Imagine this – You just paid a premium price for a very delicious looking pork steak.
Then you came home, unwrapped the package, and you are now ready to infuse it with your savory homemade marinade.
But you notice something odd – the pork smells like vinegar. Yuck!
Is it normal if pork smells like vinegar?
The short answer is No!
Fresh pork meat ideally should not smell like anything.
And if it does smell especially like vinegar, then there are higher chances that it’s probably gone bad or spoiled to a certain extent.
Today, in this article, I will mainly discuss what kind of smell you should expect when the pork is gone bad.
I will also mention some of the simple methods that will help you prevent such vinegar like bad smell from your pork meat.
Table of Contents
- Most Frequently Asked Questions Related to Pork Meat That Smells Like Vinegar
- What Does Pork Smell Like When It Goes Bad?
- Does Pork Have a Funny Smell?
- How to Tell if Pork Steaks are Bad?
- How Long To Store Pork Meat in the Freezer Safely to Prevent Vinegar Smell?
- What Happens if You Eat Pork That Smells Like Vinegar?
- How to Prevent Pork from Smelling like Vinegar?
Most Frequently Asked Questions Related to Pork Meat That Smells Like Vinegar
What Does Pork Smell Like When It Goes Bad?
Just like any other meat, pork is at a higher risk of spoilage, if it is not packaged and stored appropriately.
Ideally it shouldn’t smell weird when bought fresh from the store.
The fresh pork meat usually does not have any kind of bizarre smell like vinegar or rotten eggs.
If you want to know why pork meat smells like rotten eggs, then check out this article.
Apart from the color, the smell of pork meat is yet another easy way to tell if it’s bad or not.
In several cases, if the pork is gone bad, then it mostly smells like ammonia, vinegar or sulfur.
If your pork meat is smelling like sulfur, then check out my other article here.
But this is an area where things can get tricky.
Because this funky smell can also be caused by the vacuum packaging itself.
When pork is on the verge of going bad, it can also emit a smell similar to rotten eggs.
Rotten egg like smell in most cases indicates that it’s not fresh, and is past its expiration date.
When stored improperly, pork easily gets exposed to a harmful bacteria.
Once it is exposed to outside bacteria and oxygen, then it starts to oxidize and later on decomposes gradually.
This gradual decomposition of the meat leads to a foul smell after few days.
If your pork smells like gas or fish, then it’s probably not bad.
Because some slaughter houses feed their pigs fish meals.
Fish based meals serve as a good source of protein, and provide a good balance of amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
Most of the slaughterhouses generally stop feeding fish meals for a period before slaughtering to prevent the smell.
However, few butchers do not stop feeding the fish which makes the pork meat smell a little fishy even after it is cut.
So, to summarize the answer, the rotten pork meat usually has the smell like ammonia, sulfur or vinegar.
If it smells like rotten eggs or fish, then it might be attributed to bad packaging.
You can eventually get rid of such smell by opening the package, wash and dry rub the meat and keep it in open air for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Does Pork Have a Funny Smell?
The answer is it depends on the freshness and packaging of the pork.
If the pork meat is fresh and good quality, then it does not smell funny at all.
Also, if it is properly vacuum packaged and stored in the freezer, then also it does not develop any kind of weird smell.
Generally, raw or fresh pork does not smell like anything.
But if it is not packaged and stored properly, then it may develop a funny smell in the package.
One way to tell if the smell is caused due to bad quality pork or due to bad packaging is by simply rinsing it well under the sink when you first open the vacuum packaging.
After a few rinses, the sulfuric like smell should dissipate, and the pork meat shouldn’t smell like anything at all.
However, when pork starts to rot, it begins to emit slightly acidic odors that may be reminiscent of sulfur, ammonia, mushrooms, truffles, or other unpleasant things.
In short, fresh pork does not possess any funny smell.
But if it starts to rotten or decompose, then it can have different types of weird smells like ammonia, sulfur, vinegar, etc.
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How to Tell if Pork Steaks are Bad?
If your pork is not smelling right out of the packaging, then the first thing you will need to do is wash and dry rub the meat.
Take out the meat from the package and first wash it a few times under the fresh water.
Then clean and dry rub the pork meat properly.
After that, keep it in open air for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
In most cases, if you follow this cleaning method, then the smell goes away completely.
Even after following this cleaning process, if the vinegar or rotten egg like smell does not go away, then you will need to throw it in the dustbin.
