Yesterday, I was reading this research report from Sentientmedia.org which stated that Americans consume annual 66.18 pounds of pork per capita.
So, you must have known by now how much pork meat is popular in USA alone.
Today, we are particularly going to talk about the rotten egg like smell when you open up the pork ribs package which you usually purchase from the store.
When pork meat smells weird, it is usually not a good sign and it means that something has gone wrong with it in many cases.
The main thing to realize here is that the good meat does not smell like rotten eggs or like a fart.
It is not only the ribs part that can smell that way.
Other parts of the pork are susceptible to that kind of smell too.
This is true for the pork of all species.
It does not matter whether it is male or female.
When it smells that way, it means that it has passed the expiration date, or that it is no longer fresh.
It appears that there is something in the pork that makes them smell that way.
Some of the major reasons that causes pork ribs to smell like rotten eggs are poor packaging, improper storage conditions, existence of certain genes and boar taint.
Ordinary rinsing and dry rubbing of the pork can salvage the situation to some extent in most cases but not in all the conditions.
It is not healthy to consume such a rotten pork because if you consume this bad meat then your body gets exposed to numerous bacterial and viral infections.
If you compare throwing it away with the expensive medical bills that could follow after consuming it, you will make a wise decision for sure.
This article from Azolifesciences.com states that rotten pork can have several dangerous bacteria residing inside the meat such as E.Coli, Salmonella, and Yersinia enterocolitica, etc.
For your safety, it is better if you avoid it altogether.
However, it is not in all conditions that pork meat smelling like rotten eggs can cause diseases.
It depends on what causes the smell.
If the smell has something to do with the boar taint, or if it is because of vacuum packaging, then in most cases, it is safe to consume.
Therefore, you must first determine the cause of the rotten smell before you decide whether to eat it or not eat it.
In the next section, we will identify the 4 root causes of rotten egg like smell of the pork ribs and then we will find 4 simple solutions to get rid of that bad smell.
Table of Contents
- 4 Main Reasons Why Pork Ribs Smell Like Rotten Eggs
- 4 Signs That Tell Whether Pork Ribs are Gone Bad
- 4 Primary Solutions to Prevent Pork Ribs from Going Bad
- Final Thoughts
4 Main Reasons Why Pork Ribs Smell Like Rotten Eggs
Pork ribs can smell bad in certain conditions.
There are 4 main reasons that can cause the rotten egg or fart like smell in your pork ribs.
Reason 1: Androstenone Gene
The first natural cause is the genetic factor where certain male pigs possesses androstenone gene.
This gene is mainly created in boar testes.
It then gets mixed in the male pig’s blood and to its salivary gland.
This gene basically works like pheromone which is useful in their mating process.
But it also causes bad rotten egg like smell when pork meat is acquired from such types of male pigs.
Pigs are known for their fat and their body has skatole and androstenone genes.
These are associated with bad odors which include urine-like scent and fecal flavor.
The androstenone is common in male pigs but the other gene is common in all pigs.
So, you can expect it from almost all the pigs in the market.
Reason 2: Improper Storage Conditions
When pork meat is first time packaged in Cryovac parcels, at that time it is really important to safely store them in the freezers and refrigerators.
Bad storage conditions can lead to the growth of certain bacteria in the pork meat.
It gradually leads to meat spoilage if you do not take proper storage care.
It is equally essential to store them under certain temperature such as 50 degrees Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit level.
If you exceed this temperature range in the storage compartment, then bacteria development in the packaged pork meat can take place within few days.
To prevent the bacteria growth, meat manufacturing companies must store pork ribs meat under proper temperature and with secure packaging such as Cryovac Bags.
In many cases, if smell persists because of genes mentioned above, then it will go away eventually.
But if it is because of poor storage conditions, then the pork ribs meat is spoiled in most cases.
In that case, you will have to throw away the meat instead of consuming it because the smell never goes away in such cases.
Reason 3: Poor Packaging of the Pork Meat
One more important factor that can affect the pork freshness or hygiene is its poor packaging.
If the meat is not well packaged, then it can cause bacteria to enter inside the seal.
Once, outer environment bacteria is entered inside the package, then it starts to decompose the meat.
Plus, poor packaging leads to the exposure of outer oxygen air.
When the packaged pork meat is interacted with outer oxygen, it begins to oxidize.
This oxidization procedure slowly causes the breakdown of the meat molecules.
And this breakdown leads to meat spoilage later on.
So, bacteria and oxygen exposure causes rotten egg like smell in the packaged pork ribs.
This is why, you will need to properly seal and pack your pork meat to preserve it for a long period.
The best way to preserve the meat for longer period is to store them inside the vacuum sealer bags.
I strongly recommend to use FoodSaver BPA-Free Vacuum Sealer Bags to store your pork meat safely for longer period of time.
Reason 4: Boar Taint
The other major cause for fart like smell or rotten egg like smell in the pork meat is the boar taint.
This is common among male pigs which are not castrated when they reached puberty age.
The best way out of this way is to castrate the pig when it reaches puberty age.
It can also be caused by bacteria.
Around 75 percent of the pig population is susceptible to this kind of odor and it is because of the boar taint.
When the pork is not well cooked, it can enhance the boar taint which can change the odor instantly and make it smell bad.
This problem is common among non-castrated male pigs during their puberty stage.
The problem is common to female pigs just as a male can smell it as well.
It can be controlled but it is left for pork producers to do that.
If that is not well controlled, then it is likely that more than fifty percent of pigs you eat can smell that way.
In case of smell because of genes, it can go away within 30 minutes to 1 hour after the Cryovac seal in opened.
You can also dry rub the meat to get rid of that egg like smell.
