Meat storage isn’t the sexiest of topics, but it sure is useful. So, you’ve gone to the butcher you trust and bought wonderful well-raised meat.  Now that you’re home, you have the challenge of properly storing your purchases.  Follow these excerpted guidelines from The Butcher’s Guide To Well-Raised Meat and you’ll be golden. One thing not to do? Pick up the phone and tell your butcher something smells funny. They’re pretty amazing people but even they cannot smell through the phone. Some of this information was totally news to me when I started reporting the book. What tricks do you have up your sleeve? For freezer guidelines and more, pick up a copy!

In the Fridge

When you get home from the butcher, loosen the wrapping around the meat, except for chicken, and put it on the plate.  Rotate the meat daily to let air flow around it until you use it.  Larger bone-in pieces can be kept the longest; most processed cuts and grind are good only for a few days.

BEEF

Fresh beef will keep in your fridge for

-2 to 10 days if not vacuum-sealed, depending on the cut.  If it has a coating and smells sour, it’s done.  Discard it.

-2 to 3 weeks if vacuum-sealed.  After that, smell check it.

PORK

Fresh pork will keep in your fridge for

-2 to 7 days if not vacuum-sealed.  The more air you give it, the longer it will last.  If it darkens, that’s okay, but if it’s tacky or slimy, throw it out.

-2 to 3 weeks if vacuum-sealed.  After that, smell check it.

LAMB

Fresh lamb will keep in your fridge for

-5 to 7 days if not vacuum-sealed.  If it gets tacky, has a sour smell, or is otherwise clearly not pleasant, you should not be putting it in your mouth.

-2 to 3 weeks if vacuum-sealed.  After that, smell check it.

POULTRY

Fresh poultry will keep in your fridge for

-4 days if not vacuum-sealed.

-10 days if vacuum-sealed.  Give it a rinse under cold, running water and let it sit on a clean plate uncovered for ten minutes.  (It sounds obvious, but do not use soap on any meat product ever.)  After that, if it smells sulfuric or sour, or if it feels tacky, immediately throw it out and clean the plate and your sink with bleach or vinegar.

Loyal readers will know there is no bleach in my house! I use plant-based dish soap and warm soapy water and sometimes vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.