Why Does Ground Turkey Smell Like a Wet Dog?

Meat is best served fresh. Nobody wants to become sick from spoiled meat. However, it’s tough to determine whether the meat is bad when it’s ground up. Individuals frequently complain about the unpleasant smell of ground turkey. But, what circumstances contribute to ground turkey smelling like a wet dog?

The most obvious explanation for the odor is that the ground meat has gone bad. A rotten chunk of meat will always produce an unpleasant smell. However, if the meat has not spoiled, there could be another possibility. It is possible that it was vacuum-packed.

There is a lot that you need to understand about this issue. That is why we have outlined why the ground turkey smells like wet dog and the possible solutions in this article. Thus, ensure you go through this article keenly for a deeper understanding.

Why does ground turkey smell like wet dog?

ground turkey smells like wet dog

It’s believed that ground turkey has no smell. So, you have to get concerned if your ground turkey smells rotten. The ‘wet dog smell’ is a blend of several smells. One of the smells you will get is sulfur. The odor is similar to rotting eggs.

 There are two basic reasons why ground turkey smells like this. First, if the meat was vacuum-packed, you’ll have to ventilate it as all vacuum-sealed meat initially smells terrible. For instance, the vacuum-packed ground turkey will smell bad shortly after opening due to the lack of oxygen in the package.

Anaerobic conditions cause the meat’s fluids to break down. Thus, on opening the package, you receive a strong smell. You may eliminate the vacuum-sealed turkey odor by following the simple steps we will cover later in this article. If the scent of ground turkey is very strong and foul, it may signal that the flesh has gone bad.

How to determine whether ground turkey meat is spoiled or not

How to determine whether ground turkey meat is spoiled or not

When dealing with ground meat, determining whether your meat is spoiled or not might be a little challenging. However, it is still possible. One needs to confirm three basic facts about ground turkey meat.

These three things include;

  • Examine the package

If you purchased your ground meat from a butcher’s shop, you are sure of what you bought, and thus, no need to bother with the package.  However, if the meat is vacuum-packed, you should inspect the packaging. For instance, if the package contained air or looked like an air-filled balloon when opening,   then do not even consider eating the meat. This is because the meat, my buddy, is spoiled.

The point here is that the vacuum-packed packaging should be pressed on the meat. There should be no air present within. If air is allowed to enter, the bacteria will proliferate, and the meat will eventually spoil.

  • Check the ground turkey’s expiry date

Even though the meat’s packaging is appropriate, the meat may occasionally spoil before the use-by-date. It indicates the maximum amount of time that the meat can be consumed safely. If the date has passed, don’t even wait or think of opening the package! Instead, discard the meat.

  • Determine the color of turkey meat

If your ground meat is still within the expiration date, you now need to check the meat’s quality. Thus, it is essential to check the turkey meat’s color after removing it from the package. A quality ground turkey meat will have a light pink color. However, it may have gone bad if the meat has a deeper color. Even though the discoloration appears as spots on various areas of the meat, you need to discard the entire portion.

To be certain, you need to feel your meat’s texture. Ground turkey will feel moist to the touch. It may as well have a juicy and wet texture. However, if the ground turkey is sticky and slimy, one must halt further evaluation. These qualities are a dead giveaway that the meat has spoiled.

Finally, if the meat has passed through all of the checks, you may be certain it is still safe. The odor is primarily due to the vacuum wrapping.

How to get rid of the unpleasant ground turkey smell

How to get rid of the unpleasant ground turkey smell

It’s effortless to eliminate the wet dog odor from vacuum-packed ground turkey. This is possible by following the steps below;

1. Allow ground meat to ventilate

To begin, allow the meat to air out at room temperature. Wait for around 30 minutes to accomplish the air out process. This procedure will undoubtedly eliminate at least 40% to 50% of the odor. Additionally, a minor discoloration may be visible. This is because the meat eventually absorbs oxygen; hence no reason to get worried.

2. Carefully rinse the ground meat

After you’ve completed the air-drying process, it’s time to rinse the meat. If you’re unaware, rinsing can also be used to soften tough corned meat. For the rinsing, you’ll need a metal strainer. Strain the ground turkey. Then, at least 2-3 times, run fresh tap water over the meat.

Surplus fat and blood (if any) will be washed out during this procedure. As a consequence, the odor will gradually disappear as well.

3. Allow the ground meat to dry and rest

After rinsing, immediately dry the meat. It is critical to dry ground beef as cooking with wet meat can spoil your recipe. In that regard, gather some paper towels and spread them over the meat. Gently press the meat with the towel. This facilitates the absorption of the water.

Following that, allow some 30 minutes before beginning the cooking process. The ground meat will regain its natural flavor and color within this period. However, between 10% and 20% of the time, the ground turkey will continue to smell unpleasant. Therefore, if this applies to you, you must discard it since it is almost sure that the meat has gone bad.

Once the scent has subsided, you can now prepare the ground turkey. Additionally, raw meat can be stored if necessary. Ensure that you are using high-quality vacuum sealing bags this time round. Otherwise, there is an excellent risk of spoilage occurring while refrigerating the ground meat.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What should one do if the ground turkey smells sour on cooking?

There is just one option at this point – to immediately cease cooking and dump the meat because the ground turkey flesh has spoiled. Additionally, it would be best to refrain from consuming that spoiled meat.


In summary, we have discussed why the ground turkey meat smells like wet dog, how to determine whether the meat has gone bad and how to eliminate the ‘dog odor smell’ from the ground turkey. Remember that the ground turkey contains a high concentration of bacteria. As a result, it spoils quickly and emits an unpleasant odor.

Finally, I hope you have determined the reasons behind the unpleasant smell in your ground turkey meat. As we have seen above, often, this smell would mean spoilage of the meat. Hence, you only have to throw away the meat.