How long does the smoked meat last?

Are you looking for more information about how long does smoked meat last? We’ve got you covered with all that you need to know.

As all great lovers of meat would know, an enticing slab of that perfectly smoked meat could bring tears of joys and drools of happiness, making the day seem beautiful!

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Not only does smoked meat taste heavenly, but smoking has also been a way of preserving meat for as long as you may trace back to the history of it.

However, no matter how much you might want to enjoy your smoked meat for as long as you can, do avoid putting your meat stash in the refrigerator for days on end.

Because the sad reality is that even the most well-preserved smoked meat has got a shelf life beyond which it will not last.

So, if you’re one of those who are in the habit of stacking up their smoked meat stash endlessly in the refrigerator, not knowing about its potential dangers, then this read is for you.

Tip: Want to know what I use to make this amazing smoked meat? Check out the best offset smokers here.


How long does smoked meat last?

Here is what you need to know about how long does smoked meat last:


Why refrigerate smoked meat, to begin with?

Contrary to how much you may be assured about the safety of smoked meat, it is never a good idea to keep them without refrigeration. But doesn’t smoking preserve the meat already?

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It does, but, the entire process of smoking succeeds two essential steps that are curing and drying.

Curing kills the bacterial onslaught while drying eliminates the moisture content of the meat that can lead to bacterial growth.

And when we just smoke the meat without curing or drying (which we usually do), it only dries up the exterior while the moisture remains on the inside of the meat, keeping it still susceptible to bacterial growth.

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Bacteria will only perish when you smoke your meat up to approximately 160F (71C). The hot smoking brings the “external temperature” of the meat to 225F(107C).

This preserves the freshness of the meat. And in the next step, you will need to freeze or at least refrigerate this freshly smoked meat as soon as you can to dodge the “danger zone” of 40F to 140F that is approximately 4C to 60C.

During this time bacterial infestation could heavily impair the quality of the meat.


So, how long does the smoked meat last exactly?

If all the required measures are taken to refrigerate smoked meat as quickly as possible, it will last for up to four days tops- that is if it’s refrigerated within two hours of smoking.

Check out our smoked brisket recipe here.

And by no means should you go beyond three months keeping your smoked meat in the freezer, for that matter.

To prolong the shelf life of the smoked meat, do use vacuumed packages, airtight sealed bags and the smallest containers you could find.

This is because you have to make sure that there is no amount of air and moisture trapped in the storage units.

Air and moisture could lead to vicious bacterial growth, rotting the meat and reducing smoked meat shelf life.


Steps to refrigerating smoked meat properly:

Here are some easy-to-follow step-by-step of how to refrigerate the smoked meat:

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Step One

Wrap up the meat in a standard, premium quality plastic wrap. You can use freezer paper or butcher paper keeping the wax-side inward. This is because butcher paper peels easier than plastic when the meat is thawed.

How long does smoked meat last

Check out our smoked beef fillet recipe here.


Step Two

Wrap the meat properly in aluminum foil as it will hold the initial protective layer in place before refrigeration can dehydrate the meat leading to a potential “freezer burn.”

Another way of prolonging the shelf life of the smoked meat is to use vacuum-sealing. But since bacteria can still flourish in the absence of oxygen, do freeze it right away after sealing.



So this was all about how long does the smoked meat last. It’s true that smoked meat is perishable, but the good news is that it can still be stored fresh for a sufficient period of time if done correctly.

Do take care.

Thanks for reading!

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