing it properly in a vacuum bag and freezing it for up to three months. This process helps remove the excess air that might make the meat go bad in a few days.
While each meat has its unique shelf life, you can preserve the meat for a good duration by following all the food safety standards.
Smoking meat requires lots of time and hard work. So, instead of wasting your valuable smoked meat, preserve it so you can enjoy it for a long period.