Because, in such a case, the pork meat is most probably rotten or spoiled already.
After rinsing, you can visually inspect the pork steaks to determine whether they’re good for the grill or trash can.
How Long To Store Pork Meat in the Freezer Safely to Prevent Vinegar Smell?
When you buy fresh pork steaks from your local grocery store or a butcher shop, it’s a good practice to check the label for the “use-by” or expiry date.
If you don’t plan on freezing the pork steaks, then it must be used on the same day.
Either that or you can store them in the fridge for up to 4-12 months at max.
To prevent vinegar like smell from the pork meat, it must be packaged and then stored in the freezer appropriately.
Uncooked pork roasts can be stored in the freezer right after you bring them home from the store.
They can remain fresh up to 4-12 months.
Pork chops can be stored in the freezer safely up to 4-6 months.
Cooked pork cuts can be stored in the fridge only up to 2-3 months.
If it is smoked or processed pork meat like bacon, ham or hot dog, then it must not be stored in the freezer for longer than 1-2 months.
But to prolong the life of the pork steaks, it should be stored properly in the right sized freezer-friendly bags and zipped tight.
If you are going to be storing pork or any other type of meat regularly, then it is both cost and space efficient to use a reliable electric vacuum sealer.
This product comes with 1 rechargeable electric vacuum pump along with large, medium and small sized reusable vacuum bags.
You also get few sealing clips, cooking clips and replacement air valves in this package.
I highly recommend to use this electric vacuum sealer to make your life easy.
When looking closely at the pork steaks, just make sure that they’re cherry or red in color.
If they are anywhere near yellowish or greyish in color, then consider them rotten.
Take note that pork meat does adopt a darker variation of red color when stored in the freezer for a while, so it’s still good for consumption.
After you’ve checked off on the right color, touch the pork steaks to check whether they’re tender and consistent.
If the meat feels slimy or too dry, then it’s probably not healthy as it was when fresh.
What Happens if You Eat Pork That Smells Like Vinegar?
Regardless of the high price you paid for the pork shoulder or any other cut, eating spoiled pork can have dire consequences to your overall health.
However, it’s worth mentioning that cooking and consuming pork that smells like vinegar does not always make you sick.
Because several bacteria that might reside inside the pork meat can be killed during the cooking and heating process.
So, the effects of pork smelling like vinegar can have on your body, somewhat boils down to whether or not you fully cook the meat.
For example, if you’re making a classic pork stew, you may not actually get sick, because you’ve cooked the meat for a while.
But if you think the pork is spoilt, then it’s best not to consume it.
Because the bacteria residing inside the meat also release certain toxins that can cause health issues later on if you consume it.
These harmful toxins remain in the meat even after the bacteria are killed.
This obviously leads to sickness if you are not careful.
There are two main types of pork food poisoning.
The bacteria responsible for these diseases can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea.
In worse cases, consuming spoilt pork can cause fever, aches and pains in the muscles.
It can also affect your joints, chills and can cause itching, shortness of breath and inflammation. (Source: Medic8.com)
How to Prevent Pork from Smelling like Vinegar?
The best way to prevent pork from smelling like vinegar is by storing the meat in the freezer or the fridge under certain temperature levels.
If you want to avoid the guesswork of whether the vinegar smelling pork is bad or caused by vacuum packaging, you should store the meat in the fridge as soon as you bring it home.
You can store raw pork in your refrigerator for several days depending on the type of the pork cut.
The key to storing pork meat in the fridge is to keep it out of the dangerous temperature zone (40°F and 140°F) in which bacteria, that causes foodborne illnesses, grow quickly.
When storing in the refrigerator, it’s important that you maintain a temperature of 40°F or lower, which should keep the pork meat fresh for several days.
Speaking of temperature levels, you want to be as accurate as possible.
Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you use specially designed refrigerator thermometers to monitor the temperature all the time.
A reliable thermometer such as AcuRite 00986 Refrigerator Thermometer comes with two different wireless temperature sensors.
You can easily see the readings on the digital display with this thermometer.
It comes with 2 thermometer sensors: one for refrigerator and the other one is for freezer.
The pork meat however should be tightly wrapped to prevent it from drying out when exposed to air.
Usually, by freezing pork meat for longer period of time, you make it less tender and juicy.
But to reduce the chances of spoilage and bad smell like vinegar, you must freeze the pork meat whenever you are not consuming it.
It should be frozen if you aren’t going to use it within the specified refrigerator storage time.