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I've accidentally left a pork tenderloin marinating in the fridge for the past six days. Is it still safe to cook and eat? I'm not sure how it will taste, but I'd hate to waste a good tenderloin. The marinade is really more of a brine made of apple juice, sugar, soy sauce, salt and some spices. It was in the back of refrigerator, so it remained quite well chilled.

Update!

As many folks mentioned, I used the power of The Sniff Test and everything smelled fine. We ate it and no one died or fell ill. In fact, it was quite tasty. I was afraid the taste would be off, but it was great!

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I would probably take a pass after six days. –  uncle brad Jun 19 '11 at 15:38
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I once left a whole New York strip in the walk in cooler for two weeks and it was great. Chances are that the salt and acid in the marinade preserved the pork well enough it would still be safe to eat after six days. I would check for slime and foul odor. There are several other factors involved such as how it was handled before put in the refrigerator. For example, a piece of pork that was at room temp for one hour with a semi sterile knife trimming it might not last three days. I always go with whether it has an off odor or not. I find that meat which has aged a little in the fridge will have a more robust defined flavor. If you run your finger across it and feel any type of slime just get rid of it.

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+1 for the always popular (and fairly reliable) sniff test. –  BobMcGee Jun 20 '11 at 1:21
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I would like to know more about how the loin came to be marinated. Considering the majority of supermarkets sell pre-marinated pork loins, and it seems unlikely that they are meant to be cooked within 6 days of processing/packaging, it seems more than likely that as long as:

  • the pork loin didn't remain at room temperature for long
  • it wasn't pulled out and put back and given further time to incubate pathogens

You should be able to cook the pork loin without too much worry. Would I try to go for a medium-rare? No, I would definitely cook it thoroughly, call me superstitious. Nonetheless, the fact that the that it was basically brined sounds like it should hold steady with the natural preservatives.

Would I apply this reasoning to a fresh butcher cut? I guess that's the tragedy there, although it would be a better cut, I would probably get rid of it sooner. I hope that if this doesn't give you an answer to you specific situation, it provides some value.

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I'll echo the sentiment about cooking more thoroughly in this situation. –  zanlok Jun 23 '11 at 14:33
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This website doesn't specifically say loin, but it might be helpful.

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/food_safety/handling/hgic3511.html

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Welcome to Seasoned Advice! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. –  Aaronut Jun 19 '11 at 2:33
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