Think FRIDGE conked out... Baby Backs safe?

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by tender loins, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. LONG STORY BUT YOU'LL LIKE IT AND I NEED HELP! This happened about a month ago, I scored about 6-8 racks of baby backs at the Price-Rite for $1.99/lb, couldn't believe it. Two packages, there were more but didn't have the $$$. Each pkg was around 8lbs.

    Anyway, that was on a Thursday I think. I put them in the fridge and was gonna smoke them Memorial weekend (that weekend. The USE BY was actually June 7th.)

    That Saturday, I went down and opened the fridge and many things like bottles had condensation on them. I turned the knob to the coolest setting to see if the fridge would kick back on but didn't hear anything. I SLAPPED the side of the fridge and nothing.

    FINALLY, I SLAPPED the housing with the thermostat knob settings and the fridge kicked back on!

    I was in the fridge the night before and didn't notice any problems then.

    I don't know how long it may have stopped running, and had no idea of exact temp, especially with me playing around now with the door open.

    I immediately took the baby backs and put them in the basement freezer and took the thermometer from the basement freezer and put it in the fridge. It went up to about half way between 40 & 50. I don't know how accurate and if this was because of holding the door open so much, etc. I am not sure how long they may have been in the ABOVE 40 range, if they were. They still felt cold.

    I have since ate coldcuts, pizza slices and cheese and stuff since without any ill feelings but I don't know what I should do with the ribs!



    When I tried searching the web for answers I thought I found a site that said they would be no good if over 42 for over 2 hours? Not sure if they were talking about storage temp or actual meat temp.

    A friend said she would boil them first and cook at high temps instead of smoking them. She doesn't have a smoker. I do pressure canning and pretty sure at over 10lbs pressure it will kill any botulism or e-coli if present.

    SO WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE RIBS???? Pressure cook them? Grille them? Smoke them? TOSS THEM???

    If it matters, they are still in sealed cryovac plastic, unopened. She took one pack but don't know if she tried doing anything with them yet.

    Thanks for any help!
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I live in hurricane country and we get power outages for days at a time.  The one thing we always remember is to never open the fridge.  That and buy chest type freezers so that when you open the door the cold air stays in the unit and doesn't fall out the open doors.  It is impossible to say what temps your ribs got to in the refrigerator.  Was the milk spoiled?  Did the cheese get greasy?  Did the alfalfa sprouts grow into pasture grass and set new seed?  Just kidding.

    I don't think anyone on this forum will be able to give anything more then a guess.  You're probably on your own on this one.  Good luck, if you do decide to smoke the ribs and live to tell about it, why not show us a bit of qview and let us know that you are still able to visit the forum!
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    JUST WHAT "I" WOULD DO...If after all the time you were trying to see what was wrong with the door open, the temp was just over 40*F the chances are pretty good that the Ribs in the fridge were not affected. If the Ribs came from a National Packer, sanition standards are such that the possibility of bacterial contamination is very low so the Ribs should be ok. The bug that causes Botulism, although it can be found on meat, is usually only an issue with plants and things that come in contact with soil AND are in an Oxygen free environment for and extended period of time, ie. fresh chopped garlic, covered in Olive oil and sits on the counter for 24 hours, so the Ribs should not have been affected. E-coli require similar circumstances if the cryo-vac is not puffy the Ribs should not have been affected. If after 60 seconds there are no lingering funky smells after the seal on the cryo-vac has been broken, the ribs should be ok. If everybody who is going to eat the ribs is over 4 years old and under 90 years old and in good health there should be nothing to worry about. If you are going to Wash the ribs, Brine and or use a Salty Rub and Smoke them above 225*F to tender, there should be no health issues. Bottom line...Would I serve them to Customers in a Restaurant, NO...Would I cook and serve them to my Family, meeting ALL the above criteria, YES...The Salad Greens in the fridge are the BIGGER risk to eat! Just one CHEAP guys opinion, good luck and good eats...JJ
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Whatever you decide, let us know how it turns out.

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