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40 to 140 in under 4 ??

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by arnie, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. arnie

    arnie Smoking Fanatic

    OK, I’m sorry, [​IMG]  but I’ve been discussing smoking a prime rib with someone I respect and I am questioning his procedure of smoking for 5 ½ hour at 180to get the meat to 125.   He believes the meat is pasteurized.

  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What size roast are we talking here? You are correct on the rule of thumb which to be safe you should go from 40 degrees to 140 degrees in a 4 hour window to ensure that there isn't bacteria growth in the meat. Now since you are talking about a whole cut of meat that generally can be adjusted a bit because the bacteria shouldn't penetrate the meat very far so the center doesn't need to reach 140 but if you stick a probe or any kind of object into the roast then you can introduce any bacteria that could have been on the outer part of the meat and now put it into the center of the meat and you would have to follow the 40-140 rule. At least that is how I understand it. Hopefully someone will correct me if I am pointing you in the wrong direction.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  3. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Pasteurization occurs at high temps for a specific time then rapid cooling.  That is not happening with your friends process.

    That being said if he wants his beef @ 125 internal.  Why bother smoking it?  Just slice it and serve cold as Tartare?

    My $.02
  4. arnie

    arnie Smoking Fanatic

    Not sure of the weight, but he said it was a 2 rib short end choice grade. I agree with what you've said, but I seem to remember reading somewhere in order to get the temperature of the outside 1/2" of the meat through the 140 in 4 hours it should be cooked at 200.

    I think he is trying to tell me the "Danger Zone" (40°F - 140°F) is about the ambient room temp. With the smoker temp above 140°F there is not issue with how long the smoke takes. I cannot believe this is right, or am I all wrong?
    That's what I thought also.  

    I’m unsure of the temperature needed for the pasteurization process, but I know it cannot be done at 180
  5. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    OK, now I have a question. Is it alright to eat beef at 120-125 degrees internal, which is how we like it. I guess if you go by the 40-140 rule as long as we eat it, from fridge to stomach in less than 4 hours were OK. Is that right? 
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    Actually the rule was changed to 41-135 in under 4 hours. There are lots of other rules that can apply like holding it at X temperature for X minutes. Most of the food safety stuff I see posted does say if following the intact muscle rule run your smoker at at least 200 degrees. The best one I know to ask these questions is Bbally if he doesn't post to this thread then I would suggest PMing him Bob is great about answering members questions.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Yea what Jerry said or what ever Bob says too.
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I like my PR very rare so I smoke it a 225 to an internal of 130 and let it coast in foil to 135 (if I can wait that long [​IMG])

    All the recipes I see are for 200+ on the temps
  9. deannc

    deannc Master of the Pit

    I've always been confused as to where in the USDA fact sheets does it reference the 4 hour rule.  I've always only been able to find the "Danger Zone" fact sheet.

    The Smoking Meat and Poultry fact sheet states the air temperature in the smoker or grill to be sure the heat stays between 225 and 300 °F throughout the cooking process. 

    The last referenced fact sheet also states the following are safe internal temps;

    Smoke food to a safe minimum internal temperature.
    • Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to 145 °F.
    • All cuts of pork to 160 °F.
    • Ground beef, veal and lamb to 160 °F.
    • All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
    And of course we all know these are guidelines, but I wish I could find in the food safety guidelines the information on the 4 hour rule for my reference in future conversations with folks.  I've mentioned this in a couple recent offline conversations and a couple folks thought I was crazy and I'd love to be able to print something out to rub in their face!! LOL
  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The 4-hr guideline is for (EDIT: non-intact) whole muscle meats only, and any meats which do not meet the description of a whole muscle meat should be treated as such.

