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Ground Beef Smells Like Citrus: How To Tell If Your Ground Beef Has Gone Bad?

Ground beef is a staple in many recipes.

If you want to make some of the best burgers or tacos but the ground beef ends up with a sour smell like citrus, it might be a disappointment.

To get rid of this flavor in your ground beef the next time you want to cook up something delicious from this ingredient, read on our post and you can find yourself a favorite solution among several methods we mentioned below.

Why does my ground beef smell like citrus?

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Have you ever noticed that your ground beef smells like citrus?

If yes, you are not alone as a lot of people have complained about this situation in their raw or cooked ground beef.

So here are some potential causes for the sour smell or flavor in your ground beef:

Spoiled beef that has been expired

If raw ground beef has a sour smell, chances are your meat has been spoiled.

In this case, also check the expiration date printed on the label of the package.

If you haven’t stored the ground beef in the freezer before and the meat has passed its expiration date and comes with a citrus-like smell or either one of the other signs like discoloration or sticky texture, it means your beef is spoiled.

The growth of spoilage bacteria can release an unpleasant sour smell and taste to your meat. 

Ground beef has been added too much acidity (lemon juice or vinegar)

The second chance for a citrus smell from your cooked ground beef is just because you use too much acidity.

Some recipes might call for acidities like orange juice, lemon juice, or vinegar to mix with ground beef and a sweetener like sugar or honey to create a balanced sweet and sour taste.

And if you add more of the sour agent than the sweet one, your cooked ground beef will end up with a sour taste rather than being balanced.

Is it safe to eat ground beef that smells like citrus?

As already mentioned, there are two main reasons that can explain the citrus smell in ground beef.

Therefore, to determine if your ground beef is safe to eat or not, it all depends on the causes of this citrus smell.

For example, if the beef is spoiled, this means eating this kind of ground beef will pose a risk to your health with a certain disease or foodborne illness.

In the other situation where the citrus smell just comes from the meat that you have just seasoned with too much acidity, it is safe to consume indeed.

How to get rid of the citrus flavor from ground beef?

The flavor of citrus can be off-putting for anyone who isn’t expecting it in their ground beef.

So how can we get rid of it and take it away to make sure that the ground meat is always delicious as you desire without any weird smell:

Look for a reputable store and brand to buy fresh ground beef

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To never have ground beef that smells like citrus, you better buy high-quality beef from the beginning.

Look for the best package of ground beef from a reputable store or brand although it might be a little pricier, the result is worth the price.

Store ground beef in the freezer if you haven’t used it yet

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Another way to make sure that you will never have to deal with the citrus smell in your ground beef is to store it properly.

It is best to use the fresh ground beef right after you bring it home.

However, if you don’t have time for shopping regularly and have a habit of storing foods for long-term use, you should keep your ground beef in the freezer.

This can ensure the freshness and deliciousness of your ground beef in the long term even when the package says that the meat has been expired for days.

Discard the beef if it is spoiled

When things seem to be worse than you thought, like the citrus smell is quite pungent and there are also other visible signs of spoilage on the meat, it’s time to discard it.

Consuming spoiled ground beef can make you sick or even get you into the hospital.

Use a sweetener to neutralize the sour flavor in cooked ground beef

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If the sour taste comes from the acidity that you accidentally use too much more than what the recipe calls for, it is quite easy to fix it.

Just use any kind of sweeteners like sugar or honey to balance the citrus flavor and make your dish more balanced.

The bottom line

We have got you covered with a list of our easy-to-do methods to take the citrus smell from your ground beef.

With the aforementioned solutions, you will never end up with a disappointing dish from ground beef.

Hopefully, you find this article helpful.

If so, please share it on social media so that your friends and family will know how to get rid of ground beef that smells like citrus.

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