How to Know if a Steak Is OK to Cook

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Looking to cook a steak but don’t know if it is okay to eat? You can identify bad meat in three easy steps. Click to learn more.

Step 1

Take a good look at the steak, inspecting all parts of the meat thoroughly. Before you throw your steak on the grill or in the oven, notice its color. While beef steaks commonly turn a bit brown or darken slightly after a few days of refrigeration -- a result of the natural process of oxidation -- light gray, purplish or green-hued steaks are unfit for cooking. Likewise, a viscous coating or glossy sheen indicate rancid beef.

Step 2

Run your finger -- thoroughly washed, of course -- over the steak. Feel for a glossy, filmy or slimy texture. Fresh meat is normally moist, but if your steak feels sticky, slimy or tacky, it's likely not safe to cook.

Step 3

Smell the steak. Oftentimes, a smell test serves as the most reliable method for identifying bad meat. Rotten or sulfurous scents, fishy smells and yeast-like odors indicate bad meat. Trust your nose -- if your gut reaction is unpleasant, you likely have spoiled steak on your hands.