Pork can be a little confusing if you’re not used to working with fresh meat. On the platter, uncooked, it can appear to be a little gray. Once cooked, it may turn a little pink.
If you’re accustomed to beef, don’t rely on color alone to make sure your pork is done. Cooking time and temperature are critical.
What does bad pork smell like? Fresh pork shouldn’t smell like anything. If it smells sour, don’t buy it. When working out how to tell if pork is bad after cooking, the sour smell will persist and intensify. Bad pork chops will smell worse when cooked.
How To Know If Pork Is Bad
Fresh pork will be gray to the eye. Once it’s cooked, the exterior will stay gray while the interior pinks up. While beef can be eaten rare, pork should always be cooked thoroughly.
Once you’ve got a package of fresh pork open, be sure to check it for a sour or unpleasant odor.
The surface may be moist, but it shouldn’t be slimy.
Sausages should always be checked for a sour odor as well, and confirm that the sausage casing is dry and cool to the touch.
The only time the odor test may fail you is if the pork is vacuum packed. Rinse this pork before sniffing it. The encapsulation of liquid around the meat may develop an acidic aroma.
Shelf Life Of Pork Loin
Fresh Pork Loin
If you bring home a fresh pork loin, wrap it in a disposable freezer bag and store it in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit / 4.44 degrees Celsius. Experts advise that it should be used within three to five days.
If you know it’s fresh but the pork smells a bit funny, it has probably been exposed to other flavors inside the refrigerator. Invest in freezer bags to save you from wasting meat.
Frozen Pork Loin
After purchasing a frozen pork loin, allow it to gradually thaw in the refrigerator or in a cold basin of water, sealed in a plastic bag. Once thawed, it will keep for three to five days. If you need to, it’s okay to refreeze it within that time as long as it’s still raw.
Cooking a Pork Loin
You want to get your pork loin up to a temperature of 145 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit / 63 to 68 degrees Celsius. This will not only kill all the bacteria that may reside on the meat, but will destroy any trichinosis parasites hidden inside.
It should be noted that trichinosis is not as common as it once was thanks to factory farming and a decrease in the unhealthy practice of feeding pigs household food waste. However, it is still something to be aware of, so elevate the temperature and keep it there until the meat thermometer hits 145 F or 63 C.
Shelf Life Of Pork Chops
Fresh Pork Chops
Fresh pork chops should be a grayish pink on the platter at the grocery store. If you buy them from a butcher, don’t be afraid to ask to study them before they’re wrapped up. Make sure you also check out the odor before you buy.
Your fresh pork chops will last 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit / 4.44 degrees Celsius.
Frozen Pork Chops
Thaw your frozen pork chops in the refrigerator or in a cold-water bath. Don’t let them come up to room temperature before cooking, and take special care never to refreeze any meat that has reached room temperature. Use it immediately or dispose of it.
Once thawed, chops can be refrozen as long as they’ve been kept at or below that 40-degree mark.
Cooking Pork Chops
Chops also need to meet the heating requirement of 145 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit / 63 to 68 degrees Celsius. They will cook more quickly than a pork loin, so keep a close eye on them to avoid them from drying out.
Handle your chops with care prior to cooking. Any kitchen that handles both meat and vegetables really needs a separate cutting board. You may choose to cut away extra fat on your chops and this should be done on your dedicated cutting board.
When possible, invest in a board that can go through a hot dishwasher to kill and wash away bacteria and never use wood such as bamboo.
Shelf Life Of Pork Sausage
Fresh Pork Sausage
Fresh pork sausage will have an odor from the spices in the mix. If you’re concerned about the freshness, touch the casing. It should be cool and dry. If you find the casing to be slimy or detect any sour smell, give it a miss. Unless it’s been smoked, pork sausage should again be stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit / 4.44 degrees Celsius.
See our sausage stuffer reviews for more details on making your own sausage so that you have more control over it’s freshness and ingredients.
Frozen Pork Sausage
Keep your frozen pork sausages in the freezer until you’re ready to thaw them fully. Thawing and refreezing may damage the flavor of the spices and can introduce bacteria. Again, thaw in the refrigerator to avoid excess liquid from seeping out.
Cooking Pork Sausage
All ground pork should reach temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit / 71 degrees Celsius. It may be hard to measure that temperature as the sausage breaks up, so try to confirm that it’s browning and crispy.
SEE ALSO: Cooking sausage in the oven
This is an ideal time to keep checking the odor of the sausage. If you notice any sour or unpleasant odors, don’t consume the sausage.
Best Way To Keep Pork Fresh
In the Freezer
Vacuum packing is the best way to keep pork fresh in the freezer. Exposure to air can damage the texture, cause freezer burn and expose the meat to flavors from other items stored nearby.
While pork is not as high fat as it once was, thanks to feeding and breeding changes for pigs, the meat does have a high inherent fat content. This fat will collect and hold odors from elsewhere in the freezer. Be certain to seal the meat away from other flavors for best results.
In the Refrigerator
Use it up quickly! You’ve got five days before the fresh pork in your refrigerator goes bad, so why not make use of it? Consider buying it the day before or the day that you need it, so it doesn’t have to sit around.
Again, protect it from other flavors and outside odors. Freezer bags are cheap, but they can protect an expensive cut of meat from developing a funky flavor.
Pork is a great addition to your plate and it has a great flavor with just a simple touch of salt and pepper. Protect it from other flavors in the refrigerator, keep it frozen until you need it, and use it up once it’s thawed.