Expendables 2, or How to Make the Most of Old Meat

Expendables 2 got us thinking: Just how long can old meat be used before it’s time to cast it off completely?
By: Mike Singer

Expendables 2 came out today. The movie about old action stars like Bruce Willis (age 57), Sylvester Stallone (age 66), Arnold Schwarzenegger (age 65) and Chuck Norris (72!) shooting down bad guys got us thinking. Just how long can old meat be used before it’s time to cast it off completely? And what’s the best way to store it? You can assume a piece of beef that was in its prime in the early '80s wouldn’t be edible today, but what are the timeline and guidelines for safe storage? Get our meat preservation tips after the jump.

Firstly, uncooked meat should be kept cold to prevent bacteria from infiltrating it like so many Somali pirates. It should be refrigerated below 35° F or frozen below 0° F. If you want to use it within four days of buying it, refrigeration is the way to go. Wrap it up to prevent it from drying out or contaminating other foods in the fridge. For longer storage in the freezer, keeping it wrapped up is key to prevent freezer burn (parts of the meat that become too dried out.) If you package it properly, you can keep beef, lamb and fish frozen for six months, and veal, pork and chicken for four months. It's a smart thing to do because it allows you to buy food in bulk and freeze in small portions for use later on. Unlike Expendables 2, not everyone has a $100,000,000 budget.

For important tips on defrosting meat, check out our step-by-step slide show.

Bonus: When you're ready to cook that meat, learn how to build your own grill (because that's what Chuck Norris would do.)

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