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So I Just Bought a Supermarket Roasted Chicken & don't want to eat it for 2 - 3 Hours...

Lazy, I admit it, but our local supermarket's roast chickens are pretty good. It's all warmed up & ready to eat, but we're not. Do I leave it on the counter and what would be the absolutely longest time it could sit without fearing food poisoning? Will reheat before serbing. Or do I stick it warm into the fridge, barely cool it down, then pull it back out to reheat?

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  1. Funny enough, I also had a store bought roasted chicken for dinner. Don't put it in the fridge. I find the meat dries out and toughens when it cools. I would think that you could leave it out for at least 3 hours as long as it is covered. When you are ready to eat it, try a piece. You might find that it's moist enough and the right temperature for dinner. I ate my portion earlier and the rest has been sitting on the counter waiting for my boyfriend to get home from work..

    2 Replies
    1. re: dealop

      No, no, no. You need to keep food above 140 degrees or below 40 degrees. If you leave it out to cool, it needs to go in the fridge within the hour. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap (if you want to nuke it to reheat it) or in foil (if you are going the over route). Unwrap the bird and cover the whole pan when you go to reheat it. Try putting some chicken broth, or even water, in the bottom of the pan to keep it most. Heat it on low. As much as I understand dealop's aversion to tough chicken, I am more averse to food borne illness. Just my opinion...

      1. re: RGC1982

        I wonder if you could just put it in a low oven & hold it - if it would totally dry out or?? Would the plastic container melt?? Doesn't seem to in the warm case at the store... Do you think they keep it at 140 or above?

    2. My father will eat pizza that has been sitting out for 7 days at room temperature. It sits in the box on top of the refridgerator. No problem if it's dry or moldy.

      But I think the conventional wisdom is up to 2 hours in the danger zone
      (40 to 140 degrees F) then you refrigerate or eat it.
      Between 2 and 4 hours it's still safe to eat.
      More than 4 hours and then you throw it out.
      Don't forget to account for the time it takes to get the chicken home from the store too.
      You can reheat food (to 165F) up until that 4 hour limit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Romanmk

        I, too, have been known to leave delivery pizza out on the counter overnight and eat as is. I don't like it fridge cold, and reheating only works well in a toaster oven. Sometimes not even then. Room temp is just right. Of course, my scientist boyfriend of six years broke me of that habit a long time ago. He is completely paranoid about foodborne illness (having seen disgusting things first hand) and won't allow food to sit on the counter.

      2. Depends on how it was prepared and handled. For example, in California, Chinese-style roast ducks have a specific exemption from the food safety code allowing them to stay at room temperature for four hours after cooking. And, in practice, we leave them out longer than that.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Exactly what I was thinking. If I brought that chicken home, I would have thought about the hanging duck and left it out, full well knowing that I'm breaking some rule and that I may get food poisoning :-) Strangely, I would not do that with almost anything else though!

        2. Man, we're uptight in America. Food-bourne illness in a cooked chicken? Even going by the strict guidelines above, do you think the chicken's temperature would drop to 40 that quickly in a fridge? Just today, I had a conversation with someone worried about refridgerating a salami sandwich! Salami is a preserved meat for crying out loud. Once the chicken has been cooked, the food-bourne bacteria is killed. It really would take a long time for the chicken to break down enough and begin to harbor bacteria that could make us sick.

          2 Replies
          1. re: markethej

            got sick as as dog once from chicken, so now i'm VERY careful about eating it.

            i do love the store-roasted chickens. if we don't eat it right away, it goes straight to the fridge. when i want to heat it up, just cut off a few pieces and warm them in the microwave. tastes just fine.

            best way to re-heat leftover pizza? a few minutes under the broiler. crust gets a bit crispy, cheese melts w/o getting soggy.

            1. re: msbadkittie

              I'm sorry you got sick but I would think it is because it wasn't properly cooked rather than it rested too long after coming out of the oven.