If the smell still persists after these things are done, then you can get rid of that meat for sure.
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4 Signs That Tell Whether Pork Ribs are Gone Bad
When you know how to taste the freshness of your pork meat, then it becomes easier to tell when the pork ribs have gone bad.
There are basically 4 signs or symptoms that can confirm the fact that your pork meat has gone bad or spoiled already.
Those 4 signs are as follows.
Sign 1: Odd Smell or Rotten Smell of The Package
The first sign that tells it all is the smell of the meat package.
When bacteria infiltrate the meat, you can tell it from the smell of the meat.
This is because of structural and chemical changes that have taken place in the meat.
It also means that the meat has degraded or oxidized to a certain extent.
The net effect is the change in its odor.
If you touch such type of meat, then you will feel its slimy or sticky touch.
And you can certainly differentiate between the meat smell which is caused by spoilage and which is caused by genes.
Because, if rotten egg like smell comes from the meat due to existence of Androstenone gene, then it surely goes away once the meat is taken out of the sealed package and kept in the open air for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
But if the pork meat is spoiled due to poor packaging then the bad smell does not go away even if you dry rub the meat and keep it in the open air.
Sign 2: Changes in Meat Color
Another sign to tell if the pork ribs have started to spoil in terms of quality is the significant change in the meat color.
Once you find that the packaged pork meat is smelling weird just like rotten eggs, then the next step is to look at its color.
The fresh pork meat has usually the purple red color when vacuum packaged.
When it is exposed to the air, it starts to change its color from purple-red to cherry-red color.
If this meat is exposed to the oxygen for few more hours, then its color starts to change from cherry-red to brownish-red. (Source: Meatscience.org)
Decomposition of some parts of the pork meat can cause a change in its color.
The natural color is pink and a few white strands of meat.
When the color begins to change from that to greyish and brownish, it is a clear sign that there are chemical and structural changes happening inside the meat.
The presence of certain bacteria can expedite the process of color and odor change in the pork ribs.
So, it always helps to check for the color change when you want to confirm the freshness of your pork meat packaging.
Sign 3: Slimy Touch of the Meat
Slimy or sticky touch is the third sign that can confirm the fact that your pork meat has started degrading.
You can determine that through your tactile senses.
Professional chefs determine it through this process.
If it is fresh, it is firm and non-slimy by nature.
It also feels that way when you touch the meat with your hands.
But when it is no longer fresh you can notice it by the time you touch it.
If you feel slimy and tacky touch, then there are higher chances that those pork ribs have been spoiled to a certain extent.
Sign 4: Tiny Air Holes in Packaging
The last sign to check is the existence of tiny air holes in the sealed package.
You will need to observe your meat package for any sign of tiny holes.
These tiny holes allow outside air to enter inside the package.
If this happens, then pork meat is easily exposed to the outer oxygen air.
When this vacuum packed meat interacts with oxygen and outside bacteria, then it starts to oxidize.
This oxidization process further leads to gradual decomposition of the meat.
You will also need to check the expiration date of the package.
It should not exceed 1-2 weeks at max after the expiry date is over.
The growth of the mold and bacteria starts to happen inside the package, if it is stored beyond its expiration date for several months.
This is the reason, you will need to check for existence of tiny holes and expiration date when you buy vacuum packed pork meat from the store.
4 Primary Solutions to Prevent Pork Ribs from Going Bad
Now, you have already known the root causes of pork ribs that smells like rotten eggs.
You can prevent or avoid this bad smell for sure if you take proper precautions.
Some of the precautions you can take to avoid getting bad smelling pork meat are as follows.
Tip 1: Always Buy Fresh Pork from Local Butcher
I highly recommend you to get your fresh pork meat from your local butcher.
When you buy vacuum packaged pork meat from local stores, there is always a risk of getting spoiled meat.
You will need to be extra careful when buying packaged meat from the local store.
Check for expiry dates if you are buying meat from the stores.
The expiry date must be at least 2-4 weeks from the date of purchase.
Fresh pork meat does not go bad if you take proper storage precautions.
Tip 2: Wash and Dry Rub The Meat Before Storage
Some people do forget to wash and dry rub the pork meat before its storage.
It is very important to clean any outside blood or dirt from the meat before its storage.
If you don’t wash and dry rub the meat before its storage, then there are higher chances of bacterial growth in the meat later on.
This is also one of the reasons why the stored packaged pork meat develops a bad rotten egg or fart like smell.
Tip 3: Store the Meat with Vacuum Sealed Bags
The next most important thing to follow is its proper storage.
You will need to use right vacuum sealed bags to store the freshly bought pork meat.
I highly recommend to use FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer Bags to store your meat for several days without any spoilage.
Tip 4: Freeze Under 50 Degrees Celsius Temperature
If you want to store your pork meat for several days inside the fridge or a freezer without any spoilage, then it is important to store it under certain temperature level.
The safe temperature level under which the meat can be stored for few weeks is about 50 degrees Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Follow this temperature level to prevent any bacteria growth inside the pork meat sealed package.
Bad rotten egg like smell or odor is one of the problems pork meat lovers are likely to encounter at some point of time.
There are 4 main reasons which we have already discussed above.
You can also find whether the pork ribs have gone bad with the help of 4 signs mentioned above.
If it is bad smelling because of meat spoilage, then avoid eating that pork.
If it is bad smelling because of natural causes, you can simply rinse it and eat the meat once that smell is gone.
Most importantly the bad smell is preventable and I have already mentioned 4 methods to avoid that bad odor.
Just follow the above mentioned 4 easy methods and I am sure you will not encounter rotten egg like smell with your pork ribs ever again.