Josh Ozersky

What To Do When The Meat Is Going Bad

Lacking as I do any form of self-restraint or long-term planning, its been my lifetime practice to cook steaks the second I get them home from the store. (They’re lucky they get that far; the peanut butter has already been probed and violated by the time I get to the car.) But sometimes I get distracted, likely by other steaks, and I solve the problem by throwing the steaks into the freezer. I know that some microbial life can persist under freezing conditions, and that freezer burn can be ruinous, but for all practical purposes, I consider these steaks as being in suspended animation. So, if I can’t get to them for a couple of days, I put them in freezer.

But here’s the thing: if you take them out, and let them defrost, you have to eat them. Especially the ones that you waited a few days to put there. That was the whole reason you froze them, remember? Because they were going bad? I knew this rationally, and had planned to grill them for dinner Friday night. They defrosted completely, and were still a healthy pink, for the most part. (There was some slight graying, as sometimes happens as the surface of meat oxidizes, but not the greenish tint that bad meat gets.) Looking at the steak only tells you so much, though: it was its clean smell that reassured me. At least, it reassured me until driving rain came down and prevented me from cooking that night.

At this point, I figured I had two choices. I could cook the steaks indoors, or I could find a way to extend them to the following night. Cooking them indoors meant either filling the house with smoke, or cutting up these pretty little rib steaks into stir-fry meat or something equally lame. That certainly wasn’t going to happen, not on my watch. So I decided to go with the second option, and push the envelope on the steak’s edible lifetime.

You know, it’s funny. You’ve probably read a million words on steak in cookbooks and magazines, but I bet they had little to say on the subject of how long meat can be eaten before it has to be thrown out. It’s not that the authors don’t care – it’s exactly the kind of thing somebody like Rachael had to learn when she was growing up, as a working-class person – but they can’t put it in a book, because if they did, they would get sued sooner or later. That’s why pharmacists tell you not to operate heavy machinery on klonopin, which is totally doable by the way, and vets tell you not to give bones to puppies. Luckily, I am a penniless blogger, so I feel that I can give bad-meat advice with impunity. I chopped five heads of garlic very fine, and some rosemary, and some hot pepper flakes, and mixed them up with about a cup of EVOO. I put the oil and the steaks in a big Ziploc bag, forced out all the air, and left it in the refrigerator. The oil preserved the meat for that extra day, and while it did, if the truth be told, taste a tiny bit off, the potent flavors of the marinade, combined with the pungent taste of the charcoals upon which it was cooked, covered them. I added some freshness by hacking up some raw onion, dressing it in the board juices, and serving it atop the steak. I ate it, and it was delicious, and nothing went to waste, and I’m not dead yet! Even I do fall ill, is

Of course, if you do the same thing and do get sick, don’t blame Rachael or the site. I ate the steak by myself, and I can only answer for my own health.

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