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Apr 10, 2011 12:27 AM

Corned Beef unrefrigerated; is it still safe?

While at Costco today I bought a 3 pound corned beef in a vacuum sealed bag. I forgot about it and left it in the box with some other items. The beef was unrefrigerated for about 4 hours. Is it safe to eat? Does "corning" the beef go through process that will preserve it for a time? What do you think?

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  1. Most corned beef (the pink kind) is made with a lot of preservatives. Read the lable for content. It should be O.K.

    1. I would assume it's safe. like joebob mentioned, lots of preservatives in addition to the massive amt of salt in the brine..

      1. Back before refrigeration, salt was used to preserve foods and protect from spoilage, yes, referred to as corning; corned beef is just that kind of product. Four hours is nothing, maybe unless it sat in 139° sun; I would have not issue eating this. Have no fear.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Thanks so much for the input. I kind of figured that since there was so much salt in the corning process that 4 hours wasn't enough time to do any harm. Just wanted to hear it from you all. Thanks again.

        2. Perfectly safe, as long as it wasn't in a high-temp environment. The process of corning the beef is itself a preservative. Enjoy. Mmmmm. Sandwiches and hash.

          11 Replies
          1. re: mamachef

            mamachef, temp was about 68 degrees. Corned beef and cabbage dinner then rueben sandwiches. Ohhh yes!!! BTW this reminds me of a recipe I made for Rueben Quesadillas. It was so good.

            1. re: The Drama Queen

              We love corned beef and kraut in all it's many wonderful guises. Would you like to share the recipe for those Quesadillas? Or is it what it sounds like: flour torts. with well-drained kraut, shredded corned beef, swiss and dressing grilled? Because I love the idea of a Reuben filling grilled in a crunchy flour tortilla; that's pretty genius.
              I've got a recipe for a Reuben-style dip, if you're interested.

              1. re: mamachef

                mamachef: the recipe is just like a reuben sandwich. Place a thin layer of all of the ingredients on a flour tortilla (I lay it on my tortilla maker) then top with the other torilla. Bake for about 10 minutes or til just browned then cut into slices. This is really a great way to use leftover corned beef. Be sure to use Russian Dressing like the Deli rueben sandwiches.

                1. re: The Drama Queen

                  Dolly, I'm a purist. I'd NEVER use anything but Russian dressing on a Reuben quesadilla. Oh, man does this sound good with a side of plain chips and a big pile of bread and butter pickles or better yet a half-sour dill.

                    1. re: The Drama Queen

                      Sorry 'bout that - it's a form of address i use (honey, sport, dolly, etc.) but probably not a great habit to cultivate. Chances are excellent I'll slip and do it again, though, so apologies in advance.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        LMAO okay no problem. I have a friend named Dolly so I see it as a name. Go for it.

                        1. re: The Drama Queen

                          You should hear the names mamachef calls me...;-)

              2. re: The Drama Queen

                4 hours at 68 degrees is far outside government guidelines. Corned or not, I'd toss it. (Then again, if Sam were present, he would urge you to eat it.)

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Those packages have expiration dates of months....4 hours sealed at room temp isn't going to do anything....

            2. I just found a random can of corned beef unrefrigerated, I'm not sure how long it's been there but when I opened it, it was really soft and had holes in it but no critters... Is is still safe?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Tiffanylove101

                It's fine. That's what canning is for. Unless there is corrosion on the can that allows air to permeate you are fine.

                Unless you're an American. Then your skin will fall off and you'll die in agony.