Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 24, 2009 11:14 AM

meat on counter question

I filled my slowcooker with short ribs this morning before I left for work. I asked my husband to set it to cook before he left about 1 hour later.

Guess what, he forgot.

So, the meat has been sitting on the counter in the slowcooker for 5 hours now.

I think I know the answer to this.

But, is there any saving this meal?

Do I need to toss the whole thing???

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Will you die? No.

    Will you get sick? Probably not.

    Is it worth it? Up to you.

    Next time buy yourself a plug in timer like the ones used for lights when you go on vacation. These work wonderfully for crock pots when you don't want them on for extended periods of time.

    1. I'd eat it.

      I'm (and everyone else in the house) healthy and have good immune systems.
      It was covered and, in these cases,I always think about the olden days without refrigeration.

      You'll get tons of time/temp responses though.

      2 Replies
      1. re: alwayscooking

        I agree. There's not any significant rotting or putrefaction going on at this point. The final dish will probably be fine. I wouldn't save it for later though, it's tonight or nothing.

        1. re: alwayscooking

          I'd eat it, but that's because it's cold here and we have stone countertops. I might not eat it if my house had been really warm that day- like if this happened in the summer in our un-airconditioned kitchen.

        2. Meat doesn't have to be "rotting" or "putrified" to make you really sick.

          If it's held between 40-140 for 2 or 3 hours, it's suspect. More than that and it's dicey.

          If the meat was COLD when you put it in and it was kept covered, I might eat it. It's on the edge of yes and no for me. If it wasn't cold when placed in the slow cooker, I wouldnt eat it.

          But DO NOT cook it in the slow cooker. It needs to be brought up and out of the danger zone as soon as possible. Sear it, put it in a closed pot with liquid and braise it at 300-325 till it's done.

          Yeah, you probably won't die from food poisoning, but your first bout with it probably make you feel, as I do, that it's just not worth the chance.

          1 Reply
          1. re: C. Hamster

            i concur with c.hamster. while i'm not sure i would take the risk to cook it after it sat out for that many hours, i definitely would get it out of the danger zone as quickly as possible, and the slow cooker will not do that.

          2. It will be fine. Just slow cook it when you get home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              Slow cooking it will be a recipe for food poisoning, IMO. A slow cooker takes it's sweet time getting the meat up to a very low cooking temp. That's more hours in the unsafe temp zone. Slow cooking is exactly the opposite of what needs to be done to save it, safety-wise.

            2. I'm glad it's not just me. I posted a similar question around Christmas time about a pot of roux and chicken broth I accidentally left out overnight in order to finish off for gumbo the next day. After getting a ton of responses from here, I went ahead with and everyone was fine. I think we might over-react a little bit in the US. Restaurants might need to be a little more careful and diligent, but you'll be fine. Just cook it when you get home.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JennyHunter

                Well, I am one of the people who told you not to use it, and I will repeat that statement here. If you are unsure of something, like meat that has been left in ambient indoor temperature all day, do not use it. Food poisoning is not something to roll the dice with. And like C. Hamster said, once you've had, you'll understand. Making yourself sick or worse yet your whole family and/or guests isn't worth saving $10, $20 or any amount of money. Food poisoning does happen - and it's not pretty.