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BBQCookin 08-18-2019 12:56 PM

How Long Can Protein Stay Frozen
Going through my freezer, i found:
1. section of tenderloin I placed in a ziplock bag. Been there since Nov. 2018. There's some "snow" on it.
2. Whole chicken, never opened, went right to freezer. Date is Sept. 2017.
3. Smithfield ribs, never opened, right to freezer. August 2016.

Is any of this usable or is it all tonight's garbage? Thanks!

ynotfehc 08-18-2019 02:16 PM

Tenderloin would be a great dinner tonight or tomorrow. The chicken may be ok, would have to defrost and see how the meat looks. Ribs are probably freezer burnt. It's more the quality of the meat rather than going bad. After so long the meat will just be dried out and freezer burnt.

Bucknekked 08-18-2019 02:56 PM

This is one of those "opinion" questions for sure. Some folks will have very strong, heartfelt "opinions". Like most topics where opinions abound, YMMV and those opinions may not line up with food science or reality.

There are lots of brethren here who operate foodtrucks or BBQ joints and they know what the food inspectors will allow and where the liability starts to grow. I will wager if those dudes chime in, the time frames you will see for how long meat is OK in the freezer will get a lot shorter than you'd expect.

I've had meat in the freezer for well over a year and used it just fine. But something tells me for a public opinion and food safety, I'll wager the period is much less than that.

poorolddan 08-19-2019 09:47 AM

Only real way to know is thaw it and smell it. If foul dump otherwise feed you in laws

thirdeye 08-19-2019 10:15 AM

In theory, frozen food will keep indefinitely, never go bad or pose any health issues.... but it can and will loose flavor or get freezer burned and get dry. Good packaging can really help, vacuum sealing is the best followed by plastic inner-wrap and freezer paper outer-wrap. A dedicated freezer will usually be colder than the freezer in your refrigerator, so that helps too.

A friend of mine found two packages of vacuum sealed elk steaks in the bottom of his chest freezer that was 9 years old. He slow thawed them in the fridge and everything appeared to be fine, but to play it safe he made jerky out of them. It was just great and I joked that the elk had been in the freezer twice as long as it was on the hoof.

BBQCookin 08-19-2019 08:10 PM

I cooked up the tenderloins last night and they were pretty good, not great. I think I'm going to defrost and cut up the chicken, gauge appearance and smell, and go from there. The ribs look good in the sealed packaging: I might cut out one, smoke it and see how that goes. Then either cook or toss the other ones.

Meanwhile, I'm going to encourage my wife to look inside the freezer more often!

ynotfehc 08-19-2019 08:57 PM

Smell won't be the issue, and it will smell fine. It is a quality issue, dried out meat wont have a particular smell. It will be safe to eat, its whether you will enjoy it or not.

IamMadMan 09-28-2019 09:53 PM

With vac-sealing or processing plant "cyro-packaging" there shouldn't be any problems with the meat. Freezer burn is simply a process of oxidation, the air causes ice crystals to form on the surface of the meat and discolors the meat as it drys out as the moisture leaves the meat to form ice crystals. With proper vac-sealing or processor sealing, there is no air in the package, so as long as the packages are not compromised (pin holes) the meat can last for years in a freezer with properly set temperature controls. I have two freezers and sometimes items get lost in the shuffle of things, only to find them a couple years later. Both raw meat and cooked meat that was properly vac-sealed, were in perfect shape as the day they were packed and frozen.

airedale 09-29-2019 09:21 AM

Well, every once in a while they find a wooly mammoth in a glacier.

SonnyE 09-29-2019 09:59 AM


Originally Posted by airedale (Post 4231166)
Well, every once in a while they find a wooly mammoth in a glacier.

I wonder if anybody BBQ'd some to see if it was, um, Glacier Burned.
I mean, heck, it wasn't even in a baggie, let alone cryovac.

kurtsara 09-29-2019 07:32 PM


Originally Posted by poorolddan (Post 4217704)
Only real way to know is thaw it and smell it. If foul dump otherwise feed you in laws

You can tell the chicken is foul even when frozen.

mike243 09-30-2019 06:49 PM

A dedicated freezer has the same temps a refridge/freezer has so time will be the same on both, a freezer without a defrost system say a chest freezer the food will last longer due to no defrost cycle to put heat into the cabinet other than you opening the door. a upright freezer that has the cooling coils made into the shelfs are better than a frost free for long term storage but the chest freezer is the best. The reason is when you open the chest freezer door the cold air doesn't fall out like a upright unit. I work on refridge and freezers for a living and know just a little bit about them.

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