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Can Raw Steak Sit Out? – Foods Guy

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Okay, so we have all accidentally left raw meat out on the counter for hours on end. But, how long is too long? Is it even safe to leave steak out at room temperature before cooking it?

Everybody knows that raw meat is highly perishable, but surely it won’t be the death of you? And besides, meat is so extremely expensive these days, so isn’t it worth risking using left-out meat?

How long can raw steak sit out? The short answer is that raw steak can be left out at room temperature for only 2 hours. Once you have reached 4 hours, it has become too dangerous to consume and should (according to the FDA) be safely discarded.

In today’s article, we will have a look at exactly whether or not you can leave steak out at room temperature, and how exactly to do so safely.

We also felt that it is important to discuss the hazards involved, and cover the best ways to store meat in the fridge and freezer!

Can You Leave Steak Out Before Cooking?

So, the real question isn’t really whether or not you can leave steak out, but rather whether you should!

You can obviously leave steak out at room temperature. That isn’t up for debate. But regarding the second part, whether or not you should, is more complicated.

As you may know, there are many risks involved with leaving steak out at room temperature.

It is exposed to harmful bacteria that could lead to serious illnesses like food poisoning. Furthermore, some people argue that leaving steak out does nothing for the cooking/searing process and merely wastes time.

Now, from our extensive background in food, and directly from the mouths of qualified chefs, celebrity foodies, and food scientists, there are more benefits to leaving it out than not.

The biggest benefit to leaving steak out to warm to room temperature before cooking it is that it will sear and brown much better.

This creates a better texture and even flavor! The seared parts also help trap and retain more moisture within the steak, leaving it nice and juicy!

By even leaving it out for just 20-30 minutes, you will notice massive changes.

Furthermore, by bringing the entire steak to a uniform temperature, it will cook a lot more evenly. When leaving steak in the fridge, it does tend to have varying temperatures in different parts.

It’s the same when baking cake and using only room temperature ingredients – they mix much better and create a better end product.

How To Leave Steak Out

The best technique we have used is to simply leave the steak on a plate and cover it with a piece of kitchen towel. Then, allow it to come up to room temperature, which is roughly 68°F (20°C)

You can season the meat with some salt to help prevent any bacteria from growing or multiplying. And, by covering the meat with some kitchen towels, you are also protecting it from foreign objects like flies and dust.

Dangers Involved With Leaving Raw Steak Out

Let’s get the obvious danger out of the way: raw meat can make you sick. Very sick! Why is that though?

The danger here of course is bacteria. There are other things that can turn meat bad, but bacteria are the number one culprit. And, as you may know, bacteria grows exceptionally fast when inside of the “temperature danger zone”.

Now, this zone is a temperature range that chefs and food manufacturers use to help protect against the rapid growth of bacteria.

It ranges between 40°F-140°F (4.4-60ºC). Anything outside of this range will either kill or inhibit bacteria. But, inside it, they thrive!

How Long Before Meat Goes Rancid at Room Temperature?

If you purchased your steak today, took it home, and left it on the counter, according to the FDA, you have 2 hours to either cook it or put it back in the fridge.

They call it the 2-hour rule. This has become a general rule of thumb people use for all types of raw meats.

The absolute longest time that raw meat can be left out at room temperature is 4 hours. After that, it is no longer considered safe to eat. 

Signs That Meat Has Gone Rancid

If unfortunately, you did end up leaving the steak out for far too long, there are ways to check whether or not it is still good to use.

The first trick you should use is to smell the steak. Take a deep whiff and try to recognize any foreign smells. We all have smelled fresh meat, and trust us, you will instantly notice the strange odors they produce when going off.

Even if you have left it inside of its packaging, make sure to take it out when smelling it properly.

The next tell-tale sign that your meat isn’t good anymore is its physical appearance.

Once the meat has started to brown it has stayed out for far too long or at a too high temperature. Raw meat should have a bright red color without any blemishes or discoloration.

Furthermore, if your meat has a slimy texture to it, you will definitively have to discard it! Rather pull out your DoorDash app and get something that is guaranteed to be safer to eat.

How To Properly Store Steak in the Fridge/Freezer

Storing raw meat should be pretty straightforward, right? You buy it pre-packaged, either from the butcher’s shop or the grocery store, then put it in the fridge or freezer until you’re to use it.

