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Crockpot, unplugged

So, one hour into cooking my beef stew in the crockpot (on low) I unplugged it accidentially. I realized it an hour and fifteen minutes later - took the temp of the liquid (138 degrees) and plugged it back in and put it on high. (Rationalizing that it hadn' t been under 140 for very long -- certainly not the 2 hours that most guides say. )

However, considering I did not test the meat itself, and doubt it was fully done after an hour, what do you guys think? I ended up chucking it, but I am a real germaphobe and I am just wondering what most people would have done.

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  1. Was the beef already browned and mostly cooked before you added it? If so, I wouldn't have worried about it unless it was a really hot day. HOWEVER, having said that, I sort of take more risks with food than others do. It was probably OK.

    1. Considering that some people eat raw beef and the pot wasn't unplugged long enough, what a waste

      1. Since you admit to being ultra-cautious, why even bother second-guessing yourself? It's a virtual certainty that the stew would have been fine, but you wouldn't have eaten it anyway.

        1 Reply
        1. re: greygarious

          Agreed. But, as I didn't grow up in a cooking household, I was just curious what "normal" food-interested people would have done. When it comes to food safety issues, there seems to be the "germs are scary and food is a potential health hazard" group, and the "if it doesn't smell too bad it isn't likely to hurt you" camp. I'd like to not have a knee-jerk reaction to these things, which is why I was asking.

        2. If you're really worried and willing to patiently determine if a food is OK you can try this:

          3 Replies
          1. re: blue room

            I always thought the universal edibility test was to feed some to your neighbor and wait to see what happens.

            1. re: John E.

              I know that if you have a pot or container that won't come clean you can put food in it and give it to a neighbor. When it comes back it will be spotless.

              1. re: John E.

                LOL!!!! John E. I've been guilty of that.

            2. It was probably fine, I would have rolled with it. Like you said, it wasn't sitting out for hours. However I tend to toe the line with FDA's ridiculously strict guidelines, e.g. you won't die if you leave eggs at room temp., etc.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mels

                I remember being flabbergasted when I studied abroad in the UK and discovered they don't refrigerate eggs in the grocery store there. They just sat there on a normal shelf! Of course, my college roommate studied abroad in the Bolivian countryside and she had a dead chicken hanging from the ceiling over her cot that got eaten bit by bit over several days, so it's all relative.

              2. I would have kept it.

                When you took the temperature the stew was at 138F (after 75 minutes) so obviously it was much warmer than that. Also, food safety guidelines are being updated where the hot end is now 135F instead of 140F. So hot food must be kept hot (135F).

                In other words, the liquid was hot enough to discourage bacterial growth and you resumed cooking when you found your error.

                1 Reply
                1. My guess is that there's no '5 second rule' in your house?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: John E.

                    LOL - At least 5 -- I am most picky about meat-related stuff. I've seen too many documentaries, I think.

                  2. Huh? So it was cooked up to a temperature considered safe, and then held at this temp for over an hour.

                    This is very extreme, it would have passed any standards for food safety.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jaykayen

                      Being a crockpot, I am not sure what temperature it was held at. . . and for how long. That was the problem. And the whole 2 hour rule applies to cooked food only, not food that was not completely cooked. So, it is a little more nuanced than what you are allowing. But, I obviously I questioned myself or I wouldn't have bothered boring everyone with the story!