It’s summertime, and that means grilling season! One of the most popular items to throw on the grill is steak. But how long can you marinate your steak in the fridge before it goes bad?
Here is a quick guide to help you out.
How Long Can Steak Marinate In The Fridge?
According to USDA, you can safely marinate the steak in the fridge for up to 2 days without any worries. The steak would still be safe to consume for much longer (5 days) but based on what marinade has been used, it may turn mushy.
Fortunately, most steak recipes do not need such a long period of marination. The most common one is just 24 hours.
The reason the steak starts to get mushy for long periods is that the muscle fibers in steak start to break down when exposed to acid, like the vinegar or lemon juice used in many marinades.
This makes the steak mushy.
The stronger the acid used, the faster the steak will turn mushy.
For your reference, here is a quick table of pH values of acids most commonly used in marinades
Table: pH of various Popular Marinades
|Apple Cider Vinegar||3.0 - 3.2|
|Beer||3.7 - 4.1|
|Bourbon||3.7 - 4.0|
|Butter Milk||4.4 - 4.8|
|Carbonated Drinks||3.0 - 4.0|
|Coffee||4.9 - 5.1|
|Cranberry Juice||2.6 - 2.8|
|Grapefruit Juice||3.0 - 3.8|
|Heavy Cream||6.5 - 6.8|
|Lemon juice||2.0 - 2.6|
|Lime juice||2.0 - 2.4|
|Orange Juice||3.3 - 4.2|
|Pickle Juice||3.2 - 3.7|
|Red Wine||3.0 - 4.0|
|White Vinegar||2.3 - 2.5|
|Yogurt||4.4 - 4.8|
How To Store Steak In The Fridge While Marination?
There are a few quick tips to store steak while you are marinating it.
First, it is best to choose the marinade which goes well with the final recipe you have in mind. For example, if you want your final recipe to be sweet, citrus is a big no.
Second, ensure that the marinade covers the whole steak uniformly, in case this does not happen, there will be patches of steak that will remain “hard” and “unflavored” as compared to the others which have been soaked nicely.
Thirdly, The best containers for marinating steak are made of glass, ceramic, or food-grade plastic. Avoid using aluminum containers because the acid in the marinade can react with the metal and cause off-flavors in the meat.
Lastly, cover the bowl properly and ensure you take it out and cook the meat asap. If meat is kept at room temperature for too long, it will become spoiled. The bacteria that cause food poisoning will multiply quickly, and the meat will become unsafe to eat.
How Long Is Too Long To Marinate Steak?
You should not marinate the steak for more than 5 days in the fridge. After this, there is a great chance of steak turning mushy.
The best way to check the duration of marination is to follow the guideline for the recipe.
How Long Can Steak Marinate At Room Temperature?
You should not marinate steak at room temperature because of the risk of bacteria growth unless you plan to marinate the steak for a very short duration, like 30-45 min.
When marinating steak at room temperature, bacteria can quickly multiply to unsafe levels. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends against marinating meat at room temperature or outside because of this food safety risk.
If you choose to marinate your steak, do so in the refrigerator for food safety.
I hope this quick guide helped you decide what the optimal duration you should keep your steak for marination is.
If you have any tips, let us know.
Do share this with family and friends who love steak!