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I have to toss it, right..?

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  • vvv03 Dec 11, 2012 07:47 AM
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I know what you are going to say, I know what you are going to say, I know what you are going to say. But...

I made spare ribs last night for dinner today -- slow roasted with onions, cooked for nearly 3 hours. I turned it off and let it cool with the lid on...and fell asleep before putting it in the fridge. It was out, fully cooked, for about 6 hours. Probably about 65 degrees in our kitchen. I have to toss it, right?

What a heartbreaking little thing to wake up to!!

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  1. Fully cooked meat. No problem. Get it nice and hot and enjoy it today.

    1. Use yourself as a guinea pig - have a taste and don't feed it to anyone else for a few hours - I do that on a regular basis - and haven't ever gotten sick... though now that I write that I'm sure I will!

      The only worrying thing to me is that the lid was on - how air tight?

      1 Reply
      1. re: harryharry

        I agree sorta - if you guinea pig - go 24 hours.

        The good and bad: Bad - you put the lid on to cool. That engthens the time at which the food was in the dangerous bacteria flourish zone. Ideally you want to go from hot to cold ASAP for safe food handling. The good - if it was covered with a sauce with a high acid content (like a vinegary BBQ sauce) you may have lessened the bacteria problem since the bacteria does not flourish in an acid enviro.

        So if you are daring and cheap and craving ribs... eat one and see what happens.

      2. I wouldn't worry about it at all.

        1. The lid was on so the contents should be virtually sterile (I'm no expert, just my guess).

          I'd have no issues eating this, but for peace of mind's sake just simmer thoroughly, say for 30 minutes. I understand that bacteria and the toxins they produce are seperate issues, but you will be fine. Probably.

          1. I'd eat it.

            1. Toss it. Even if took a couple of hours for the ribs to fall into danger zone temperatures, it will still have been out too long.

              1. i'd eat it.

                1. I'd have absolutely no issues with warming this up and eating it. We often let things cool overnight and don't fridge until the morning

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Harters

                    Especially since you aren't supposed to put warm in the fridge to the begin with. I let my stock sit for hours to get to room temp so I can refrigerate it.

                    1. re: melpy

                      You should not put hot things into the fridge - only because you do not want to warm up the fridge temp, not because it is dangerous for the cooling food. Warm food should be put in the fridge with the lid loosened. Waiting until it reaches room temp is asking for trouble (usually). I would not - as a rule let stock reach room temp before refrigerating. Once you get to 140 degrees then bad things can start happening.

                      And just an fyi on stock - divide it to smaller containers to cool slightly then put those in the fridge. The cool quicker that way.

                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                        "Foods that are cooked and then cooled must get from 135 degrees down to 41 degrees quickly to prevent bacterial growth. The temperature range from 41-135 degrees is known as the danger zone since it is the range of temperature that bacteria can grow in. Temps below 41 degrees are too cold for bacteria to reproduce and temps above 135 are too hot. When cooling foods back down after cooking, there is a time frame of 2 hours for food to go from 135 down to 70 degrees and an additional 4 hours to get from 70 down to 41 degrees. This may seem pretty simple but remember the food has to get down to 41 degrees all the way through, not just on the surface. Kitchen workers help to speed up this process by breaking food into smaller or thinner portions, putting it in an ice bath, leaving lids off during cooling and a host of other methods. You should use these methods at home as well."

                        An ice bath or a few sealed frozen bottles of water tossed into the stock will bring the temp down considerably quick.

                        But to the OP, if it's just you eating it, then I would say go right ahead! I usually keep the above standards if I'm feeding others.

                        1. re: Novelli

                          I'll point you to here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/din...

                          But I am on the ruhlman side of things. I will eat almost anything. I am a wolf. Hawooo!

                          1. re: MGZ

                            It seems that most of these methods either include an exorbitant waste of water or use of excessive containers. I am not made money. I am making goat stock with leftover bones and I have one container to put the stock in once it is done.

                            1. re: Novelli

                              No need to call names. I just don't understand how science expects everyone to always have to go with the most expensive option to be safe. :(

                              Guess I shouldn't read articles about organically and GMOs before posting.

                              Thank you for he alternatives.

                              How long should homemade stock last in the fridge?

                              1. re: melpy

                                I'd say you can keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days before having to reboil, otherwise you could just freeze in smaller portions, such as using an ice cube tray or other containers.

                                I understand that we all may have different standards when it comes to working in the kitchen. What I know, experience, and practice is obviously going to differ from someone elses opinions or experiences, but I will still communicate none-the-less if I think it may be a benefit to someone else.

                                thanks!

                                1. re: Novelli

                                  "I understand that we all may have different standards when it comes to working in the kitchen. What I know, experience, and practice is obviously going to differ from someone elses opinions or experiences, but I will still communicate none-the-less if I think it may be a benefit to someone else."

                                  You have just help exemplify, in accord with what I, and others, have been saying for years, why we should not have these types of threads.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    I think "practice" is important, in total sense of what we do. How clean is your kitchen? How clean are your containers? Are you careful not to allow for cross-contamination? It doesn't matter if something is in the bacterial growth zone if there aren't any bacteria in it to grow! I once kept some turkey stock for several months in the fridge and it was fine -- it was sterile (i.e. boiled for hours), put into a clean container, closed tightly (and the cooling stock created a bit of a vacuum, and then left without being opened in the coldest part of the fridge. It was essentially sterile canned. HOWEVER, I wouldn't count on this -- I was just lucky that all these factors came together. And every time you open the container, you increase the chances of introducing bacteria, especially if you put a spoon into it.

