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Learned a valuable lesson today

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
SO, I had my smoker going last night, and all we well. So I decided to take a nap. I was asleep for about 4 hours (an hour and a half longer than I wanted to). Well, I come out to check my temps and my smoker flame had gone out and the smoker was sitting at 85 degrees and the meat at 116. I have no idea how long it was out, sometime in that 4 hour period.

Therefore the meat has been in the danger zone for more than 4 hours. Should I toss it at this point? Any one else experience this? While I have done this before, I will never, do this again!
post #2 of 28
Did you fire it up immeditaley? WHat was the temp when you dropped off? On the surface of things it looks like you should be okay since it takes quite some time for the temp of meat to drop inside an unopened smoker.
post #3 of 28
Sorry but I'd toss it an start all over.
post #4 of 28
I agree w/Rick. Since you're not sure how long the food was in the danger zone, I'd toss it and start over. The last thing you want is to take a risk and ruin the holiday weekend with sour tummies.
post #5 of 28
I wouldn't serve it.
post #6 of 28
Need a bit more info, but bottom line I think is that you said you're already past the 4 hour mark and unless it was over 140 when you went to sleep, then at 116 it's going to be in the danger zone for well over 4 hours, 6 or 7 probably by the time you get everything heated back up again.

You said in your title that you learned an important lesson (use an alarm clock and put it far enough away you can't hit snooze?) so I'm guessing you're leaning toward tossing it. And that's the safest answer since we don't know how long you had it out before you smoked, how long you've had it and what temp it was stored at, etc etc etc.

Just think- you could be making your title, "Learned a valuable lesson today while sitting in the hospital". Go out and buy another one, crank the heat up some to speed things up, be sure to cover it at 160 or so to speed things up even further, and if you really want to try and speed things up, when it hits the plateau, stab it and turn it a few times. That will often get it to start increasing temperatures again. You will still be behind a bit, but hopefully these tips will get you closer to your previous finish time with little or no loss of quality (less bark though for sure since it's covered).
post #7 of 28
As was said there are a few other questions like what was the temp of the meat when you went to sleep, was the meat punctured in any way, and how fast did it go back up? You probably made the best and safest choice if you chucked it and started again.
post #8 of 28
I think you'd be gambling and playing the odds if you eat it. If you get lucky, and no one gets sick, then next time that experience will play against your best judgement.

When in doubt, throw it out. It seems like an expensive lesson, but it's really a cheap lesson considering the possible circumstances.

It's never a good idea to leave a running cooker unattended.
post #9 of 28
When in doubt, toss it out.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
When I went to bed the meat was around 60 degrees, and that was at around 4:00am.

I got back up at 7:30am. The meat was at 116 degrees and the fire was out.

I decided to fire up the smoker immediately and it is now 9am and the meat is at 132 degrees.

I did puncture the meat with one clean probe and that was it.

I am still trying to decide what to do. Once it hits 140 degrees, I will calculate total time in the "danger zone" and firgure out what to do. It may be steaks for dinner today. The wife thinks there is no problem and we should continue with it.
post #11 of 28
If the outside of the meat was below 140F you then introduced any bacteria that was on the outside to the inside part.

I'd really consider the steaks instead of taking chances.
post #12 of 28
Bite the bullet.... not the meat. Go get something else to throw on while the smoker is hot. That meat has been sittin toooooooo long my friend.
post #13 of 28
"at 4 a.m. meat was about 60 degrees"
"at 9 a.m. meat was 132 degrees"

That's a solid 5 hrs in the danger zone. Toss it & start over with something else.
post #14 of 28
OP, you don't even know if the meat ever made it above 140 and fell back. In the "old" days, folks would have eaten it. Some would be fine, some would get sick. But now you know better. Don't take a foolish risk.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I think y'all are right. Such a shame. Ugh
post #16 of 28
smart move bob-I will only nap if what I smoking has been cured as when I do bacon-at low temps.
post #17 of 28
Since it was punctured then the 4 hour rule would apply and I might would push the rule a bit but in my opinion it was too long with to many unknowns I'm afraid I would toss it and go with the steaks or maybe do a fatty or to or even some ribs
post #18 of 28
Can you guys tell me about the danger zone. New to smoking.
post #19 of 28
it's probably a moot point by now, but i would have kept it for myself.

if cooking for others, i'd strongly consider tossing it.

having said that, i am pretty sure that it is OK - but "pretty sure" still isn't knowing for sure.
post #20 of 28
Don't eat that thing, give it the old Heave ho.

You wouldn't take a gun, put in one bullet then spin the cylinder point it at your foot and pull the trigger would Ya?

Chock it up as a valuable lesson learned.

Looks like Schoolbob has been Schooled.
( Sorry, it was there. I had to say it ) icon_redface.gif

The next time I'm sure you will make sure its at least 140f before taking a nap.
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