can i haz it?
April 26, 2010 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Lamb sausage has been in the fridge for a week+ and has turned mostly brown and in some spots even hardened. It smells fine, so please tell me if I'm about to provoke gastronomic disaster.
posted by KingoftheWhales to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's cooked or raw?
posted by fixedgear at 4:22 PM on April 26, 2010

Cooked or raw?
posted by jessamyn at 4:22 PM on April 26, 2010

Response by poster: I think it's raw, it's pink where the two links were touching..
posted by KingoftheWhales at 4:26 PM on April 26, 2010

Response by poster: I cooked them last I et them anyway
posted by KingoftheWhales at 4:26 PM on April 26, 2010

You think? Chuck it.
posted by fixedgear at 4:26 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't touch those sausages with a ten foot pole. Throw them out, they're not "Food Safe" (according to the BC FoodSafe program I took). My personal rule of thumb is 3 days for cooked meat--some will obviously disagree but I've had food poisoning once (before instituting this personal policy) and have never had it since (thank God!).
posted by 1000monkeys at 4:30 PM on April 26, 2010

Brown / hardened bits are from the fridge sucking all the moisture out.

I've cooked sausages in this state and I've lived to tell the tale. However, they were dry, chewy, and generally not very inspiring to my taste buds.
posted by Jimbob at 4:30 PM on April 26, 2010

Raw, uncured sausage (just like any ground meat) spoils very quickly. You should always use it or freeze it within a day or two of buying it. Let it go, that sausage is gone, man.
posted by TungstenChef at 4:32 PM on April 26, 2010

Cripes, I wouldn't ever eat any raw minced meat product that was around for a week. Minced/ground/processed meats are potentially loaded with germs that used to be on the outside but got nicely distributed through the ground meat. I think three days is the recommended limit. More than a week is way too long.

Don't feed it to the dog either, he'll puke it up all over the place.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:33 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

The browning and hardening are from exposure to air, not spoilage. That said, they won't taste good and it isn't worth the risk.
posted by jon1270 at 4:41 PM on April 26, 2010

There are air-dried sausages (langjager, for instance). If you have a super cold fridge*, I wouldn't worry too much.

You said that you et it. How'd it taste?

*I have a wrapped ribeye roast that I'm air drying in my fridge right now
posted by porpoise at 4:52 PM on April 26, 2010

Response by poster: I meant the last I et of this sausage purchase, porpoise. So if I were to eat this now air-dried sausage, would I need to cook it? Do I now possess sausage jerky?
posted by KingoftheWhales at 4:55 PM on April 26, 2010

yuck no
posted by Jacqueline at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2010

Do I now possess sausage jerky? No, you probably have a germ-laden piece of intestinal dynamite which needs careful disposal.
posted by anadem at 5:35 PM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]

I live on the outer limits of food safety. In fact, let's call it food "safety." If the meat doesn't smell I will generally cook it, even if it is beyond its sell-by date. However, if there's any level of doubt, I will 1) wash it (while raw) and 2) cook the Hell out of it.

So far I'm still alive, although I did get some kind of sick last winter for the first time in whenever. But I believe that was food poisoning from a restaurant, not my kitchen.

In general I don't go for dried out jerky-meat, though. It's just not nice in the mouth :P Keep your meat moist by keeping it covered. If you're too cheap for Saran Wrap, use a plastic grocery bag. God knows they give us enough of 'em.

Also consider the merits of throwing the bit in the plastic grocery bag in the freezer (yeah, yeah, cry me a river about the proper way to freeze meat). Those random bits will keep damn near forever and make great filler for noodle meals when you haven't gotten around to shopping.
posted by Ys at 6:23 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

There are air-dried sausages (langjager, for instance). If you have a super cold fridge*, I wouldn't worry too much.

Wow, talk about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. Landjager is smoked AND salted AND cured AND hygienically processed and THEN dried so that it's safe to eat raw. Raw, fresh sausage is none of these things. Properly preparing dry cured sausages so that they don't kill someone is so different than leaving some random sausage links in your fridge that I'm kind of shocked by the comparison.
posted by TungstenChef at 6:34 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you're this confused about it, why on earth would you eat it?
posted by HuronBob at 6:42 PM on April 26, 2010

As for the suggestion to wash it, washing the outside of ground meat does absolutely no good. The reason you can eat a steak rare safely while a rare hamburger is not so safe is because the germs are on the outside of a steak and will be killed when heat is applied. With ground meat the bacteria etc has been blended in with the fat and muscle and more heat must be applied to kill the bacteria.

