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Mar 20, 2011 09:41 AM

Another stock question...

I'm trying an overnight oven stock for the first time and a temperature question popped up.

I threw a roast chicken carcass in the pot, added water to cover, then tossed it into my 200 degree oven overnight (a la a number of posts I've seen here and the method that Michael Ruhlmann mentions here ).

When I woke up this morning everything looked fine, but I got curious and decided to check the temperature of the broth and found it to be only around 150 degrees (right at the top... I assume it's probably higher down near the bottom). 150 degrees seems kinda low for that length of time. I would have expected it to be closer to around 180 to 190 or so.

I'm in a new house and hadn't had a chance to check my oven temp yet, so I did that and found it to be pretty close to accurate (within a couple degrees).

Is 150 degrees high enough? I'm not so much worried about whether its optimal for getting the best flavor (I don't think it is... I don't think collagen starts metling until 160 or so. I might just go back to my stove top method).

What I'm concerned about is the safety aspect. I'm wondering how much time this concoction might have been in the "danger zone". I'm thinking this may end up being a failed sacrificial batch.

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  1. A liquid solution will be essentially the same temperature throughout. If it's warmer on the bottom it's only because it's in contact with a source of direct heat (e.g. oven rack) but it's the lowest temperature in a solution that determines how safe it is to use.
    IMO, 150 degrees is dangerously low for preparing a stock.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Agreed that it's too low, but you're not sacrificing much. A roast chicken carcass makes a weak, sometimes gray-looking stock unless you add raw meat and bones to it (wings, backs, etc.).
      With just the roadt carcass, by the time you reduce it so it has an acceptable amount of flavor, you have very little left. You'd be lucky to get a quart, if it's a really large chicken and had a generous amount of cooked meat still on it.

      1. re: greygarious

        There is nothing wrong with a chicken carcass stock. there is still meat on the back and the "ass". If you used the neck and giblets (sans liver) and vegetables a big roaster can yield 2 quarts of nice brown stock.

        I have nothing to offer with the health safety aspects. i would probably eat it since its from a cooked chicken, not raw meat, but that is just me. honestly if you pitch it you are out meat that would otherwise be garbage, a few bay leaves a onion a carrot?

    2. I think you probably have a very dangerous soup on your hands.

      Cooking anything at 200 is sort of iffy, but your stock has never gotten to a temp that kills bacteria. So it's just been multiplying in a nice warm oven.

      1. Did you bring it to a simmer before you put it in the oven?

        2 Replies
        1. re: chefj

          No, since that was really only stated to be necessary if it was an extra large batch.

          I did bring it to a boil while I was splitting up the onion, carrot, and celery in the morning, then bumped the oven to 225 to finish it off. That kept it in the 180 to 190 range the last couple hours.

          As others mentioned, it's only a couple cheap veggies that I might lose, but I went ahead and finished it off, skimmed it, reduced it by about a third, then put it in to freeze.

          Still not sure whether to use it or not. Frankly, while it has a nice deep color to it, it doesn't have much body. I didn't get much thickening in the fridge, so I clearly didn't get much gelatin out of the carcass. I usually do when I use the stove-top.

          1. re: tklein

            Sounds like bad advice not to bring it to a simmer first there would be no disadvantage and it keeps that lukewarm stage to a minimum, but that is for the future.
            As for the safety of the stock already made. Everything that was alive in it should be dead from the simmering, but any toxins that may have been created would still be present.
            I would be tempted to throw it out, I surely wouldn't feed to guests ( - :

        2. 150 for an extended period of time will kill off the bugs. The problem is that at only 200 degrees the air in the oven isn't enough to bring your stockpot to the temperature you need. I would put that pot on the stovetop and simmer some more though, to make sure you get everything out of your chicken.

          In the future I would bring the stock to a simmer first before putting it in the oven.