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I have 2 questions; 1 is very general, and one is very relevant to my current situation but both are about the same thing.

So, I defrosted a topside of beef over Saturday night/Sunday morning. It is now Wednesday night.

1) Does marinading meat (beef) preserve how long it can last before cooking, regardless of whether the meat was marinaded from frozen or fresh? 2) In my case, is it still safe to eat? It is only marinading in a batter for deep frying!

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@derobert - thanks, but this does not cover or explain if this remains the case with defrosted food. – Dave Dec 5 '12 at 17:28
Most marinades aren't acidic (or salty, or sugary) enough to preserve foods. But you get 3–5 days for non-ground meat, so it may still be OK. – derobert Dec 5 '12 at 17:28
Time while its frozen basically does not count for food safety. So if you froze it immediately after purchase (or purchased it frozen), you still have the full 3–5 days. – derobert Dec 5 '12 at 17:29
I didn't feel I'd fleshed it out enough for it to be an answer... – derobert Dec 5 '12 at 18:31
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Marination is a process defined as soaking something in a flavorful liquid to impart that flavor into the object being marinated. Marinating is really only working with the outermost layers of the food and is normally a quick process (hours). The liquid in which you are marinating is the real difference maker. A highly acidic liquid CAN have an effect on the preservation of the food and can also have effects on the texture (think ceviche). However, in most cases marination is not used as a preservation method, that is primarily done through curing in a high salt environment where moisture loss is promoted to prevent bacterial growth (i.e. charcuterie, bacon, etc.).

But as for the food safety portion of the question, as long as it still smells ok and has been kept in the refrigerator for that time I believe you should be alright.

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As long as the piece of meat has been defrosted and kept in a fridge below the temperature where bacteria grow and multiply (4ºc?) it should still be safe to eat.

The marinade (batter?) in this instance is irrelevant, it is not a preservative.

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