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chicken on counter overnight?

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hey guys - I'm a moron. I took two boneless chicken thighs out of the freezer last night, tossed them on the counter and forgot about them until this morning.

they would have been out for 8 hours, defrosting time included.. Do you think they'd be okay to eat?

I can't even give them a smell test because I rubbed them down with Jerk seasoning before I froze them,

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  1. Pitch 'em!

    1. I agree - just toss them. Chicken is pretty cheap in general and though highly flavorful, thighs are pretty low in the $$$ department. Stop by the store on your way home and grab more.

      1. If I telll you what I would do and you get sick, then that wouldn't be a good thing, would it? So I will say only that disease-causing things have to be present (#1) and if they are then would have to not be killed in cooking which I assume would be done to a high enough degree of heat since few of us eat rare chicken. But I don't know your medical history so I won't tell you what I'd do :(

        3 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          I think you're getting into too many variables here for something as cheap and as replaceable as a couple of chicken thighs. We're not talking about a Thanksgiving turkey or a Christmas Roast Beast... it's just not worth the risk for the $1.25 (or less) that the things cost.

          1. re: SQHD

            In order to decide whether the cost is worth the risk, you have to quantify the risk. The chicken started out frozen, so it took quite a while to get above 40F. It was presumably clean to start with. And it's going to be fully cooked, which will kill any bacteria present. So the risk posed by this chicken is pretty much nonexistent.

            Of course there are those who believe that even a tiny risk of food poisoning justifies wasting food. And they'll tell you about it at great length as they eat their salad (which poses a far greater threat than the chicken that sat out overnight).

            1. re: alanbarnes

              cooking the chicken through should kill whatever might be lurking. i think people are overly nervous about this sort of thing. truly.

        2. toss it

          1. If it started frozen, and was in a sealed container, I'd still eat it. if it was left out on a plate, or was already kinda thawed, I'd toss.

            2 Replies
            1. re: turkishlamb

              Funny... when I first started cooking and asked my mom how long it takes to defrost a chicken she said "I just leave it out overnight and then put it in the fridge in the morning". Though I don't use this technique myself, I've never gotten sick from her food. Oh, and she's a doctor. However, note that she does this for a whole chicken that starts off frozen- might be different for the thighs... and with chicken I think the general rule is when in doubt, toss it.

              1. re: danielle

                I do this all the time. Have NEVER had a problem. In the morning, I put it in the fridge. The chicken is still cold, but thawed and ready to cook.

            2. I am assuming it is not 90 degrees in your kitchen Bex714, right? In that case, dont worry. If it were my kitchen, it would likely still be somewhat frozen.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cassoulady

                Agreed. I do it all the time. No problems whatsoever.

              2. Hmmmmm........
                I left stuff defrost on the counter all the time. I prefer to defrost in cold water (it just seems a kinder, gentler way-not to mention faster) but I don't know about the 8 hours. It's usually much less. Have we just been incredibly lucky so far?

                1. Unless you are making chicken sashimi, go ahead and eat it.

                  1. Depends on where you're living and your current ambient temperature.

                    I always get my meat & poultry out of the freezer last thing at night and leave it to defrost overnight. it goes in the fridge in the morning and gets cooked in the evening. never had a problem and don't expect to ever have a problem.

                    1. This is a regular occurrence for me, I'd cook it and eat it. You'll be fine.

                      1. If cooking meat or chicken that has been sitting in the danger zone for hours killed the bacteria that causes food poisoning then why refrigerate at all?

                        Truth is that cooking does not kill heat resistant spores that bacteria throw off while food is sitting in the danger zone.

                        IMO you shouldn't even consider eating it.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          I refrigerate uncooked meat and poultry to slow rotting. But I live in a "magic house" and have different standards than some :)

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            As far as I'm aware, the only pathogenic bacterium that produces heat-resistant spores is Bacillus cereus. And its spores are typically found on things like uncooked rice, pasta, and potatoes.

                            Sorry, gotta go put the spaghetti in the freezer. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

                          2. Just out of curiousity, if folk don't defrost on the counter overnight then how do they defrost?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Harters

                              in the refrigerator. Takes longer. My mother always defrosted stuff on the kitchen counter (under a dish cloth; I guess that was to keep the germs out :) We never got sick.). I don't follow her model mostly because why else did God give us the microwave oven? Really though I'm mostly organized enough that I just use the refrigerator.

                              1. re: DGresh

                                If i defrost on counter, the frozen item is in the bowl of my stand mixer bc otherwise the dogs will eat it. Otherewise, i put in fridge.

                            2. thanks for all the responses! I cooked it, but there was some part of me that just would not let myself enjoy it - I had three bites, then tossed it out. :(

                              it tasted alright, but that could have been the jerk seasoning. I heard somewhere that that is one of the reasons that places with hotter temps have spicer cuisines - to cover the taste of rotting meat. that's putting it in the most simple terms - but it makes sense...

                              has anyone else heard that?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Bex714

                                Yes, I heard that about the hotter temps/rotting meat. Don't know if it's true.

                                But, I would have ate the chicken. 8 hours isn't that long unless it's really hot out. We leave frozen things out on the counter all the time when we go to work to cook when we get home. My mother always defrosted things like this (pre-microwave era) and we never had any problems.

                                1. re: Bex714

                                  "has anyone else heard that?"

                                  An urban myth that's been doing the rounds for 30 years or more. Sometimes attached to medieval cookery, more often attached to countries with hot climates. Put it like this. If you had some rotting meat at home, would you add a lot of spice and then eat it?

                                  No? And nor would anyone else.

                                  Some hotter countries tend to have spicier cuisines simply because that's where the spices are grown. Simple explanations are usually the best, I think. But this myth does tend to foster certain attitudes towards folk who come from countries with hotter climates, don't you think?