T Nation

Bad Beef?

I know this has been covered before, but does anyone freeze their ground beef to keep it from going bad? It usually goes bad after about 3 days. How long will it last while frozen? I am concidering buying a 5 lb package(cheap stuff) of ground beef a week to help bulk.

USDA recommendations for freezer storage of beef is 6 months, though if well wrapped, I’ve kept beef in the freezer for a year with no problems. If not well wrapped, after 6 months you may see some “freezer burn” which is just the meat getting dried out or dehydrated. It won’t hurt you but will not taste fresh. If it does get “freezer burn”, it usually just on the corners or edges and can be trimmed off. For best storage, wrap well in an air tight package (ziplocks work well) and get all the air out of the package. If going to eat in a month or 2, store packaging is usually fine. With hamburger, I buy in bulk packages at a discount, then make up the whole package into BIG patties and package individually in ziplock sandwich bags. Take a patty package out of freezer in the morn or nite before and put in fridge and then throw on the grill the next nite.

I buy a half a cow at a time. A lot of that is ground beef. I keep it in my freezer for a year, sometimes a tad more, and it’s fine. Freeze it as soon as you buy it, and make sure it’s fresh when you buy it. Also, cooking resets the time clock on it because it kills everything that makes the meat turn bad. So if you cook it on day two, well done, it will be good for another three days or so. I’ve eaten refrigerated, cooked ground beef up to 5 days after cooking it and tossing it in the fridge with no problems.

One trick I learned when in Alaska working on the salmon was something called “glazing.” Basically, you freeze something (works best to “flash freeze” in something like -30 dgrees F), then dip whatever it is in water, then freeze, then dip, etc, to get a good layer of ice over the frozen meat. Sometimes adding a little (and I do mean a LITTLE) sugar can help keep the ice longer. The “freezer burn” attacks the ice first, so the meat stays good longer. Make sure you get a complete layer. When you thaw the meat, the ice just melts away, taking virtually all of the “freezer burn” flavor away with it. Takes longer, but if you’re freezing fish (like halibut), it’s cheaper in the long run.

Glazing is also used to make the product look better. I think that is why they do that a lot of times. My family has been in the seafood business for 25 years and we use it to make it look better. It might keep it longer as you said.

If you get a vacuum sealer, meat can last two years frozen.


when I buy my extra lean ground beef I brown it all at once, THEN freeze it in large/small portions. Granted I use it within a couple weeks but it’s more for the convenience of having already cooked ground beef ready to toss in things. Works well for me!

The better you protect you meat from the cold air, the longer it will keep. Glazing requires special equipment, therefore is not really an option, nor is it practical. If you go through meat fairly quickly, a ziplock bag or plastic wrap should be fine.A vacuum sealer is the way to go as someone mentioned, for long term, longer than a month. If you do no want to invest is one of these, the next best thing is to wrap it securely in plastic wrap, and then wrap it in butcher paper. Most foodbourne illnesses are caused by toxins excreted by bacteria. These toxins cannot be destroyed by cooking, and refridgeration only slows the accumulation of these(Freezing more or less halts bacterial growth). So if the meat is questionable, toss it. But if you eat like most of us, it should not be a problemn if you buy fresh beef, and feeze it immediately.