How to Tell if Pork Chops Are Bad? Simple and Effective Tips

October 3, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton
Edited by John Smits 

Bad pork chops often feel sticky, have a foul smell, or are past their sell date. Fresh pork chops should appear to be bright pink, moist (but not slimy), and odorless

During my culinary school days, I learned what signs to look out for in pork chops to determine whether they’ve gone bad or not. I also learned the appropriate methods of storing them. I know how to pick the freshest pork chops. I’m going to share everything I learned with you.

Today, we’ll look at the signs of pork chops gone bad, how to choose fresh pork chops, and how to store them safely. Let’s get started!

How to tell if pork chops are bad

Signs Pork Chops Are Bad

Here, I’ll discuss 4 signs that indicate your pork chops are bad. Remember to check for all these signs when determining your meat’s freshness. 

1. Smell

If the pork chops give off a foul smell, they are probably bad. Throw away the pork chops if they have an ammonia-like, fishy, or sour smell.

Spoiled pork chops begin to smell because bacteria have started to multiply rapidly, and the meat has already started to decay. 

2. Discoloration

Discoloration is another sign that the pork chops are about to spoil or have already spoiled. Cooked pork chops should appear light pink and gray. So, if you notice any green or off-colored spots, throw the meat away.

Remember, the fat of chops should be white. The meat will be pink to gray. Any other colors mean the chops have spoiled – throw them out!

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3. Slimy Texture

Fresh pork chops can feel a bit moist. Generally, when pork is delivered to your butcher, it is wrapped in cryovak packaging. This traps the juices. These juices should be watery, not slimy.

Spoiled pork chops, on the other hand, feel slimy and are far different from the wetness found on fresh chops. 

Keep an eye out for other signs that your raw pork chops are spoiled. Don’t just rely on the sticky texture. Also, remember that cooked pork chops shouldn’t be slimy.

4. Sell-by Date

The sell-by-date will let you know for how long the pork chops can be stored before being cooked. 

It’s risky to eat pork chops that have passed their best-before date. So, if the pork chops are close to their expiration date, I suggest you cook them quickly and eat them or toss them in the freezer until you’re ready to cook them. 

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How to Identify Fresh Pork Chops?

Raw pork chops should be a bright pinkish-red color, with some gray as well. The marbling and fat are white. I recommend that you look for an alternative cut if the color is a little pale. A pale color doesn’t mean the pork is rotten, but it does mean the pork chop isn’t as fresh as it should be.

Raw Pork Chops with Ingredients

How Long Do Pork Chops Last?

Raw pork chops can be stored for three to five days in the refrigerator, while cooked pork chops can last in your fridge for about four days.

Frozen pork chops can be kept for up to 6 months, but I recommend eating them within 3 months for the best quality. Keep in mind that this is assuming no power outages or decreases in freezer temperature. 

Knowing how long you can keep your pork chops before they spoil is crucial. It will help you meal plan your week. Remember, fresher is always better when it comes to meat.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Pork Chops?

Worm larvae that infect the meat can cause food poisoning, such as trichinosis. Symptoms of trichinosis include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain

Don’t eat bad pork chops! The symptoms are not worth it, trust me. Bacteria can spread and also produce toxins. 

So, even though cooking the meat can kill some bacteria, the toxins may lead to uncomfortable symptoms like nausea and vomiting.

How to Store Pork Chops?

First, it’s crucial to keep raw pork separate from other items in storage. Ideally, raw meat should be stored at the bottom of the fridge where it’s coldest. This will keep the meat nice and cold.

Try to preserve the chops in their original packaging for as long as you can. If not, wrap it in wax paper first, then stick it in a ziplock plastic baggie. Push out as much air as possible. Air is the enemy of freshness, it makes food go bad more quickly.

Moreover, always keep cooked pork chops in an airtight container or bag. Again, push out as much air as possible.

Remember, you can keep cooked leftover pork chops in the fridge for about three days. Even though it might last longer, I like to play it safe. Once more, your refrigerator should always be set to a low, consistent temperature of below 40°F.

Frozen Pork Chop with Peppers and Rosemary Leaves

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to Avoid Eating Undercooked Pork Chops?

The easiest way to make sure your pork chops are cooked through is to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. Pork chops are safe to eat when they hit 145°F internal temp.

2. Do Pork Chops Spoil in the Freezer?

Food stays good indefinitely in the freezer, though for best taste, eat them within four to six months. After that, they’re likely to get freezer burn, which makes food taste horrible.

3. How Long Do Defrosted Pork Chops Remain Edible?

Pork chops should be eaten within three to five days after thawing.

4. Why Does My Cooked Pork Smell Sour?

There are two reasons why pork could have an off smell: either you’re smelling boar taint, or you have rotten pork. Trust me, you’ll be able to tell the difference. 

The smell will be unpleasant if you’re smelling boar taint and downright nauseating if it’s spoiled pork chops. In either case, I’d throw the pork out. If it doesn’t smell good, it’s not going to taste good.

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Hopefully, you now know how to tell if pork chops are bad. Safety should always come first when deciding if your pork is good or bad. Use all your senses to investigate if the pork is still edible. Get rid of the raw pork chops if the meat looks discolored, smells rotten, or has a slimy texture. Keep track of the sell-by date, too. 

Remember, don’t eat bad pork chops. It’s not worth it! Years ago, I had the misfortune of eating bad pork chops because I didn’t want to waste food, and I regretted that decision for over a week. If you notice anything off about the meat cut, visit your nearby butcher and buy fresh raw pork chops. Thanks so much for reading! Happy grilling.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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