|$35 down the drain...|
Help!! Ummm so if you don't hear from me in a few days? Blame Costco! It was the Costco pork shoulder that did us in.
Ok backing up, I bought a massive 16 lb pork butt last week. The "Sell By Date"--not use by date--was two days ago which means it should be fine.
Today I opened up a the vacuum-sealed pack and it smelled.
But not of off or rotten meat, but more like hard-boiled eggs. Sulphur! I immediately was going to throw it out (ouch $35 chunk of meat) and call Costco. However I consulted the internet which said sulphur smells are really common with cryo-packed pork.
Something about blood hitting air. Maybe something about bone saw and bone dust releasing sulphur. Eww!
Everywhere it was suggested I rinse the meat and let it air for 5-30 min. I never rinse meat because of bacterial contamination after listening to this NPR story:
And then watching this:
Heck, even the U.S. government says don't do it:
"Mistake #4: Washing meat or poultry
Why: Washing raw meat or poultry can spread bacteria to your sink, countertops, and other surfaces in your kitchen.
Solution: Don’t wash meat, poultry, or eggs."
But I did this time. I mean come on, $35 in meat lost is not cool. I will bleach the kitchen later.
And 10 min later? The smell was 95% gone.
30 minutes later? If I put my nose millimeters close, it still smelled a little like hard-boiled eggs or the whiff of Yosemite paint pots in the wind. The color of the meat is fine. I've heard up to 3 weeks after sell by date is fine.
I was still not 100% convinced though.
So then I called Costco and I talked to their butcher.
He said sulphur smells happen.
He personally breaks down and packages their pork a lot in their Issaquah meat department. Although he commented several times that it should be safe and would be "fine," he also told me that they even they throw out pork if the sulfur smell is really bad.
He did say airing it out helps. He reiterated that it would be safe if I chose to cook it, but that Costco would be happy to return it.
Hmmm... the thought of wasting meat bothers me environmentally, but I also have an incredibly sensitive tummy. My husband's "Eat raw meat/Polish upbringing" would mean it would be probably be okay for his stomach of iron, but I decided to err on the side of caution for me and the kids.
Added to that? The former vegetarian in me? (I know all you guys are laughing at my paleo posts now!!) That former vegetarian just screamed. She feels horribly wasting that much meat for which a creature died ...Sigh!! Oh the guilt!!!
Still back it goes.
That said, Costco has a very liberal return policy. Even so, one time I brought back a leg of lamb that was bad one day past it's sell by date and the Costco employee actually hassled me a bit. It was no use convincing her that the sell by and use by were very different. That was the first and only time I had been hassled at Costco, but I left feeling kind of like a criminal which I did not enjoy.
Had it not been Costco and the store I purchased it at wouldn't return it? I admit, I might have been tempted to cook it and disregard all my Facebook friend's advice such as "When in doubt, throw it out," and "Having survived ecoli...it's not worth it" and the clincher, "My sister used to work at a grocery store and told me that sometimes employees will find refrigerated goods throughout the store and just put them back - you never know if a product was left out of the refrigerated aisle..."
Sigh. Maybe it's time to go vegetarian again? Heh!