What Does Ground Beef Brown on the Outer and Pink on the Inside Mean? Is it safe to eat?

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It is critical to inspect raw meat at the grocery store. When it comes to bringing out tasty options, some establishments outperform others.

There might be catastrophic implications if the meat is not properly cleaned and wrapped. Hence, when anything unexpected is identified in the flesh, it would readily offer reason for alarm.

Ground Beef Brown On Outside Pink Inside

If you pick up a bag of ground beef and it seems brown, it is due to a lack of oxygen. It’s still pink on the inside since the effects take longer to work their way through. In fact, if it is brown all the way through, it is likely that the meat has already gone rancid. Pink on the interior indicates that it has not spoiled and is okay to consume.

Oxidation Takes a Toll

While purchasing beef, the first thing to notice is the color. Red indicates excellent health and a more recent cut. It’s pretty unusual to come across some pieces that are browning somewhat as you search through the pile.

It indicates the meat has been exposed to air but has now been wrapped for a longer period of time than the others, depriving it of oxygen. The red becoming brown is just the result of air entering the room and interacting with the meat.

The pink in the centre indicates that it has yet to be exposed at all. This is still a fine cut of meat, it just has to be refrigerated as soon as possible.

How Long Does the Meat Have?

When you bring home browning ground beef, you know time is of the essential. Naturally, the more red the flesh, the more time you have with it.

Nonetheless, meat will often darken with time. As the meat starts browning, it should be cooked or frozen within a few days.

If you don’t intend to use it that day, put it in the freezer right away. If you stop the oxidation process, it will not become any browner.

When frozen and tightly wrapped, beef may survive almost indefinitely after the aging process has been halted. To prevent freezer burn, cook it within four months after freezing.

How to Tell if Beef Has Expired

We often tell ourselves that we are going to eat that meat today, just to forget. The next day, a project arises, and there is no time to adequately prepare ground beef.

You’re standing in front of the refrigerator, trying to decide what to eat for supper, when you’re struck by a bolt of internal lightning. Oh, no! Ground beef!

You open the drawer containing the package of beef quickly, fearful of what you will see.

How long has it been in place? Should you crack it open? Will you be able to detect spoilage?

Here is a list of things to keep an eye out for in order to prevent complications from consumption:


If you can smell what’s inside the plastic before you open it, it’s definitely gone bad. Ground beef that is ready to consume will actually have a neutral odor. Since the meat has already been cooked, determining whether it has gone bad might be tricky.

As you open the box, put your nose near to the opening before pulling it all the way out. If it’s gone bad, it’ll smell sour or like rotten eggs.

If this is the case, your olfactory senses should be alerting you. The body is quite excellent at detecting when anything is wrong.

Maybe this was part of our evolution; early people who could detect poor food survived, but others ate rotten meat and did not survive to pass on their genes. Just an idea.

In any case, if the meat smells, throw it away. Do not pass go and do not receive $200. Go straight to the garbage can.


Well, so the meat may have a little odor, but you can’t tell whether it’s terrible or simply near to it. The meat is now completely freed from its packing.

If you want to be extra cautious, wear gloves for this step. The problem is that if you touch it, you can transmit harmful germs if the meat has deteriorated since you must turn on the water to wash your hands.

Examine the meat from the top, the side, and the bottom at this stage. If the top of the meat is brown but the interior or bottom is pink, it’s usually OK.

If the brown has darkened or there are signs of forest green, it is too late to salvage the ground beef.


The meat hasn’t smelled or looked especially awful this far along. There is just one more test, and that is to touch it.

Indeed, it was stated not to touch it in order to prevent the spread of germs. Yet, if all else fails, this is the one exam that will not leave you perplexed.

Touching it may also tell you if the meat is rotten but has already been cooked and seasoned. The smell test would almost certainly fail, and it would have already browned. That seemed to be the only choice.

If the ground beef is slimy in any way, it has gone bad.

How Should Ground Beef Be Stored?

Ground beef should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible. It should not be left on the counter for longer than two hours. This guideline applies to all types of food storage. This is done to prevent germs from quickly proliferating and causing food spoiling and food-borne diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions to Ground Beef Brown on Outside Pink Inside

Can You Eat Beef That is Pink?

When it comes to ground beef, you must properly cook it. Pink ground beef should not be consumed. If you’re talking about steak, it’s okay to consume it when it’s pink in the centre.

How Long Does it Take for Beef to Go Bad at Room Temperature?

If you aren’t freezing the ground beef right away, put it in the fridge as soon as possible. Do not keep raw meat on the counter for more than two hours. It is an excellent general guideline for all perishables.

Conclusion: Perception is Everything

Taking the effort to be extra vigilant while purchasing meat might save a life. Contaminated meat may occur at any stage of the food preparation process. You never know what may happen.

The most important thing to remember is that the greatest beef will always be the most brilliant in color. When the red fades, so will your opportunity to utilize it.

Remember, if in doubt, toss it!


Is ground beef bad if it turns brown on the outside?

Examine the color

Due to a lack of oxygen, the inside of uncooked ground beef may be greyish brown. This does not imply spoiling. Yet, if the exterior of the ground beef has become dark or gray, it is starting to rot and should be discarded.

Is ground beef OK if it turns brown in the refrigerator?

This darkening is caused by oxidation, which is the chemical changes in myoglobin caused by the presence of oxygen. This is a natural alteration that occurs during refrigerator storage. Beef that has become brown as a result of prolonged storage may be rotten, have an off-odor, and be sticky to the touch, and should not be consumed.

Why is my ground beef grey on the outside and red inside?

Extended air and sun exposure will also discolor meat that begins out bright red. You’ve undoubtedly seen pre-formed hamburger patties become gray on the surface while remaining red or pink on the interior. Color changes may also occur when raw meat is frozen, causing it to fade or darken.

Why is it unsafe to eat ground beef pink in the middle?

While a properly cooked medium rare steak is not a problem, medium rare ground beef is. When complete pieces of beef are crushed together, any germs on the surface of the beef are integrated into the ground beef combination, which means germs might be present throughout a burger patty, from the surface to the middle.

How can you tell if ground beef is spoiled?

Make contact with the ground meat. It’s not natural if it’s slimy. Smell and visually inspect your ground beef; if it’s brown or has an odd odor, this might indicate that it’s rotten. Remember, when in doubt, toss it away!

Is beef safe to eat if brown?

This color really signifies a lack of oxygen exposure, which is typical. Supermarket shops often discount meat that has gone brown, even if it is still well within its shelf life. But, if the flesh becomes brown or grey on the exterior, it is not yet hazardous, but it is starting to rot.

Is grey ground beef safe to eat?

If you open a package of ground beef and see that the internal flesh is gray, this is most likely due to a lack of oxygen exposure. In such situation, the meat is still safe to consume as long as there are no other signs of deterioration (read more on that below).

How long does raw ground beef last in the fridge?

Ground beef may be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, and leftovers should be used within 4 days. Ground beef may be kept in the freezer for up to 4 months. When cooking ground beef, the minimum internal temperature should be 160°F (71°C) as measured using a food thermometer.

What does spoiled beef smell like?

Spoiled meat has a pungent stench that is reminiscent of steak but with ammonia overtones. Some steaks may also smell like eggs. If your steak has beyond its expiry date and has an unpleasant odor, it is most likely unsafe to consume.

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