How long deli (lunch) meat is good for depends on deli meat types, their state of use, and how you store them. The shelf life of smoked deli meat is quite similar to pre-cooked deli meat. However, things are different with cured deli meat. More on this subject will be explained in this Meat Abolition Product post. So, keep reading for the right answer to the question of how long deli meats are good for.
How Long Can Smoked and Pre-Cooked Deli Meats Last?
How long smoked and pre-cooked deli meats can last depends on several factors including:
If It is Factory-Packaged
There is the option of buying factory-packaged deli meat. If they remain intact (unopened) in their package and well refrigerated in the fridge, they can remain good up till their expiry date on their label. The temperature of the refrigerator should not be higher than 40 degrees Celsius to keep your packaged deli meat as fresh as possible.
Smoked and pre-cooked deli meat is bound to lose some of its quality with time when they are opened. So, it is best to use them as soon as possible. By and large, make sure to use the lunch meat no longer than 7 – 10 days. Do not keep your deli meat unused any longer than this.
If You Buy it Freshly Sliced or Cut
It should remain good for about 5 days if you bought freshly sliced cuts. So, the chances of eating bad lunch meat are there if it is past 5 days. It may even be safe to use it up within three days.
How Long Can Cured Deli Meats Last?
How long cured deli meats can last depends on factors including:
The Type of Deli Meat
Unlike the other kinds, some cured deli meats do not even require that you freeze them in the freezer or even keep them in the refrigerator. They have an incredible shelf life that allows them to remain intact for a long time (several weeks or even months).
You should make inquiries to be sure that you have such lunch meats. By and large, the most logical way to tell how long it can last is to go by the expiry date on its label.
There is also the option of buying unpackaged lunch meat. You should ask the seller for information on how long it can stay good.
General Rules for Properly Storing Your Deli Meat
Regardless of the kind that you get, some of the general rules for proper storage include:
Not Buying More Than You Can Use in a Short While
Do not go overboard by buying more than you can use (eat) within a short time. This will help decrease the chances of your deli meat going bad.
Have Storage Equipment
You should have storage equipment like your freezer (to keep it cold and frozen), refrigerator (to thaw it properly while keeping it cold), food-grade nylon wrap, and zip-lock air-tight bag.
Do Not Keep the Meat at Unsafe Room Temperature for a Long Period
This rule does not only apply to deli meat but all other meats as well. This is also important even if you plan to refreeze the meat. The meat should not stay unused at room temperature exceeding 40 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than 2 hours. It is 1 hour if the room temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Is Deli Meat Raw?
Deli meat is not raw meat. It could be cured, pre-cooked, or smoked. Whether cured, smoked, or pre-cooked; it could be made using various types of red meat or white meat like beef, turkey, ham, and chicken.