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Just bought Baby Back ribs - has a wierd smell - Advice ?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hello All;

I just bought a package of Baby Back Ribs from EarthFare (An organic food market) yesterday and when I opened up the package today, I immediately smelled a weird smell. I immediately did some googling and found out that ribs do smell this way sometimes when just bought so it seems to be a common concern. Most of the internet advice I got was to rinse them off and see how they smell after rinsing.

 

So I am wondering if any of you have any thoughts ? My concern is that they are spoiled and I will get sick. Is there a good way to tell if ribs are spoiled or if they just picked up the smell from processing and packing ? Thanks for any advice you can provide.

 

Tim

post #2 of 17

Were they vacuum packed? Vacuum packed meat always smells off when you first open the package... letting it breath a bit and thoroughly drying with paper towels helps. 

 

If not, then bring them back to the store. 

 

You can kill some of the nasty smelling bacteria with vinegar... but yeah, bring them back. 

post #3 of 17

Was there any blood pooling in the package? Blood goes off really quickly, no big deal to the meat if it does, just rinse off as suggested. Smell should be gone, if not indicative of a larger problem in which case "when in doubt throw it out" but I imagine it is just the blood so a rinse should do it. If the meat was spoiled,the smell would leave no doubt.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #4 of 17

This happens to me frequently with pork shoulder.  Yes, just rinse, pat dry and see if it still smells (allow time for initial odor to have dissipated).  The smell sure is funky, isn't it?

post #5 of 17

Bad pork has a very nasty smell, so a little off smell is usually just package funk.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi All;

French Fries - They could have been vacuum packed at the processing plant but they weren't when I got them because they were in the display case.

 

Cheflayne - There wasn't blood pooling in the package but there definitely was some blood or red liquid on the meat.

 

I did wash off thoroughly for about 5 minutes then I wrapped in paper towel and then wrapped in the package and put back in refrigerator. I went away for about 4 hours and I just checked now and the smell seems to have dissipated quite a bit though I can still smell a little if I smell very close. Not nearly as bad as originally, though.

 

I assume if it was really spoiled or had bacteria in it, it would smell very bad even after rinsing thoroughly.

 

So it seems like the meat is OK and so I'll cook it tonight.

 

Tim

post #7 of 17

The smell from vacuum pack usually doesn't last, it only smells for the first few seconds after opening the package - so I don't think that's what it is. 

 

It's hard to give recommendations based on smells described on the internet... At least I'd recommend you "wash" the ribs with vinegar first: that'll kill many of the surface bacteria. 

post #8 of 17

You can also rub the suspected meat with baking soda to eliminate the odor.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestion, French Fries - I'll rub with vinegar before cooking just to be extra safe.

 

Tim

post #10 of 17

I understand the premise behind vinegar killing surface bacteria (I use it as a cleaner and sanitizer for kitchen surfaces) but wouldn't cooking also kill the surface bacteria?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

FYI - I am cooking (rubbed ribs) at 300 degrees for 2 hours and then am applying Barbecue sauce and broiling for 2 minutes on each side according to the following procedure ... http://www.food.com/recipeprint.do?rid=107786. I chose to use (Health-Food) store bought Rub and Barbecue sauce to save time this time but don't have a problem making both the next time when I have more time. My goal today is to see if this procedure will become my favorite way of barbecuing ribs and chicken.

 

Tim

post #12 of 17

When you open a Cryovac pack of ribs from say Costco or Sams you will smell the sulfites that they use to help preserve the meat. That's all it is. I do rinse mine well and dry, they'll be just fine.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post

I understand the premise behind vinegar killing surface bacteria (I use it as a cleaner and sanitizer for kitchen surfaces) but wouldn't cooking also kill the surface bacteria?

Maybe you're right, but then wouldn't you get an off smell during the first part of the cooking process? I mean I'd rather get rid of the smell before the meat gets on the heat than have it fill the house during the cooking process? Also if you intend to apply marinade or rub on the meat, I think it's better to first get rid of the bacteria then add the marinade/rub rather than mix bacteria in the marinade/rub... etc. 

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

Maybe you're right, but then wouldn't you get an off smell during the first part of the cooking process? I mean I'd rather get rid of the smell before the meat gets on the heat than have it fill the house during the cooking process? Also if you intend to apply marinade or rub on the meat, I think it's better to first get rid of the bacteria then add the marinade/rub rather than mix bacteria in the marinade/rub... etc. 

Doesn't washing in vinegar give off a smell when first cooking? If something smells off enough that the odor will fill the house if I cook it, the only thing I am going to fill with it is the garbage can because that is where it is going. Do you wash all your marinade/rub food items first to eliminate bacteria or just the ones that smell off?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post

Doesn't washing in vinegar give off a smell when first cooking? If something smells off enough that the odor will fill the house if I cook it, the only thing I am going to fill with it is the garbage can because that is where it is going. Do you wash all your marinade/rub food items first to eliminate bacteria or just the ones that smell off?

No, washing with vinegar doesn't give off smells when first cooking because it kills the bacteria that are responsible for the smell when you wash the meat. You can then proceed to season and cook it without any weird smells. 

 

I only do this when something smells off AND I'm suspecting it's only a surface problem. Honestly I've only done this a coulpe of times in my life as I typically get fresh meat that doesn't smell, which is the better way to go. But I've had some chicken that were a bit on the "off" side as far as smelling was concerned, but still perfectly good to eat, and I've used that technique to clean them up before cooking. Then I've committed the name of that store to my memory as a place to never ever get chicken again. 

 

I learned that technique from a documentary on the food manufacturers: it was shown how once a piece of meat would be past its "sell by" date, the package would be opened, the meat washed in vinegar and repackaged with a new "sell by" date. Pretty disgusting when you think about it, but if you don't want to throw away the meat, then the vinegar does work - to an extent. 

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post

Doesn't washing in vinegar give off a smell when first cooking? If something smells off enough that the odor will fill the house if I cook it, the only thing I am going to fill with it is the garbage can because that is where it is going. Do you wash all your marinade/rub food items first to eliminate bacteria or just the ones that smell off?


My rib mop contains vinegar (and olive oil) and I use it throughout cooking. Gives the meat a great bark (crust) and adds flavor.

post #17 of 17

Mine also has vinegar in it, does add a nice flavor to the bark.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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