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Pork Spare Ribs problem

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I had planned to serve 3 racks of pork spare ribs for dinner tonight but had to abandon my cook.  I was smoking them in my MES set at 225 degrees.  Cook seemed to be going slower than usual, there was no pull back on the bones after 3 hours when I usually wrap for 2 hours.  I wrapped anyway with some liquid and put them back in.  After 2 hours I took them out of the foil, minimal pull back and only slight bend when I picked them up. I put them back in unwrapped and figured dinner was going to be a little late.  After 2 more hours, still minimal pull back.  Internal temp of the meat was 140 degrees.  I took them out, put them in a roasting pan, covered it tightly with foil and put them in the frige, figuring I could finish them tomorrow in the oven. I decided to check the MES temperature accuracy with my Maverick remote.  It appears that the MSE is running about 25 degrees lower than set temp.  So, apparently I have been smoking the ribs for the better part of the day at about 200 degrees. 


So, is the meat safe?  Can I safely finish them off tomorrow in the oven or should I just trash them?  Any help will be greatly appreciated.  I hate to toss that much meat but am willing to chalk it up to experience.  I guess I have learned my lesson that I should always double check my temps before smoking.  Hopefully I can get whatever parts I need to repair my MES as it is only about 1 1/2 years old and has been running perfectly up until today.




post #2 of 10

I'm no expert, but in my opinion from what you're saying, those ribs spent too much time in the danger zone while being smoked and with the amount of time in the danger zone while in the fridge stacked on top of each other. Chef JJ will be by or someone else that can tell you what you can or should do. Sorry for your troubles. Why didn't you use your remote therm to start with?

Edited by JP61 - 5/24/14 at 8:48pm
post #3 of 10

Do you know if the thermometer you checked the rib's internal temperature with is accurate?

I would think that after seven hours of cooking at 200°F or so the IT should have been higher than 140°F. 

post #4 of 10

Unfortunately as you found out from personal experience it is important for quality and more importantly safety to have accurate thermometers while cooking/smoking. From my understanding of what you're saying, I'm not so sure if even your Maverick is accurate. 


Bump for some real help :biggrin:

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

The problem is with the MES.  Double checked the Maverick with my brand new kitchen oven, the maverick was right on.  My meat thermometer is correct, it is a 2 month old Thermopen.  Who knows how much temp fluctuation the MES went through during the 7 hour cook. But when I gave up it was 25 degrees off.    


I am resigned to the fact that the ribs are now trash.  Hopefully I'll be able to fix the Masterbuilt without it costing a small fortune.  



Thanks to all of you for being so prompt and helpful.



post #6 of 10

It seems like most of them are off, one way or the other. I haven't used my MES for awhile now so I don't remember by how much it was off, but it was off. Obviously it's an afterthought but why didn't you use your Maverick to monitor your chamber temp? Don't throw your ribs out until you hear from the experts!

post #7 of 10
I'm definitely not a food safety expert, but I'm not so sure that the ribs do have to be thrown away.  Ribs would be intact meat and the chamber temp was above 160 the entire time.
post #8 of 10

My MES always runs hotter than I set it but I just go by my Maverick to track smoker temp at grate level. For future smokes I would recommend going by your Mav instead of the MES...

post #9 of 10

Sorry I am late to the party. Unless you Injected the Ribs there is nothing wrong with finishing and eating them. The IT may have only gotten to 140° but the exterior would have been exposed to the higher temp of the smoker. Most bacteria that is of concern with food can be killed at lower temperatures than 140°F. However they require extended time at the lower temps. For instance, Salmonella is killed in a few Seconds at 165°F and ~15 minutes at 140°F. However, at a temp as low as 125°F the bacteria is killed if held there for 6.5 hours. Considering your ribs were in the smoker 7 hours and I think you would have noticed if the smoker temp was only that of Hot Tap Water, ~125°F , or less. The Ribs, barring Injection, are fine to eat...JJ


Here is a Chart showing the Time, in minutes, required to reduce Bacteria to a safe level (7D) at Temperatures between 125° and 139°F...



NOTE: At temperatures between 40°F and 125°F Bacteria can reach dangerous levels with high Toxin production in about 2 hours. At temperatures of 85° to 115°F this time is reduced to under 1 hours of exposure...REALLY BAD BUSINESS!!!


Source: Food Safety Magazine

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

This is great info.  Thanks for the great explanation and chart.



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