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Help I forgot to turn my crockpot on!

I made a beef stew (cholent) for my family with a lot of beef and beans and I forgot to turn it on for 4 to 5 hours, not sure exactly. As soon as I realized it I turned it on to the highest setting for 1.5 hours and now it is on the Low setting bubbling. It will be cooking on low for at least 12 hours more because my family is orthodox and they will be wanting to eat it tomorrow for lunch.
Is it ok to feed them or should I break the news that there is no cholent stew for Saturday lunch because I spoiled the meat?? It smells good and I am feeling terrible about this can I serve it to them tomorrow?

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  1. There have been any number of threads about food left out, most of the time it's food that was cooked and not put away afterwards. There is a good chance it's fine, but the safe answer is to dump it, especially if you are going to feed your whole family

    1. Darn it I was thinking I may have to dump it :( that is so upsetting

      1. Does it make a difference that the meat being kosher was very salted beforehand to remove all blood etc?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rban1000

          Nope - toss it. When in doubt, throw it out. I know it sucks, but foodborne illness sucks even more.

        2. Considering the length of cooking time, I would take a chance on it myself, and I'm normally very cautious about this sort of thing. I think there's a big difference between food that sat out a little too long before being cooked for a very long time, and food that sat out for a very long time after being cooked, which is rarely heated very hot or very long before being eaten.

          1. You could refrigerate it for later and test-taste it. If no ill effects, serve it later.

            1. It will be fine.

              II am more concerned that it will be on low for 12 hours, but I guess you have been making this recipe for a while. Is there no "Warm" setting that you can switch it to?

              1. I have eaten leftovers left out for as long as a couple of days and I didn't have any problem. The only thing is your beef was still uncooked when left out so I am not sure about its safety, 4 or 5 hours isn't that long though; I do defrost meat sometimes (I usually defrost in the fridge) on the counter and again no ill effects. Personally I would eat it because I am not very willing to waste food unless it's patently spoiled, but if somebody in your family has a weak immune system I would be a lot more cautious.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lemony05

                  Unless dealing with a compromised immune system or pregnant folk I would risk it.

                2. I live in Canada and we have had an ecoli outbreak in red meat, it is now under control. However, consumer shows have been explaining how meat is processed and if meat has been tenderized as many cuts are they are recommending that the beef be well done. Based on this I now think beef can become contaminated, and since your beef was left out for quite a bit of time, I would not take the chance.

                  1. Sounds to me that you dry aged the beef for 5 hours before cooking. If wet, you marinaded it for the same amount of time.

                    And while you can cook microorganisms to death, it is very hard to breakdown most toxins. Eat a spoonful now, and in a few hours you will know if it is good or not.

                    1. Haha! Here we go again. Until recently, I had no idea so many Americans were so ignorant (not being mean - ignorant means unknowing, not stupid) of the dangers of foodborne illnesses and food safety. It almost makes me not want to eat at other people's houses unless I've quizzed them food safety beforehand.

                      Food is cheap. Yes, it is tempting, but so are many risky things in life. Do we get burned every time? No. But, when the alternative is so easy, why chance it? It only seems like the logical decision to me.

                      Also, the whole "eat just a little bit and see if you get sick" mentality is yet another illogical statement. You can get just as sick from one bite of food as you can from an entire meal. To put it simply, bad stuff that makes us sick and kills us is extraordinarily small (one cell of e. coli is smaller than one cubic micrometer - a micrometer is one thousandth of a millimeter). It only takes as few as 10 cells to knock us down. This one-bite-test stuff is silly.

                      I guess I don't even want to know how many of us know that it's good to wash our hands before handling food and the proper way to do so.

                      To look at this positively, I admire those out there who understand and respect food safety and foodborne illnesses. You are a smart bunch.

                      When in doubt throw it out.

                      1. In spite of all written here about the beef,your worst fears should be the BEANS.Your crockpot is now the PERFECT PETRI DISH.

                        1. if it was 4 hours, i beleive you can have foods in the danger zone for no more than 4 hours. so it should be ok. i would eat it. but im sure the wisest choice is to throw it out.

                          1. I threw it away but it was a good lesson learned it may have been good but just the worry would have ruined the meal and there was other stuff to serve. My family is full of small children and my husband and I just got over some food poisoning I didn't want to risk it or even just have that worry.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Rban1000

                              I would probably have eaten it. I don't always follow government regulations/advice in my kitchen. The scenario you described would have not caused me grave concern enough to toss it (I don't think so, anyway).

                              But, if it did cause concern, I can relate. I am like that too. If I "think" it might be risky, I can't enjoy it! No sense in eating something you are worried about!

                            2. PLEASE HELP! I'm in a similar pickle..
                              Last night I spent a good 40min prepping/trimming a 2.5 lb round beef tip for beef stroganoff..seasoned, chopped the onions& mushrooms, the works.
                              Needless to say in the middle of the night, a grandfather tree fell and crushed my room mates car, nearly making its way into our kitchen- so as you could imagine we were up most of the night w neighbors waiting for assistabce...

                              Long story short, I was exhausted this morning.. I put the prepped/chilled crock pot filled with the glorious meat in the cooker and left the house without turning it on! (Oh and before that I had left the house locking our front door, forgetting my house/car keys and had to climb thru my bedroom window to get in with two torn Achilles tendons)

                              Anyway. I don't mean to make my first world food tragedy so dramatic, I'm just so emotional when it comes to my food. I'm a total freak.

                              In total, the beef will have been sitting out for 8 hours.
                              Go ahead, tell me I'm an idiot..maybe it'll help change my mind.. I understand that you could kill the bacteria (when cooking it) but not the toxins left behind from the bacteria, BUT IT'S BEEN IN A TIGHTLY SEALED CROCK POT ALL DAY! wahhh

                              I'm open for critisism... GO!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: CenareAmore

                                Safety guidelines limit the time in the unsafe zone of 40 to 140 degrees to 2 hours (the clock starts ticking when your food goes over 40 or under 140.) It would take a few more hours to gt to temp in a crockpot. It is a risk. It's your risk so you get to make the judgement call.

                                The fact that it had a lid on is not a bonus. It just made it a low oxygen environment perfect for growing nasties.

                                1. re: CenareAmore

                                  No need to post multiple times. I'd toss it but it's up to you.