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Left the Lamb in the Car!!!

My sister left the Christmas lamb in the car after she picked it up from the butcher! It was in the car for about 8 hours, wrapped in the butcher paper. The temperature outside was about 35 degrees.

What do you think? Still good?


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  1. Inasmuch as the average refrigerator top shelf temperature is only slightly below 40 degrees (with the center shelf temperatures optimally between 35 and 38 degrees) as long as the temperature inside the car was below 40 degrees I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be good. If in doubt, toss it out.

    1. Temp outside was "about 35 degrees", but what was the temp inside the car? Was the meat in the trunk? In the passenger compartment? On the floor of the car? Was the car in the sun? Was it windy or still? Lots of things could impact the temperature surrounding the meat itself.

      Too many variables, and does anyone really want to spend the holidays in the ER?

      Sad to toss the lamb, but sadder still to have a family down for the count with food poisoning when they should be celebrating.

      1. I'd keep it as long as the meat was not sitting out in the sun but then, I am known to go against the grain.

        1. dont worry about it.
          the air temp in the car in 35 deg weather is going to get pretty cool pretty fast after you get out of the car.

          1. If you cook the lamb it will probably kill the bacteria or whatever it is you're concerned about.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sushigirlie

              Like Sushigirl says, unless you plan to make lamb tartare, no problem.

            2. It'll be fine. If it was either of my local butchers, it'd have been sitting round in his unrefrigerated shop window display at a warmer temp. than that until someone bought it.

              1. I'd get the butcher's opinion. If this lamb was just for me and the husband I "might" chance it, depending on what the butcher says, but if it's going to be served to my 80+ year old mother and in-laws and to young nieces and nephews I wouldn't take the chance. I have to agree with mcsheridan on this one - toss the lamb. There's plenty of time to substitute something else.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Axalady

                  I just got off the phone with the butcher and he said to smell it. I'll know if it has gone bad. He said that it is colder outside now than it is in the shop's fridge (Harters had it right!). So, I think we are good to go.

                  By the way, I am in Northern Virginia and it was 35F yesterday. The sun was down for the majority of the time it was in the car.

                  Thanks all!

                    1. re: danagrace

                      You got lucky. I inadvertently left some ribeyes in the trunk durinf the summer. After a few days my wife began to notice a peculiar odor but couldn't figure out what it was or where it was coming from. She thought maybe a cat had crawled in and died. It took almost a week of increasing stench before she decided to look in the trunk. LO and BEHOLD! There it was. The pkg was gingerly picked up and tossed in the nearest trash barrel.

                      1. re: danagrace

                        oh yeah -- i'm in nova (arlington) and lamb would be fine in the car. it has been soooo cold! (plus our wind wind chill has been in the 20s, and i'm wondering if my physics knowledge is correct in that air circulating around a car with the lamb inside would cool the car (and lamb) faster than were the lamb in a box on the ground -- just like "bridges and ramps" freeze first due to the cold air surrounding them. query to scientists: will "wind chill" keep lamb roast colder than still air?

                      1. There are laws against leaving an unattended lamb in a car.

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: beevod

                            as long as it wasn't a wolf in sheep's clothing.

                            1. re: smartie

                              Lordy. These jokes are getting "Baaaaaad"!

                          2. 35 degrees what ? Celsius or Fahrenheit ?

                            I hope it's the second one.

                            1. Probably too late now but you could have used a meat thermometer to see how warm the lamb got.

                              1. I would not have hesitated to have eaten the lamb. Hopefully you ate it by now. How did you prep it?