    If I'm understanding the guidelines correctly, then, my interpretation of them leans towards the margin of safest practice, and in keeping with that:

    Meats which are not considered whole muscle meats include:

    1) meats which have had the bone removed and the incision/cuts have then been re-closed (to maintain a bulkier/thicker cut of meat);

    2) any ground meat product;

    3) any injected (injectable marinade) or punctured (temp probe insertion, or stuffed with garlic cloves) meat product which has been tampered with prior to the outer 1/2" of the meat reaching 140* within 4 hours;

    4) any meats which have been filleted of otherwise cut open to insert another food product inside and then re-closed for cooking (such as stuffed pork loin);

    So, with a prime rib roast, it would meet the description of a whole muscle meat, provided it is not injected with marinade, a thermometer probe inserted too early, or de-boned and then rolled and tied, or otherwise closing-up of the freshly cut surfaces of meat. If a bone-in beef rib eye, prime rib roast, 7-bone whole beef rib (or however you prefer to reference it as) is de-boned, since the bones are not removed from the interior of the whole roast, and, if this fresh cut from bone removal is left exposed the entire time it is being cooked, it would still be considered a whole muscle meat.

    Note: if a cut of meat were deboned (example: pork butt/shoulder), and then left as a butter-flied cut until cooking is completed (which leaves the fresh cuts exposed), this would still be considered a whole muscle meat.

    Hope this gives you a better picture of what the whole muscle meat guideline can do for you with low & slow cooking, and keeps you running down the straight and narrow path when your pre-cooked meats can't be considered whole muscle meats.

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  11. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    1) the meat is not pasturized

    2) time is irrelevent in respect to 5 1/2hrs...........what if the meat is 1# vs 25#

    3) cooking temperatures should be 225 or above


    edit for #2...........if the meat is not pinned, rolled, punctured or mechanically altered.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  12. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    eric, i'm not sure i follow you on this.........do you mean non intact muscles must conform to the rule?
  13. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Oops!!! I can see the reason for your confusion...typo...should read for non-intact whole muscle meats, so yes, you're on the right track. Been one of them days...I'll edit the original to avoid future confusion.

  14. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    OK, from reading all your posts, I'm assuming that it's safe to eat Prime rib at 125 degrees internal if it's smoked at at least 225 degrees and the external 1/2 " of the meat is at least 140 degrees. Correct?
  15. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't want to say 125˚ is safe to eat, but I will say that if it was smoked at 225˚, it is just as safe as if it was cooked at 350˚, as long as it wasn't probed or injected for the first 2 hours.

  16. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Arnie, let me help you beat that horse:

    I don't know where the safety border line is---180˚--190˚--200˚, or whatever, All I will say is when I do my Prime Rib, I keep the temp at 225˚/230˚ the whole time. I do not inject it, and I do not put the meat probe in until after the first 2 hours. When it is done, it is a nice juicy red/pink from bark to bark. There is nothing but pink inside, so what would smoking it at 180˚ accomplish.

    Check the pics of my Prime Rib, by clicking below on "Prime Rib".

  17. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Sounds like it!  Just be aware of your temp probe placement.  I'm guessing that 125 in the center of a bone in roast is not 125 a bit lower by the bones.

    Are we going to see any Qview for this project?  I want to see the cut version of a 125 roast.

  18. rw willy

    rw willy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    BearC makes good points.  Thats the beauty of low/slow.  Consistent pink through out the roast.  Like I said early on.  Eat Tartare or cook it.
  19. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    LOL---Fridge to stomach in 4 hours---Thanks for my daily laugh Al---I needed that. [​IMG]

    Hmmm, after we eat it, we'll keep it at 98.6˚ for pretty long too.  Back to the drawing board !

    Thanks Al,

  20. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Al, that does have good dose of comic relief, as Bear mentioned.

    I don't know that I'd deliberately eat beef at 125* or lower...I can say that up to this point in time, I never have.

    USDA doesn't even recommend cooking to rare temps with beef. They list 145* for med/rare in these fact sheets:

    This sheet shows the reommended safe internal temps for all types of flesh-based foods HERE  (looking 1/2 way down the page for the chart).

    And in this article, sub-titled "cooking", again, 1/2 way down the page HERE.

    It's med/rare to med beef for me, but that's the way I've always liked my beef. I don't see any real benefit in cooking to 10 or 20* lower temp, as the juices of the beef are plentiful even at medium temps.