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Feb 15, 2014 01:28 PM

Should we treat sous vide low temp pasteurized meats any differently than regularly cooked foods?

For example, we have always left stovetop cooked meats out in room temperature for couple hours, even up to 5+ hours depending on how hot it is. Although this is not best practices and something we can't recommend, it has worked fine for us for the last 20+ years.

It shouldn't be any different for sous vide cooked meats? At least *once* its been removed from the vacuum pouch?

For example, meats that has been fully pasteurized @ 131F for 4+ hrs shouldn't need to be treated any differently than traditional stovetop cooked meats?

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  1. I don't think there should be a big difference.

    To get bacteria growth, you need bacteria to start off with, and an environment where it can grow. That could happen with low and long cooked food, or with short and hot.

    The one thing I could see being different is handling the food once it's no longer piping hot. When I leave something out at room-temperature for a while, I usually haven't handled it with anything other than serving utensils, which will minimize the addition of bacteria into something that started out reasonably sterile. If you're waiting for the sous vide to cool before unpackaging it, you'd need to be careful about how you handle it, because you could introduce bacteria from your hands into an environment primed for it.

    (In winter, I'll turn off the heat, leave the pot covered, and let it cool overnight, shoving it in the fridge when I wake up. Our apartment isn't heated, so it gets pretty cool at night. In summer, when room temperature is pretty close to body temperature, I don't).

    1. Once it's been cooked and removed from its pouch, there's no significant difference.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cowboyardee

        Correct only if left in the bag in a low oxygen environment would there be a significant difference.

      2. Not sure the best way to answer this question. It sounds like you're asking if you can handle meat in a technically unsafe, but probably ok manner (leaving out for 5+ hours) even if you cook it sous vide.

        The answer depends on how well you cook the meat. If you get 5-log reduction in the number of pathogens during the cooking process, then you can handle it as safely as you have handled meat in the past once you take it out of the bag.

        The unique issues with sous vide have more to do with making sure you properly cook the meat while it's under temperature, in the bag.