How long does cooked meat keep in the fridge?

A few weeks ago, I cooked myself a joint of beef. Medium done. It turned out to be rather larger than expected and I finally finished it 6 days later. But on days 5 and 6 I was getting increasingly worried about the safety of eating the meat. It looked fine, smelled fine, and tasted fine. So, for how long is meat actually safe in a fridge? This is especially important as I intend cooking myself beef tomorrow.

I usually buy sliced meat at a deli for lunch sandwiches and it goes a full week with no problems.

If it’s kept in the fridge the entire time, it’ll be fine for a long time. As long as it looks & smells OK, it’s probably safe for up to a week or ten days. Probably longer.

On the other hand, if you’re taking it in and out, allowing it to get warm then putting it back in, you’re taking a risk. I wouldn’t go more than a couple days in that scenario, and the people who really know about food safety would probably not let it go that long.

The USDA recommends that cooked meat be kept no longer than 4 days. The USDA tends to be conservative about such things, though, and even they acknowledge that their recommended times are “short but safe time limits.”

Look, smell and taste provide no hint of salmonella or other nasties. Anything from the fridge usually gets heated until it’s blistering hot. Meat, not so much. But after about five days, it goes in the dumper.