Pertaining to your sausage; sausage is cured and salted, and actually keeps for quite a bit longer than plain pork (or what ever animal the sausage was made from). Bacteria doubles approximately every 20 minutes while meat is in the temperature danger zone, and much slower when below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most sell by dates are actually generated fairly randomly, and most stores have NO idea how long their meat will be good.

If you are positive it has been in the refrigerator and wrapped, if there is no off smell, or no green or gray tinge to the meat, it should be fairly safe to eat, though I wouldn't because it will probably have a fairly nasty texture.

Of course I wouldn't eat it anyway, because I find sausage repulsive by nature.
posted by CoffeeDregs at 6:54 PM on April 26, 2010

This is not meant to be construed as advice but -

if it's not green or fuzzy, and it smells ok, I personally would cook it *very thoroughly* and eat it.

But that's me. Last summer I spent a couple weeks at my dad's house (he's like 80 and bulletproof) and he made some ground beef and beans chili. We ate some. We went on a long-weekend driving trip (about 4-5 days) and came back, ate some more chili. Ate some more the day after that. It wasn't til we'd finished the whole pot that I realized he'd never refrigerated it at all - not even while we were gone! He just left it covered, on the stove.

He also told me some bizarro story about getting sick a few months before on something he ate, and getting sick again and again day after day, because whatever it was, he didn't want to waste it by throwing it away.

So, that's the kind of context I need you to have, before construing anything I have to say as advice, rather than a conditionally connected anecdote.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:54 PM on April 26, 2010

I bought a pair of expensive sausages from the fancy locavore meatery a few months back. After carting them around town in a non-refrigerated bag for several hours, I popped them in the fridge and forgot about them. For 10 days. When I pulled them out they were a little dry and hard, but they smelled fine and they were supposedly super fresh when I bought them. I fried them for a long time, them ate them both. I began feeling sort of low-level ill immediately, so I went to bed. I spent the night restlessly thrashing and sweating profusely, and awoke feeling fine. My takeaway from this experience was: I am stronger than food poisoning! Yours should be: don't eat really old sausages.
posted by boots at 7:36 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Jesus H! They don't make lamb sausage out of the freshest cuts to start with, so it has a pretty short shelf. Throw it the F. away!!!!!
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:48 PM on April 26, 2010

If you eat those sausages you will see the face of god between the vomiting, fecal incontinence, fevers, sweats and other, more unpleasant hallucinations. Let the sausage go; it's time has come. Cooking that *thing* left in your fridge is like burying your dead cat at an old indian burial ground.

Sausage will come back. But, somehow, it won't be like you remembered, won't be _right_. It will mean you harm.
posted by smoke at 8:22 PM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]

Food safety rules say you get 2 days for raw sausage. Pitch 'em.
posted by ErikaB at 10:16 PM on April 26, 2010

Ask MeFI standard rhyming rule

"if in doubt, throw it out"

Works for most relationship Askmefi's too
posted by jannw at 3:15 AM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Please let us know if you ate them and the results.
posted by CoffeeDregs at 8:25 AM on April 27, 2010

Best answer: Ok, facetiousness aside, cooking the hell out of something will not make it safe.

Acute food poisoning comes from sepsis - an innate immune response to evolutionarily conserved "pathogen associated molecular patterns" (PAMPS) such as endotoxins (including lipopolysaccharide and peptidoglycan, components of bacterial cells walls) and some more esoteric stuff like double-stranded RNA or unmethylated CpG motifs in microbial DNA or flagellin, a protein in the flagella (wavy thing that helps propel the bacterium).

Even if the bacteria are dead, your immune system will still respond to these PAMPs.

The issue with ground meat is that bacteria can easily contaminate the meat during the grinding process. The time in the fridge (even though its cold, bacteria can still multiply, just slower) allows the growth of bacteria. More bacteria = more PAMPs. Eating a couple of thousand bacterium might not show any symptoms but eating a couple of bagillion bacteria certainly will. 1 bacterium -> 2 bacteria -> 4 bacteria -> 16 bacteria -> 64 bacteria -> 4096 bacteria -> 1,677,216 bacteria ->...
posted by porpoise at 1:19 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I chose to not eat these meats.
Buuuuut, I do have some ancient ground beef sleeping in my freezer....
posted by KingoftheWhales at 9:50 PM on June 6, 2010

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