Pork Smells Like Sulfur: Is The Meat Bad?

January 24, 2023

Did a sulfur-like smell greet you immediately after you unpacked your pork? From personal experience, I can say that the cause of the rotten eggs smell may be due to a few reasons.

First, I’ve found that the storage and packaging of the meat may contribute to the bad pork smell. The meat’s packaging is usually more responsible for any odors than the meat itself. Next, due to the stench that some pigs produce, called “boar taint,” your pork may also smell sulfurous.

Today, I’ll discuss why your pork smells like sulfur in greater detail. I’ll also outline how I remove this foul smell from my pork slabs and how to prevent this egg-like odor in the future.

pork smells like sulfur

Why Pork Smells Like Eggs?

There are three main reasons your pork smells like rotten eggs. The smell could be because of the meat’s storage, boar taint, or vacuum packaging. Here are these reasons in depth.

1. Storage

If meat is not properly stored, it can smell bad. For instance, storing pork in the refrigerator for too long can make it decay more quickly because of the fridge’s higher temperature and cause a rotten egg smell. 

So, if you are not cooking the pork right away, store it in the freezer to prevent it from gathering odors and accelerating the decaying process.

2. Boar Taint

Boar taint makes the pork smells like eggs. This odor is due to androstenone, a substance only present in male pigs.

Androstenone is a hormone produced in the pig’s testes and can cause your pork to smell if the boar is not castrated once it hits puberty. 

So, when you grill your hog, it will inevitably have this unpleasant rotten egg odor if the meat comes from non castrated male pigs. 

3. Vacuum Packaging

Vacuum packed pork can also give off a sulfur-like smell.  This is mainly because of the cryovac preservation technique.

Cryovac packaging is a common method for preserving commercial cuts of pork. The vacuum pack is totally emptied of oxygen, which results in a vacuum that seals in the meat.

Unfortunately, this form of storage can lead to gas buildup, causing a rotten egg odor when opening vacuum packed pork. Remember, the rotten egg smell from the pork doesn’t indicate that the meat is bad. So, you can still cook it like you normally would.

Vacuum Packed Pork Meat

How to Get Rid of The Sulfur Smell?

Rinsing the pork can be a good place to start if you want to get rid of any unpleasant egg odor. However, pay close attention because the meat might have also gone bad. So, ensure that you check for spoilage as soon as you notice a weird smell coming from your pork.

Check the texture and color of the meat as well to ensure it is not spoiled. Once you’re certain that the cause of the awful smell isn’t spoilage, you can proceed with the following steps: however, remember that if the smell persists after these steps, the meat is bad.

Step 1: Take the pork out of the package and air it for half an hour. Airing the meat should be enough to remove the odor, but if it doesn’t, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Rinse the meat under cold, running water. If rinsing doesn’t remove the odor, then you should soak the meat in a saltwater solution for about an hour to kill any germs causing the scent. 

Step 3: After rinsing or soaking the meat, pat it dry with a paper towel and let it rest at room temperature for roughly half an hour.

These three steps should remove any unpleasant smell from your meat, so you can start cooking process right away.

How to Prevent Pork From Smelling Like Sulfur?

Buy your pork fresh and cook it within a few days to avoid the sulfuric odor of cryovac pork. The less time your pork spends on a store shelf or refrigerator, the less intense the smell.

On the other hand, boar taint can be noticeable in fresh meat. So, I recommend buying pork from a butcher who can ensure the pig was neutered prior to its slaughter.

Note that you can safely eat the meat with boar taint regardless of its smell. Just make sure you practice the steps I discussed earlier to remove any smells. 

How to Identify Bad Pork?

There are a few effective ways to tell if your pork is rotten. I’ll highlight the four major ways to identify spoiled pork.

1. Smell

Boar taint can give off a rotten egg odor, but spoiled pork has a stronger foul stench. The smell of rotten meat is overpowering and frankly, awful. If the smell is very bad, you should return it to the store or throw it out.

2. Texture

You can also touch the pork to determine whether it is rotten. Pork should have a firm texture and bounce back when you press it.

You should be suspicious of the meat if it is excessively mushy or tough when you touch it. Also, pay attention to any sliminess. Slimy or sticky meat is another sign that you shouldn’t eat it.

3. Color

The meat color is a great indicator of whether it is good or not. Fresh pork should be pinkish with some white strands.

Pork that is starting to take on a brownish hue shows the meat is old and getting bad. Also, if the meat has gray or green coloring, you should toss it because it is already rotten.

4. Presence of Mold

Mold is bad news. The presence of mold is a surefire sign that you should throw the pork away. Even if you can wash-off the mold, I still don’t recommend cooking the pork.

Variety of Raw Pork Meat Cuts

Should Raw Pork Smell?

Raw pork should have a subtle bloody smell. You should also be able to pick up the smell of pig fat. As earlier discussed, vacuum-packed meat may have a faint sulfur or egg scent. If the smell is overpowering, refer to the steps I outlined to remove the smell. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Long Can I Keep Ground Pork in the Refrigerator?

Pork can stay in the refrigerator for one to two days at a temperature of 40 °F. If you can’t use the meat by then, you can freeze it, but as soon as you remove it from the freezer, cook it right away.

2. What is the Odor of Spoiled Pork?

You can tell if pork has gone bad by its acidic, ammonia-like scent. Remember to inspect the raw meat properly when buying it at the butcher shop. You can tell the meat is fresh and suitable for consumption if it is pink in color.

3. What Happens When You Eat Spoiled Pork?

Eating bad pork will expose you to food poisoning. You may experience diarrhea, a loss of appetite, vomiting, and stomach cramps. In addition, you may discover the symptoms within the first two days, and they may last for up to a week.


It’s crucial to know why your pork meat smells the way it does. The meat may smell like sulfur or rotten eggs because of the storage, packaging, or boar taint. Furthermore, the smell could be because the meat is going bad.

So, remember all the steps I outlined to check if your pork is going bad. If it is, don’t take any chances and throw them out right away.

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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