How Long Can You Leave Beef Out?

Okay, so we’ve all unintentionally left raw meat on the counter for a long period of time. Is it even safe to leave steak out at room temperature before cooking it, and how long is too long?

Even though it’s well known that raw meat is highly perishable, using leftover meat shouldn’t put your life in danger because meat is currently so expensive.

The short answer is that raw steak can only be left out at room temperature for a maximum of two hours. After four hours, it is no longer safe to consume and should be safely thrown away, according to the FDA.

In this article, we’ll examine whether it’s safe to leave steak out at room temperature and how to do it properly.

Additionally, we thought it was crucial to go over the risks and the ideal refrigerator and freezer storage methods for meat.

When your raw steak is kept out on the counter, it is left at room temperature. According to the USDA, you should not leave raw steak – or any raw meat – out for more than two hours. If it is a warm day and the ambient temperature is above 90 °F, then the steak shouldn’t be kept out for longer than an hour.

How Long Can You Leave Raw Meat Out?

You can leave raw meat out for a maximum of two hours [1].

If youre marinating for longer, I recommend you keep it in an acidic sauce like vinegar because it slows down bacterial development [2].

Research shows that pathogenic bacteria can quickly multiply and cause food poisoning when raw beef meat is left at room temperature for longer than two hours [3].

Frozen meat is likewise subject to this rule. The food should defrost on the counter in no more than two hours. Your meat and other perishable food is safer to defrost in the refrigerator.

Additionally, don’t leave cooked meat out for more than two hours at a time because bacteria begin to grow after that.

Also Read: How Long Can Ham Sit Out?

5 Signs That Meat Has Gone Bad

These four indicators will help you determine whether a raw steak has gone bad.

Smelling the meat is one of the quickest ways to detect spoiled meat.

Although raw ground meat doesn’t always smell good, most people can tell the difference between a delicate, fresh steak and one that has gone bad by their nose.

Smoked meat that has gone bad will have an offensive odor that is no longer that of raw meat but is instead dominated by ammonia.

You’ll be able to tell from the smell that it’s not something you should eat.

Read More: Do You Wash Meat Before Cooking?

The telltale sign of rotten meat or spoilage is a sticky surface coating that you might notice or feel on a piece of steak.

It will have a clear or yellowish color and make the steak look glossier than usual.

It will also feel slippery or sticky when you run your fingers over it. This sticky layer is frequently present on bad steak a few days before it begins to mildew.

Naturally, mold is a sign that your once-fresh steak has grown stale and is no longer safe to eat due to the presence of harmful bacteria.

Additionally, rotten meat will exhibit a slight color change.

The hue of poultry should range from bluish-white to yellow.

Pork is pink-gray when it is raw. Raw ground beef can range in color from bright red to purplish red and even brownish red.

However, it’s time to discard any meat that turns green or a shade of greenish-brown.

When I once defrosted my raw ground beef, all the juices leaked into the bag.

Now, while a dry, juiceless cut doesn’t necessarily mean that my beef was rancid, it undoubtedly had an impact on the flavor and general standard of the dish.

If you cook tough, dry-aged beef, the steak you’ll likely get will resemble a hockey puck, unless it has a lot of marbling, which gives the meat its tenderizing fat and moisture content.

To avoid this, I always place meat in vacuum-sealed containers before freezing it.

By doing this, you can shield them from germs that could hasten their early degeneration, mold growth, and bad tastes and odors.

I recently learned that the fluids required to preserve the meat’s natural moistness and juiciness are also locked in by vacuum-sealing.

How Long It’s Been in the Freezer

Mark each package with the expiration date before moving raw meat from the freezer to the refrigerator.

After it has been thawed, the steak in the refrigerator must be eaten within two to three days.

If you can’t remember how long it’s been since you put it in the refrigerator to defrost, you might want to throw it out.

Dangers of Leaving Steak Out

Here are two potential risks of storing steak at room temperature for an extended period of time.

Bacteria like salmonella multiply most quickly in meat in the 40 to 140 °F temperature range. The bacteria in raw meat begins to double in just 20 minutes in this “danger zone” at room temperature [4].

If you plan to cook and eat the meat, I advise against leaving it out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours.

Food Poisoning Risks

Long-term room temperature exposure to meat exposes it to dangerous bacteria that can lead to foodborne illnesses like poisoning.

Food poisoning is a hazardous condition that can cause symptoms including [5]:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Blood in the stool

Use a food thermometer to check the temperature if you leave cooked meat or any other hot food out at room temperature for longer than a few hours. And it’s best to throw something away if it’s in the “danger zone.”

Can I Let Raw Beef Sit at Room Temperature Overnight?

You cannot leave raw meat out at room temperature for more than a few hours. This is due to the fact that raw meat left out for longer than two hours is not considered safe to eat.

How Long Can Meat Sit in A Car?

Even at room temperature, meat can only remain in a car for a maximum of two hours. It’s not a good idea to leave raw beef in a warm car without refrigeration.

Should I Eat Meat Left Out Overnight?

No, you shouldnt eat the meat left out overnight. Imagine how much more bacteria there would be on meat that had been sitting for more than eight hours if it were to grow rapidly in just 20 minutes.

How Long Can Raw Meat Stay in The Fridge Safely?

Refrigeration is safe for raw meat for 3-5 days. But cooked meat can last a maximum of 3 days. Beyond that, the meats are unsafe for human consumption.

Is Leaving Raw Meat Out a Good Idea?

The more time raw meat is kept at room temperature, the more bacteria it develops. After that, the meat won’t be safe to consume, and it still poses a risk of food poisoning even when cooked to a high temperature.

Make sure to place your order from reliable vendors like ButcherBox to prevent receiving tainted meat.

I love ButcherBox because they offer 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, humanely raised pork, and wild-caught seafood

You don’t have to worry about the quality of their meat because it is delivered to your door perfectly preserved, insulated, and freshly frozen.


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How Long Can You Leave Beef Out?

Timothy is the brains behind Carnivore Style and a trained chef. He is an athlete, a supporter of the carnivore diet, and an unabashed health fanatic.

Timothy started Carnivore Style, a website for meat lovers and all things meat-related, because he thinks a good steak is a great conversation starter and because he loves to eat.

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How Long Can You Leave Beef Out?

How Long Can You Leave Food Out?


Is it safe to eat cooked beef left out for 4 hours?

A perishable food, such as meat or poultry, may not be safe if it has been out at room temperature for more than two hours or overnight. Discard it, even though it may look and smell good.

Can I leave beef out for 5 hours?

Perishable foods should only be left out at room temperature for a MAXIMUM of TWO HOURS (ONE HOUR at temperatures of 90 degrees F or higher). This INCLUDES the period of time they remain at the table while you eat. A single bacterium can multiply to over 2,097,152 bacteria in 7 hours by doubling every 20 minutes!

Is it okay to eat beef that has been sitting out for 8 hours?

Uncooked meat should not be left out for more than eight hours as this increases the risk of bacterial growth and foodborne illness. Eating meat that has been out of the fridge for a while may result in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

How long can you let beef sit?

Only a little more than two hours can pass after cooked meat is left out before it reaches unsafe temperatures. The USDA states that foods between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit are in the Temperature Danger Zone and are susceptible to bacteria growth. Never leave food out for an extended period of time to avoid food poisoning.

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