It is not often that you find yourself full and unable to finish the steak you prepared. However, there might be times when you are feeling hungry and cook more than you can eat. In such situations, the last thing you want to do is throw the rest away.
That is why we came up with a helpful guide for storing and saving steak and keeping it fresh until the next time you are in a mood for steak leftovers.
Storing your steak in the refrigerator seems like the best option, but how long does cooked steak last in the fridge? Keep reading to find out.
How long can you keep cooked steak?
While some homeowners use the smell and sight test to decide whether to eat the steak leftovers, others choose to try a small piece to know for sure.
When it comes to leftovers, you can’t trust only your nose or eyes to determine whether they are safe to eat. Most food is okay for five or six days in the fridge, but that doesn’t mean that it is 100% safe to reheat and eat.
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), leftover steaks are safe in the fridge for three days, assuming you’ve used the right methods to store them, including setting your refrigerator to 40°F. Keeping the meat at the right temperature will avoid bacteria growth, which may cause foodborne illness.
If you aren’t planning on eating your leftovers soon, it is better to place them in the freezer. Frozen steak can be left for three months without endangering the meat’s quality. It will stay safer if the temperature is below 0°F. After three months, the meat will start to dry out.
How Do Freezers Keep Steak from Spoiling?
Freezers preserve the meat’s freshness and quality by stopping the growth of microorganisms and delaying enzyme activity. The water that microorganisms require to thrive is frozen, so this prevents any further progress.
One of the many benefits of freezing steaks is that, unlike vegetables, they don’t lose any of their nutrients. The freezing process doesn’t impact vitamins or minerals that are commonly found in steaks.
What is Freezer Burn and How to Avoid it
While storing your steak in the freezer seems like the best option to keep its quality and freshness, you have to know how to store it to avoid freezer burn.
Freezer burn happens when the moisture disappears from the meat’s outer layer, resulting in a dry steak. You will know if your steak has been affected by freezer burn as it will turn white-brownish in color. Freezer burn is not harmful and can’t cause foodborne illness, but it may impact the taste, so it is best to remove it before cooking.
How to Prepare the Leftover Steak for the Fridge
For any steak type, it is essential to prevent it from exposure to air. The best way to do this is to make a tight package to wrap the meat before putting it in the fridge. For even better protection, make sure to add aluminum foil to seal it extra tightly. Besides aluminum foil, you can also use vacuum-sealed bags.
How to Reheat Your Leftover Steak
When it comes to reheating steak, a microwave is the easiest method. However, if you want to enjoy its juicy flavors, we recommend staying away from your microwave because it can dry out your meat, making it taste different than the first time.
Instead, we recommend reheating your leftover steak in the oven or on the stove.
In the Oven
Using oven to reheat your steak is one of the best methods to try. While it takes some time to prepare the meat before you are ready to sit down and eat, it is worth it.
Set the oven to 250°F and set a wire rack inside a baking tray. Place your leftover steak on top of the rack and loosely cover it with aluminum foil. The foil will keep the heat inside the dish and cook your meat faster without burning or drying it.
Once your oven is well-heated, put the tray on the middle rack and heat the steak until it reaches 100°F (usually 20-30 minutes). While the meat warms up, heat a pan with oil or butter, and add it to the steak. Wait until the steak gets a brownish color and turn off the oven.
On the Stove
If you want to reheat tender steaks, you can use your stove to do so. This method will get your leftover steak heated evenly and is the best way to preserve the meat’s juices and moisture.
To reheat a steak on the stove:
- Allow it to defrost to room temperature (about an hour)
- Get a plastic bag that can withstand heat and ensure it doesn’t contain chemicals or toxic ingredients
- Put the steak in the bag and seal it
- Add the bag to a pot of water and turn the stove on to a low temperature (no more than 140°F).
Keep the bag in the pot until the steak is well-cooked. The process usually takes between 8-10 minutes, depending on the steak’s thickness. Once you are done, turn off the stove, and enjoy your meal.
Keeping your leftover steaks at their best depends on proper storing, temperature, and reheating. The cooked steak may last three days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer, but knowing how to properly store it and reheat it will allow you to enjoy the same taste and flavor as the first time you prepared it.