Pork Smells Like Sulfur

Pork Smells Like Sulfur: 3 Reasons Why It’s Not Necessarily Spoiled

Few days back, I came across an interesting fact regarding pork meat nutrition.

The research paper from ScienceDirect.com says that pork muscles have usually higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids as compared to beef and lamb.

The amount of linoleic acid is also higher in pork in comparison to lamb meat and beef. 

Why I am telling you about this research data is because today we are discussing about the factors that affect the smell of the pork meat.

Whether you’re just getting your feet wet with grilling or are a grilling aficionado, you probably already know about the assortment of pork meats available for BBQ, especially pork cuts of shoulder, and baby back ribs.

But have you ever noticed that pork smells like sulfur when you buy it from the grocery store, and wondered if it’s rotten or good for the grill?

If you are looking for the short answer for sulfur like smell of the pork meat then the answer is “Yes”.

Sometimes the pork meat you buy from the grocery store, may smell like sulfur due to an enhancement in the boar taint.

And this boar taint is caused due to the accumulation of two chemicals known as, androstenone and skatole.

These two chemicals are profoundly found in the pig fat.

If you want to know the detailed explanation behind the main cause of sulfur like smell of your pork meat then I highly recommend you to read this article till the end.

Most Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Pork Smells Like Sulfur

How to Tell the Difference Between Rotten and Good Pork Meat?

Pork is a great source of protein, and can be used to cook up several different food items when stored and prepared properly.

But when you want to make sure that the pork meat you bought is not gone bad due to its sulfuric smell, you will have to perform few tasks about pork meat which are as follows.

No. 1: Check Freshness and Color of the Meat

Premium quality pork which you cut fresh at home or buy from your local butcher or store should have no smell of any type.

Its color should be pinkish and not too much red or black.

No. 2: Check Moisture Level and Texture of The Meat

The pork meat which you buy from your local store can have moisture in it.

In several cases, the meat is semi-moist due to lack of water.

But when it comes to the texture of the pork, it must not be slimy in nature.

No. 3: Avoid if It Smells Like Rotten Eggs

In most cases, if the pork meat starts smelling like rotten eggs, it most probably is gone bad or not good for cooking.

Having a foul smell of rotten eggs is likely the sign of meat gone bad or not good for consumption.

No. 4: Refrigerate the Meat When Not in Use

Cooked pork can stay fresh in your refrigerator for three to five days.

Therefore, if you have extra cooked pork after your meal is over, its best to store in your freezer or refrigerator for 2-3 days.

However, make sure to finish it within 2-3 days after you put it in your fridge.

No. 5: Get Rid of Pork if It Smells like Sulfur

When you experience sulfur or rotten eggs like smell with your cooked pork or un-cooked pork, its time to get rid of this meat as soon as possible.

In this case, there could be visible mold growth on your pork.

This is the time, you should throw it out of your kitchen without any second thought. The best thing to do in this case is to dispose the cooked pork meat immediately.

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Has Pork Meat Gone Bad if it Smells Like Sulfur?

The answer is “Yes” and “No” both.

In reality, even though the smell of the pork meat in most cases tells it all, the sulfur smell could be caused by several other reasons.

Pork typically goes bad when bacteria from the body infiltrates the meat.

When this happens, it tends to cause immense chemical and structural changes to the meat.

Therefore, as the meat begins to initially spoil, the pinkish color of the meat starts to change first before its smell is altered.

Usually as the pork meat starts to spoil in nature, its pink color starts to change into brownish to grey-ish, and sometimes greenish.

Next, you can use your tactile senses to determine if the pork meat is indeed bad.

Because the fresh meat feels really firm in the hand while bad meat tends to feel slimy and soft to your touch.

Touch the meat to see if it’s slimy, and keep an eye out for excessive moisture.

If you see the pork meat is very slimy and has excessive moisture in it, then you may consider that it has started to go bad.

Therefore, having sulfur like smell is not the only sign that it has gone bad.

Smell and touch are other two methods by which you can tell if the pork has gone bad or not.

Boar Taint – Primary Reason for Pork Smelling Like Sulfur

If your pork smells like sulfur, but it’s still fresh in both color and feel, then in most cases it is not bad after all.

That said, here is the main reason that causes the pork meat to smell sulfuric.

I will also provide few easy fixes to solve this smell issue later on.

Pork cuts are well-packaged on store shelves in an effort to keep them fresh and sealed from air and moisture for longer life.

Most of this air tight packaging is done by Cryovac bags. 

This brand is a leading name in the food packaging industry.

It also manufactures products such as laminates, case liners, shrink bags, and oxygen-absorbing sachets.

Cryovaced pork meat tends to stay fresh for up to 45 – 60 days which passes the store-indicated sell by date.

The Cryovac packaging is one of most common causes of the sulfur smell in the pork meat.

It also leads to a change of meat color from pinkish to a darker red color, due to lack of oxygen.

Cooked pork meat may also smell like rotten eggs or sulfur, which is caused by the cooking process itself.

This smell is further enhanced by the boar taint.

To explain briefly, boar taint is an undesired odor or taste that becomes evident during the cooking process.

This taint is caused by the accumulation of two compounds.

One is androstenone and the second compound is known as skatole in the fat of male pigs.

Boar taint may smell sulfuric, especially when you cook pork meat in a crock pot.

But the meat generally turns good, that is without any smell after you add your spices.

Boar taint doesn’t make the pork meat dangerous to eat. So, if you can bear the sulfur smell, then the meat is safe for consumption.

How to Fix Pork Sulfur Smelling Issues?

For store bought meat wrapped in Cryovac packaging, there are a few things you can do to get rid of the sulfuric smell.

  1. Start by removing the meat from the packaging, and let it sit out for approximately 10-15 minutes.

Once the meat gets exposed to oxygen (outer environment) again, the pork meat will not only return to its original fresh color, but will also be free from most of the sulfuric smell.

2. Next step is to throw out the Cryovac packaging in a bin, which should get rid of the traces of the sulfur smell.

3. Lastly, and if the sulfur smell hasn’t dissipated yet, you can rinse the pork meat thoroughly, and dry it with paper towels.

With regards to boar taint meat smelling like sulfur or rotten eggs, your best bet to avoid the smell is to buy from a known and reliable butcher.

That butcher must be the one who castrates his pigs in an effort to considerably reduce the chances of a boar taint.

How to Avoid Sulfur Smelling Pork?

The best way to avoid sulfur smelling pork is to get your meat cut fresh from your local butcher.

This will not only ensure that the pork meat doesn’t smell like sulfur, but also that it is free from E. coli and other food-borne diseases.

Buying fresh meat from your local vendor also gives you more time to work with it while you bring it home.

You can also package it in your own freezer safe containers.

With these freezer safe containers, you can easily freeze, store and use it for a longer period of time.

Click Here to Get BPA Free Microwave Freezer Safe Food Storage Containers for Pork Storage.

Final Thoughts

Store-bought pork that smells like sulfur is not always a bad thing to eat.

Because there are a few reasons that can cause the foul smell of your pork meat.

Even though your first instinct may be to chuck the meat in the trash, you should first perform a few checks before doing so.

First, check color and smell of your pork meat.

The fresh pork meat should be pinkish or grayish and moldy looking.

Next, touch the pork meat to see if it’s firm, and not moist and slimy.

If these two factors are in check, then in most cases it’s the Cryovac packaging that’s causing the sulfuric smell.

If that’s the case, then just getting rid of the Cryovac package and cleaning the meat with fresh water will solve the sulfur smell issue.








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