Have you ever had sausages that had been laying out for a considerable amount of time? Wondering if you can still consume them, or if it’s best to dump them all?
If you’ve ever wondered how long sausages may be stored at room temperature, this guide will answer all your questions!
How long may sausages be left out? Cooked sausages should not be left at room temperature (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than two hours. Before storing or ingesting sausages that have been left out for a longer period of time, you should carefully inspect them for symptoms of deterioration. Read on to discover the right storage procedures and helpful hints for cooked sausages.
Cooked Sausages – The Danger Zone
There is a wide selection of sausages to choose from, but they may be broken down into two main groups: fresh sausages and cured sausages.
The greatest danger comes from eating fresh sausages. Freshly minced meat, seasonings, and other substances go into making these sausages, so they could go bad in as little as two hours.
Two hours? The presence of bacteria is ubiquitous, and we can’t avoid contact with them. Although they vastly outnumber us, we have a decided advantage when it comes to wits.
These microorganisms have an optimal growth range of about 40°F to 140°F, and certain thermophilic strains can even reproduce at somewhat higher temperatures.
Standards for food preservation have been established by health agencies, and they are founded on scientific evidence. Researchers found that the bacterial population responsible for foodborne illness doubles every 20 minutes in optimal settings.
So, if food is left out for too long, the bad bacteria can outnumber the good and cause significant sickness in humans.
To put it simply, there aren’t enough bacteria on 20-minute-old sausage to induce a serious reaction, and your body is quite good at fighting itself – at least up to a point – from foreign invaders, so you won’t become sick right away.
For this reason, it is crucial that you keep careful track of time when preparing barbecues at home. Party leftovers might quickly enter the danger zone if proper care is not taken.
Let’s take a look at cured sausages, which many consider to be the safer alternative, and then we’ll discuss how to slow down or even stop the process of bacterial growth on food.
Cured Sausages – The Safer Option?
A specific procedure is used to create cured sausages in order to preserve the meat for longer. Smoking the pork reduces the sausage’s moisture content, which not only increases its shelf life but also gives a great flavor!
But are cured sausages immune to the growth of bacteria? No! In reality, cured meats are significantly more resistant to bacterial growth, but they can still spoil if not stored properly.
Cured meats have lower in water content, but bacteria require moisture to live. Due to the impracticality of totally dehydrating a typical sausage, however, cured sausages can also become compromised within two hours.
After some time, the amount of bacteria on cured meat will be lower than on fresh sausages, but consuming the meat can still make you sick. Simply put, cured meats are susceptible to bacterial development and have a similar tendency to spoil as fresh, cooked sausages.
Raw Vs Cooked Sausage – Which Is Riskier?
Raw sausages are far riskier than cooked sausages for one simple reason: prepared sausages are handled with high heat, which kills any surviving germs on them – but this does not provide them with long-term protection!
Raw meat is heavy in fat and rich in fluids – two things that germs enjoy just as much as we do.
Uncooked meat is so susceptible to bacterial infection that if you were to leave out raw meat on a hot summer day, it would have the potential to go bad within 30 minutes!
Cooking rotten meat will not remove the active bacteria, but it will not remove the parasites or poisons left behind by the bacteria, which are equally deadly to us.
Sausages are being cooked in an oil-based dripping pan.
Fortunately, once cooked, the sausages can last up to 2 hours.
However, there are a few things you should bear in mind.
To help you remember the storage time, here’s a simple time chart:
Storage Protocol For Cooked Sausages
Now that we understand why and when we must keep our sausages, here are two methods for storing cooked sausages.
Put the sausages in a sealed container and put them in the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them fresh. Keep the sausages in the back of the fridge, where they will be less likely to be impacted by even slight temperature changes.
The sausages can be stored in foil if desired; however, they should be kept in an area that is free of strong odors and other perishables such as dairy products.
The sausages will keep for up to two days in the fridge, but for the greatest taste and texture, they should be eaten as soon as possible.
After three days, meat should be inspected for symptoms of deterioration (more on this in a bit).
If you can maintain a constant temperature throughout the storage period, freezing sausages will keep them safe for a very long time, even indefinitely.
To freeze cooked sausages, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container with a zip-top closure and place them in the back of the freezer section.
Keep in mind that while the freezer method can extend the shelf life to six months or even a year, the food’s texture and flavor will diminish after two to three weeks.
Freezing the meat will allow the liquid to slowly evaporate, thus altering the sausage’s qualities.
To defrost the sausages, simply place them in the refrigerator overnight. Do not refreeze thawed meat; for the best flavor, consume it on the same day.
How To Tell If Sausages Have Sat Out Too Long
Before eating sausages that have been left out at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours, keep an eye (and a sniff) out for these symptoms. Nobody wants to consume a stale sausage!
When dealing with leftover sausages, you should pay attention to this initially.
Initial indications of bacterial development are typically absent, but as soon as the bacteria become active, they begin to consume the food. Fortunately (or unfortunately), they emit byproducts that leave behind an odor that can easily be distinguished as being rotten.
You should immediately discard all the meat if there is even a faint whiff of sulfur or decaying meat.
Although cooked meat can have a distinct aroma, you should be on the lookout for other subtle aromas that don’t seem right, as these could be signs that the meat has gone bad.
Cooked sausages have a smooth surface, but when they go bad, they can acquire a very thin film of slime. This is another subtle but significant clue to look for after the 2-hour mark.
Slime is a byproduct of bacterial growth and is an excellent visual indicator of deterioration. Check the sausage well from all sides to see if it has any slime on it. If you see slime, simply throw the affected sausages!
A consequence of rotting meat that lasts for quite some time. In most cases, mold and other discoloration in meat won’t become noticeable until it has been sitting out for 8 hours or more, but overnight storage may cause some discoloration.
Bacterial presence may manifest as white, gray, or green fuzz or a change in color. Please don’t try to save the sausages by cutting into the infected region; the germs will have already spread too far. This is true even for meat that has been thawed or stored in the refrigerator.
It is sometimes possible to miss any of the aforementioned indicators. Due to several circumstances, this occurs when germs attack the meal from the inside rather than the outside.
If none of the above symptoms are present, we recommend conducting a simple taste test. To determine the safety of the meat, it must be chewed but not swallowed. If the sausage has any bitter or unpleasant flavors, it has likely gone rotten. Spit out the sausage and rinse your mouth well.
If you follow the proper procedures, storing cooked sausages is simple. Just don’t leave them out at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours! Now that you know how long cooked sausages last before spoiling, consider the following questions.
How long can you leave refrigerated sausages out?
Never leave chilled sausages out on the counter. Even if the sausages are cooler, a number of things, especially added moisture, can hasten the growth of bacteria!
Can cooked sausages last a week in the fridge?
This is primarily determined by how long the sausages were allowed to sit in the first place. If the sausages were at room temperature for 2-3 hours before being stored in the fridge, you may have to eat them within 24 hours – but take caution and search for symptoms of decomposition before consumption!
Cooked sausages should keep for about 4-5 days if stored properly, but even then, you should scrutinize the flesh thoroughly before eating it.