                                    As for the original poster's question -- I'd eat it, no problem.

                          2. re: melpy

                            What I have found to help get the stock to room temperature more quickly is to put a small fan in front of the kettle. I will occasionally stir the stock with a long spoon or ladle. The steam coming off the top of the stock cools it even more quickly than if I put the kettle into the kitchen sink with ice water. If I really wish to cool the stock down fast I'll put the kettle into the ice water AND put a fan beside it to blow away the steam.

                        2. I too would eat it. Hell, I probably would have had it for breakfast at room temperature. The again, I'm not weak, sickly, or infirm.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MGZ

                            +1, and thanks for saying that

                          2. Don't toss it, but reheat it to a safe temperature before eating.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: GH1618

                              OK here is the thing. Bacteria will be killed when reheating, but the toxins produced as a waste product of bacteria will NOT be killed after reheating. THOSE REMAIN.

                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                "the botulogenic toxins are completely inactivated by boiling"

                                http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic...

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  Botulism is not the only food born contaminant by a long shot.

                                  1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                    My take on it is different -- it takes quite a while for the toxins excreted by bacteria to build up -- that's why it often takes many hours of the bacteria multiplying in your gut before you get sick. Six hours is not enough time for something that starts out essentially sterile to build up enough bacteria to excrete enough toxins to make you sick. Thus, if you resterilize it and kill the bacteria, while there may be a small amount of toxins, they won't be increasing.

                                    In the end, there's a huge gray zone between "definitely safe" and "definitely toxic" that depends on a whole lot of factors. I understand that food safety professionals need to err on the side of "definitely safe" but people should make their own decisions based on their own risk tolerance.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      "...it takes quite a while for the toxins excreted by bacteria to build up -- that's why it often takes many hours of the bacteria multiplying in your gut before you get sick. Six hours is not enough time for something that starts out essentially sterile to build up enough bacteria to excrete enough toxins to make you sick. Thus, if you resterilize it and kill the bacteria, while there may be a small amount of toxins, they won't be increasing."
                                      So I am sure many have reiderated this point before but your wording totally clicked with me. Thanks for the concise , to the point summation.

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        "My take on it is different -- it takes quite a while for the toxins excreted by bacteria to build up -- that's why it often takes many hours of the bacteria multiplying in your gut before you get sick. Six hours is not enough time for something that starts out essentially sterile to build up enough bacteria to excrete enough toxins to make you sick. Thus, if you resterilize it and kill the bacteria, while there may be a small amount of toxins, they won't be increasing."

                                        1. No food item starts out sterile.
                                        2. Six hours is plenty of time for enough toxins to be produced to make someone ill.
                                        3. Bacteria do not multiply in your stomach. The bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses do not find conditions favorable for growth in our digestive systems.

                                        You're right, that there are no absolutes in food safety. However, OP has introduced significant risk into his/her food source. The common thing people say is "well, I do this all the time, and I've never gotten sick." That's tantamount to taking safety out of your own hands and putting it to pure chance. Hoping for the best is a terrible strategy, especially considering the downside.

                                      2. re: Brandon Nelson

                                        True, but one of the most dangerous.

                                2. I just want to say I love you all at this moment (except for the toss person, but I know s/he had the best of intentions!) I will only report back if I get violently ill and want to serve as a cautionary tale.

                                  Thank you!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: vvv03

                                    But how will we know the difference between no ill effects and death?

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      Death shmeth. : )

                                  2. Here's an easier-to-read article on the subject, "Bending the Rules on Bacteria": http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/din...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      Ah I did not see that you had posted it! a pretty good article!

                                    2. You should be fine. The container was covered while the food was cooling.

                                      In theory, all the contents were "sterilized" from the cooking process. As the pot was cooling, the air sucked into the pot is most likely safe. I wouldn't expect salmonella (and the like) to be floating around willy-nilly.

                                      1. If it were in a restaurant I'm pretty sure you'd be required to toss it. Personally, I'd just reheat it to proper temp and enjoy.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Rick

                                          In a restaurant it'd be called a staff meal :P

                                          At home I certainly would eat it.

                                        2. Poach a couple of eggs, chop up the meat, reheat, pop the eggs on top, let the undercooked yolk intermingle with the aged meat, and enjoy... You'll undoubtedly suffer from extreme fullness and will probably need a nap afterward, so watch out.

                                          1. If you do decide to throw it away, please to throw it at me. :)
                                            I'd eat it, after heating it to a safe temp and letting it simmer for a half-hour or so.

                                            1. Wouldn't have been heartbreaking for me.

                                              I would have reheated it & very happily enjoyed it.

                                              Including any leftovers in the days following.

                                              1. I wouldn't worry about it.

                                                1. So much discussion. Did ya eat them bones or not?

                                                  If we do not hear from you were will be less likely to throw our caution to the wind.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                    Sorry, I forgot to get back to you all. We did indeed eat it, I warmed it up thoroughly and it was delicious! no ill effects whatsoever. Would have been such a waste to have tossed it. Thanks so much for your support and information!