Well, unfortunately, there are some things you should be mindful of. While we would love to simply toss it on the first available shelf, you have to first follow some key steps.

First, you have to think about how the steak has been packaged. Is it wrapped in plastic that cannot leak? Or, is it simply wrapped in butchers’ paper?

Can juices possibly seep out of the packaging and potentially drip onto other food in your fridge? 

Another thing to ask yourself is where in your fridge you’re leaving your raw steak. If the steak is on the top rack, then juices can drip down onto other food items and contaminate them.

As you can see, there are a few factors to consider before simply storing it in your fridge or freezer.

1. Choose The Best Placement

When storing your raw steak in the fridge, whether it is fresh or frozen, the best place to store it is on the bottom shelf.

As we have mentioned earlier, if for some reason any juices were to get out of the steak’s packaging, placing the steak on the bottom rack will prevent the juice from dripping onto other food items.

You may need to clean the shelf it is on, but there will be no cross-contamination risk. 

2. Packaging

When putting your raw steak on the bottom shelf, make sure that it is on a plate with a lip or a deep container (such as these ones). This will help prevent any juices from spreading to food items around the steak. 

Most steaks and other meat products bought in a store come pre-packaged in polystyrene or vacuum-sealed packets. You won’t have to set those in a container or on a plate if they are well sealed.

How Long Can You Store Raw Steak In The Fridge? 

Not all types of meat have the same expiration rates. But, on average, raw steak will still be good for about 5 days in the fridge.  In the freezer, it will last much longer.

Below is a handy table that can help you remember how long different kinds of meats last (both for refrigeration and freezing).

Type of Meat Refrigerator Freezer
Beef 3-5 days Up to 12 months
Poultry 1-3 days Up to 12 months
Pork 3-5 days Up to 12 months
Fatty fish 1-2 days About 3 months
Seafood 3 days Up to 6 months

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over how long raw steak can be left out for, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Can steak be left out overnight at room temperature?

Seeing as we’ve already established that steak should preferably only stay outside for 2 hours (4 at most), you shouldn’t leave steak (or other raw meat) out overnight.

It simply and in no way is safe to eat the next day.

How long can raw ground beef stand outside of the fridge?

There isn’t a rule out there that states that ground beef is more susceptible to oxidation and bacterial infection than steak is.

But, logically, we probably should be a little more careful with ground meat because of its larger surface area

How long can cooked steak stand outside?

According to multiple sources, cooked steak can be left outside for 2 hours at room temperature after being cooked.

After that time has elapsed, it is considered unsafe to eat and should be discarded.

If you’re new to cooking steaks, here’s a great video on how to properly cook all kinds of steaks!

Up Next: Can Ribs Be Pink?

Jaron

Hey, I’m Jaron and I’m a self-proclaimed food expert and author of this website! I’ll be honest with you, I started this website because someone told me I couldn’t and I needed to prove them wrong. Along my journey, I actually really fell in love with writing about food. I hope you found value from whatever article you read, and if you have any remaining questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!

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How Long Can Raw Steak Sit Out? - Foods Guy

How Long Can Raw Steak Sit Out? – Foods Guy

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  • Sumary: In this article, we take a look at how long raw steak can be left out before it’s no longer safe to eat! Read on to learn what we find out!

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  • Intro: How Long Can Raw Steak Sit Out? – Foods Guy *This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. Okay, so we have all accidentally left raw meat out on the counter for hours on end. But, how long is too long? Is it even safe to leave steak out at room temperature before cooking it? Everybody knows that raw meat is highly perishable, but surely it won’t be the death of you? And besides, meat is so extremely expensive these days, so isn’t it worth risking using left-out meat? How long can raw steak sit…
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How long can steak sit out before cooking? - Daily Delish

How long can steak sit out before cooking? – Daily Delish

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  • Sumary: ..Advertisements.. CONTINUE READING BELOW Answer: You can safely leave cooked steak out at room temperature for two hours — or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — says the United States Department of Agriculture. Cooked steak that has been sitting out for longer than 2 hours (or 1 hour above 90° … How long can steak sit out before cooking? Read More »

  • Matching Result: Answer: You can safely leave cooked steak out at room temperature for two hours — or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — says the …

