I've had a whole brisket (cut in half) in ziploc bags for about 20 days now, in the refrigerator, waiting to be sous vided, smoked, and then steamed. The meat is coated with a rub that includes curing salt, which I've used in the past.
When I took the beef out of the refrigerator and opened the bag, I immediately thought the smell was a little off. The meat had developed some grey patches, and it was a little slimy.
But here's the thing: the rub has a lot of sugar and salt in it, and has a very brined smell. It's normal for blood and water to leech out of the beef during the cure (in fact, that's the whole point).
So I'm really not sure if the odor and coating indicates that it went off, or if it's just normal. I have a good nose for food smells, and I'm really not sure about this.
I cut away the grey pieces and everything seems better. The beef is a deep red color underneath the surface and smells more like what I'd expect.
I've leeched it for 4 hours in water, changing the water out every 30 minutes or so, to help take out some of the salt. Now it's in the sous vide at 150 degrees for 36 hours.
I'm not sure if I'm going to eat the finished product or not. We'll see how it smells when it's done cooking. 36 hours at 150 degrees should kill just about anything, so I'm not super worried about it - and at this point it's like, why not cook it even if I end up throwing it out?
But still. Not great. Any insights, especially curing for long lengths of time?
(PS - I'm well aware of the "when in doubt, throw it out" mantra. I don't intend to eat this if I'm unsure. I'm looking for clarity and people's experiences with curing here, so I can do better next time.)