5.5-6 hours to get out of safe zone

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Original poster
Dec 20, 2016
Savannah, Ga
I didnt cure my pork butt but I also didn't probe it until 3 hours into the smoke.
Took between 5.5 and 6 hours to hit 140.

Chance it? Toss it?.

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If you didn't probe it until 3hrs in you are fine. The rule is that any intact muscle aka non probed need to have the outside 1/2" of meat needs to be above 140 in 4 hours. I am pretty sure the outside was to 140 before 3 hours.

If it was me id keep it.
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Ok, appreciate the response. I was leaning that way. My mom even said to send it to her if I wouldn't eat it.

I need to Google less.
From what you have told us it is perfectly safe to eat. What was the temperature of the smoker?

Just so you are aware, the 140 F in 4 hours is not an absolute science and you are unlikely to find it in official government guidelines. It is a best practice guideline that SMF has adopted to ensure that beginners to smoking remain safe. The actual safety time will depend on the meat you are cooking, how it has been handled prior to getting it and how it has been prepared before cooking. With an intact piece of pork (bone in) the bacteria will only be on the meat surface and at a smoker temperature of 225 F it will all be killed almost  instantly. With boned meat there will be bacteria on all of the cut surfaces - and if rolled and tied some of these will then be "inside". It is therefore technically "safer" to smoke boned meat untied and open so that all of the cut surfaces are exposed to the smoker temperature.

Even if the cut meat is rolled and tied, so long as the internal temperature of the meat was increasing steadily, the bacteria is destroyed by a combination of temperature and time and not just temperature alone. For example, at 140 F the bacteria will effectively all be killed within 12 minutes but at 135 F it will still be killed but it will take just over 30 minutes. Even at 130 F it will be killed in around 2 hours. From this you can see that it is not the case that bacteria thrive at temperatures below 140 F but then suddenly die when the 140 F is hit. As the meat rises and approaches 140 F, bacterial growth will gradually slow down and increasing numbers will start to die.

The SMF best practice guideline was set because at 140 F all of the bacteria will effectively be killed within 12 minutes and "140 in 4" is catchy and is easier to remember.
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