  • Intro: How long can steak sit out before cooking? ..Advertisements.. CONTINUE READING BELOW Answer: You can safely leave cooked steak out at room temperature for two hours — or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — says the United States Department of Agriculture. Cooked steak that has been sitting out for longer than 2 hours (or 1 hour above 90° F) should be discarded. Two hours is the absolute maximum. The official time for food to be left out before it is considered unsafe to eat is 4 hours. However like all government guidelines, this certainly takes…
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7 Myths About Cooking Steak That Need to Go Away

7 Myths About Cooking Steak That Need to Go Away

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  • Matching Result: Letting it sit on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes will bring the steak up to room temperature—a good 20 to 25°F closer to your final serving temperature. In …

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How Long Can Raw Steak Sit Out? - YummyTasteFood

How Long Can Raw Steak Sit Out? – YummyTasteFood

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  • Sumary: How long can raw steak be left out of a fridge? Raw steak can be left outside at room temperature for two hours. After 4 hours, it becomes unsafe to eat and

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  • Intro: How Long Can Raw Steak Sit Out?Last updated and verified on 24th August, 2022.How long can raw steak be left out of a fridge? Raw steak can be left outside at room temperature for two hours. After 4 hours, it becomes unsafe to eat and must be thrown out according to the FDA.Okay, we’ve all erroneously left meat that was raw on the counter for a long time. But how long is enough? Is it safe to keep the steak at room temperature prior to making it?Most people know that raw meat is very perishable, but surely it won’t kill…
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How long can I leave an uncooked steak out?

How long can I leave an uncooked steak out?

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    I have 3 porterhouse steaks sitting in my refrigerator that I need to cook up tonight. I’ve been told leaving them out for an hour…

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How Long to Leave Steak Out Before Cooking?

How Long to Leave Steak Out Before Cooking?

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  • Matching Result: Raw steak can sit at room temperature for 2 hours. If you leave it for over 2 hours at room temperature the bacteria will start to grow and the steak will be …

  • Intro: How Long to Leave Steak Out Before Cooking? If you’re wondering how long to leave steak out before cooking or how to cook a perfect steak, this article is for you. There are many theories and opinions about these and many other questions about the preparation of the perfectly cooked steak. But how you are going to prepare and cook your steak depends only on your preferences and how you like to eat the steak. There are few simple things you should do to get that perfectly cooked steak at your table. And in this article, we are going to…
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Frequently Asked Questions About how long can you leave raw steak out before cooking

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic how long can you leave raw steak out before cooking, then this section may help you solve it.

Is raw steak OK if left out overnight?

The short answer is that raw steak can be left out at room temperature for only 2 hours. Once you have reached 4 hours, it has become too dangerous to consume and should (according to the FDA) be safely discarded.

How long can raw meat be left out of the fridge?

two hours

Can you cook bacteria out of meat?

You can kill bacteria by cooking poultry and meat to a safe internal temperature . Use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature. You can’t tell if meat is properly cooked by looking at its color or juices. Leftovers should be refrigerated at 40°F or colder within 2 hours after preparation.

How long can uncooked steak sit 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. This is the rule that you should follow for all raw meats, including raw ground beef.

How can you tell if raw steak is bad?

Steaks sitting in the refrigerator for a few days could turn brown due to the natural oxidation process. However, if the steak is also past its expiration date, smells bad, and is slimy to the touch, it isn’t safe to eat.

Can salmonella be killed by cooking?

Does cooking kill salmonella? Thorough cooking can kill salmonella. But when health officials warn people not to eat potentially contaminated food, or when a food is recalled because of salmonella risk, that means don’t eat that food, cooked or not, rinsed or not.

What temperature kills salmonella in beef?

Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

How long does salmonella take to make you sick?

Some people with salmonella infection have no symptoms. Most people develop diarrhea, fever and stomach (abdominal) cramps within 8 to 72 hours after exposure. Most healthy people recover within a few days to a week without specific treatment.

What happens if you cook spoiled steak?

What Happens if You Eat Bad Steak? If you eat spoiled steak, you’re likely to get food poisoning due to several different types of bacteria that grow in the meat. These are common signs of food poisoning, according to the CDC: Upset stomach.

Is raw steak still good if it’s brown?

This darkening is due to oxidation, the chemical changes in myoglobin due to the oxygen content. This is a normal change during refrigerator storage. Beef that has turned brown during extended storage may be spoiled, have an off-odor, and be tacky to the touch and should not be used.

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