How to Tell if Pork Chops Are Bad? Simple and Effective Tips

September 22, 2023

Fresh pork chops should appear to be bright pink, moist (but not slimy), and odorless. Bad pork chops, on the other hand, would feel sticky, have a foul smell, or be past their sell date.

During my culinary school days, I learned what signs to look out for in pork chops to determine whether they’ve gone bad or not, as well as appropriate methods of storing them. While I made a few mistakes in the beginning, I eventually developed a process that allowed me to identify the freshest pork chops. 

This process has worked for me for years. Just ask the people who have enjoyed my mouth-watering pork chop recipes. Today, we’ll look at the signs of pork chops gone bad, how to choose fresh pork chop pieces, and how to store them safely. Let’s get started.

how to tell if pork chops are bad

Signs Pork Chops Are Bad

Here, I’ll discuss four signs that indicate your pork chops are bad. Remember to check for all these signs when determining your meat’s freshness. 


If the pork chops give off a foul smell, they are probably bad. Throw away the pork chops if they have an ammonia-like, fishy, or sour smell.

Spoiled pork chops begin to smell because bacteria have started to multiply rapidly, and the meat has already started to decay. 


The discoloration is another sign that the pork chops are about to spoil or have already spoiled. Cooked pork chops should appear light pink and gray. So, if you notice any green or off-colored spots, throw the cuts of meat away from the cooking process.

Remember, the fat and color of raw pork chops should both be pink, and a gray color may indicate the meat is starting to break down. 

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Slimy Texture

Fresh pork chops can feel a bit moist. Generally, when pork is delivered to your butcher, it is wrapped in cryovak packaging. This traps old juices and causes the pork loin to become coated with slimy juices unless it’s thoroughly cleaned. Spoiled pork chops, on the other hand, feel slimy and far different from the slight stickiness found on fresh chops. 

If your uncooked pork chops are sticky from storing them in the refrigerator, I advise cooking them right away rather than freezing them for cooking later. When thawed and ingested, pork chops that have just expired may cause food illness.

Keep an eye out for other signs that your raw pork chops are spoiled. Don’t just rely on the sticky texture. Also, remember that well-cooked pork chops shouldn’t be slimy.

Sell-by Date

Keep in mind that the sell-by-date will let you know for how long the pork chops can be eaten. 

It’s risky to eat pork chops that have passed their best before date. So, if the pork chops are close to their expiration date, I suggest you cook them quickly or make pulled pork and toss it in the freezer. 

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How to Identify Fresh Pork Chops?

Raw pork chops are usually a bright pinkish-red color. Additionally, the marbling appears white. I recommend that you look for an alternative cut if the color is a little pale. A pale color doesn’t mean the pork is rotten, but it does mean the pork chop isn’t as fresh as it should be.

Next, keep an eye out for dark bones. Meat with dark bones is not a good sign. Similar to how the fat is, the cut’s bone should be smooth and white or off-white. Note that dark bone isn’t always a sign of a rotten pork chop, although it’s not ideal.

Raw Pork Chops with Tomatoes and Spices

How Long Do Pork Chops Last?

Knowing how long you can keep your pork chops before they spoil is crucial, now that you are aware of all the warning signs.

Raw pork chops can be stored for three to five days in the refrigerator, while cooked pork chops can last in your fridge for about four days.

Frozen pork chops can be kept for up to 6 months, but I recommend eating them within 3 months for the best quality. Keep in mind that this is assuming no power outages or decreases in refrigerator temperature. 

What Happens If You Eat Bad Pork Chops?

Don’t eat bad pork chops! The symptoms are not worth it, trust me. Bacteria can spread, and also produce toxins. 

So, even though cooking the meat can kill some bacteria, the toxins may lead to uncomfortable symptoms

Furthermore, worm larvae that infect the meat can cause food poisoning such as trichinosis. Symptoms of trichinosis include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain

How to Store Pork Chops?

First, it’s crucial to keep raw pork separate from cooked items in storage. Ideally, smoked meat should be kept on the top shelf and raw meat on the bottom.

Try to preserve the chops in their original packaging for as long as you can. If not, wrap it in wax paper first, then in hazard-free plastic wrap. 

This will keep it from drying out and decaying too quickly. Moreover, always keep cooked pork chops in an airtight container or bag.

Remember, you can keep cooked leftover pork chops in the fridge for about three days. Even though it might last longer, I like to play it safe. Once more, your refrigerator should always be set to a low, consistent temperature of below 40 degrees.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to Avoid Eating Undercooked Pork Chops?

The easiest way to make sure your pork chops are cooked through is to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. 

After resting the meat for 3 minutes, the USDA advises cooking pork chops to an internal temperature of around 145 or 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. Do Pork Chops Spoil in the Freezer?

When it comes to freezing, pork chops can survive four to six months

Also, note that you shouldn’t freeze processed pig products, including bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and ham, for over two months.

3. How Long Do Defrosted Pork Chops Remain Edible?

Foods thawing in the fridge, at around 40 °F, are still safe to eat. Pork chops should be eaten within three to five days after thawing.

4. Why Does My Cooked Pork Smell Sour?

There are two reasons why pork could have an off smell: either you’re smelling boar taint, or you have rotten pork. Trust me, you’ll be able to tell the difference. 

The smell will be unpleasant if you’re smelling boar taint and downright nauseating if it’s spoiled pork chops.

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Grilled Pork Chops


Hopefully, you now know how to tell if pork chops are bad. Safety should always come first when deciding if your pork is good or bad. Use all your senses to investigate if the pork is still edible. Get rid of the raw pork chops if the meat looks discolored, smells rotten, or has a slimy texture. 

Remember, don’t eat bad pork chops. It’s not worth it! Years ago, I had the misfortune of eating bad pork chops because I didn’t want to waste food, and I regretted that decision for over a week. If you notice anything off about the meat cut, visit your nearby butcher and buy fresh raw pork chops.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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