We get it. You’re planning to cook your steaks for a special occasion, so you put them away in the freezer. Months later, you’ve realized you forgot them - out of sight, out of mind - but are they still good? We have good news! Freezing steaks is the best way to preserve the meat, but there is a best-by date and an expiration date.
The higher quality of the steak, the less time you want your steaks stuck in a residential freezer. With meat from Costco, Walmart or a local grocery store, you can leave meat in the freezer up to a year. However, with higher quality and higher fat content, a freezer can do more damage to meats during extended periods of time. Don’t let your purchase go to waste or lose that flavor you crave.
The prime time to eat USDA prime steaks from us is 1-3 months after purchasing them. If you wait longer, in months 4-5 the steaks are still enjoyable, but will not have that same fresh factor. Don’t indulge in our steaks after 6 months, however, as they will have expired.
Why do steaks have an expiration date? Why can’t they stay frozen forever?
It all comes down to two reasons. The first is your residential freezer, which is less effective at maintaining food safety than a commercial refrigerator. Residential freezers lack the compressors, and insulation of commercial freezers, typically resulting in additional defrosting cycles, impacting the temperature consistency of meat. After 3 months, you’ll see the quality of the meat slowly begin to degrade.
Second, when steaks are frozen for an extended period of time it can impact the cell membranes, which primarily affect the muscle fibers that give meat its structure. Leaving steaks too long in the freezer can cause a mushy temperature.
The difference between Residential vs. Commercials Freezers
Commercial freezers are built specifically to handle larger quantities of frozen food, and maintain an accurate overall temperature on the inside. They are far safer than residential freezers because they have multiple sensors and alarms to safely maintain temperature control 24/7, and will alert you when the freezer doors are left open, as well as possess temperature controls that trigger an auto-defrost function.
Residential freezers are not as safe for meat storage because they have weaker compressors and less insulation. This results in temperature fluctuations, and although they have thermostats, they are not always accurate because they only show a single reading for the whole freezer. This is problematic because the temperature of the door and different shelves are divided into various freezing and cooling units, meaning that the actual freezer part of a residential freezer is only a portion of the freezer, and the temperature of every section in a residential freezer isn’t on the same page!
So how do you care for your steaks?
Keep Track of Your Steaks’ Shelf Life
According to the USDA, uncooked steaks can be kept frozen for 4-12 months and maintain their quality in a freezer that’s kept at 0°F, but for high-quality steaks the connoisseurs say your steaks should be eaten when they're at their very best - within 3 months.
Be sure to always check the Use By dates on your steaks when you buy them. Keep in mind the Use By date and the time it takes to thaw them, if you are planning on cooking them close to that date.
Don’t Forget to Properly Seal Your Frozen Steaks
The steaks that you buy from us always come vacuum-sealed and freezer ready. However, no matter where you buy your steaks from, if you plan on freezing them, you’ll want to be prepared by investing in a vacuum sealing system, especially if you ever want to buy steaks in bulk (or any type of meat, for that matter). If you freeze your steaks without having first sealed them correctly - you’ll be disappointed when it comes time to cook. You’ll end up with a chewy texture and potentially a weird flavor as a result of air and condensation getting to them.
For Steaks from the Steer:
You’ve taken the time to select the best cuts, store the meat properly, and are ready to start cooking. So let us set you up for success by walking you through how to thaw, how to season, selecting a recipe and the cooking method. We’ve got you covered from start to finish.
In all honesty, though, you’ve purchased USDA prime beef from us, the top 6% of beef in America, wet-aged for a minimum of 28 days. Why would you wait longer than 3 months to indulge in it?
Be bold in the kitchen, but not when it comes to neglecting beautiful prime beef and letting it get freezer burn. After all, you bought steaks from us because you want the BEST, not shoe leather.