Article Scared Me...rinsing meat and distilled water

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by bhse, May 29, 2015.

  1. Today I began the pastrami making process and I'm really excited. However, after all the work of getting the brine ready and getting the brisket in the container and putting it in my article I just read kinda scared me a bit.

    Article said 2 things - you must thoroughly rinse the meat to remove all "surface flora" before brining. Also said to only use distilled water for a brine because city water has microbials and bacteria that can lead to deadly food borne illnesses. 

    Here is the exact quote from about "scrubbing meat"... You also need to scrub the meat. Normally we tell you that washing meat is not necessary and even risky because you can create invisible aerosols of bacteria in the washing process and the contaminents get all over the sink, faucet, dish drain, and counter surfaces. It is unnecessary because you are about to cook the chicken and the high heat will pasteurize it immediately. But when you are curing meat, you are submerging it in water for days, so you want to get off as much of the flora on the surface as possible. You'll never get it all, but get as much as you can.

    So, my beautiful work is in the fridge but.....

    thoughts anyone? 
  2. Hello. You have to remember you are going to be hitting critical control points during your process. If you keep it at 40 and below you wont have to worry as much about hitting the temperature danger zone. Once you remove from the brine you will rinse everything off the surface of the meat, then apply a spice rub. The next critical control point will be hitting the internal temp of 195 or higher.
    I'm in the process of making pastrami myself and I plan to hit about 200. Hope that eases your mind a little.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  4. totally with you hear...just didn't know if there was some weird long term thing goin on with city water and raw meat.

    thanks for you input
  5. your welcome.
  6. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    Don't drink the water....don't breathe the air....surgical style scrub up the elbows after using the toilet....could slip and fall getting out of bed tomorrow.....where does one draw the line??
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't scrub or rinse the meat prior to brining. Guess I'll keep rolling the dice!
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What Dave said is good enough for me.
  9. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree. City water is good enough for what I'm doing....I did go to a BBQ cooking school a number of years ago that taught us to make brine, injections, sauce or whatever with distilled water. They said it was because the chlorine, fluoride, etc. that was used to treat the city water could have an adverse effect on what we were doing from a chemical standpoint. I used the distiller water a couple of times after that, but then I forgot that it was on the shelf. I found it about a month ago and threw it away. City water is no problem for me. Joe
  10. inkjunkie

    inkjunkie Master of the Pit

    We do have an RO unit, we use it for drinking purposes. When I used Pops brine for bacon/BBB I just used tap water....
  11. Thanks everyone. I'm very familiar with HACCP plans....written 2 myself for our chain of burger restaurants....but I'm new to brining/smoking etc. and thought maybe there was some oddity that I didn't know about city water and flora on meat. Brisket is in the brine and you've all cleared up my "slight" fears. Have a great weekend everyone
  12. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    I work in water filtration.  I provide "ultra-pure" water for reasearch labs and analytical labs.  I do a lot of work for pharmaceutical research and development labs.  My machines are also at municipal water test labs.  You think the FDA is nuts?  You should check out some of their regs!    Anyway, when it comes to water, I kind of know what I'm talking about.

    1. NO municipality is knowingly going to let anything harmfull exist in their drinking water.  That would be one major lawsuit waiting to happen.  Is there some stuff in water that can negatively affect some cooking / baking / BREWING processes?  Yeah, namely chlorine, but it is not enough to: A. Hurt you, B. Hurt your meat.  It can do a number on yeast however......

    2. If you are getting "Distilled" or "Reverse Osmosis" water from one of the dispensing stations at a grocery store because it is safer than tap, or "cleaner," stop.  Just don't.  The dispense tubes on those things are so loaded with bacteria you would do just as well to drink from the hose.

    3.  Check your bottled water.  If it says anything like "Bottled from municipal source." You are drinking some other town's tap water.  Dasani water is filtered tap water.  It is also unflavored coke.
  13. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I am with @DaveOmak  that I will not be reading that website if that is what they publish. So your tap water is acceptable for cooking, drinking, bathing, cleaning, etc but not acceptable for a brine? That doesn't make sense.

    Also, the process of scrubbing meat to clean it is only going to promote bacterial growth. Water on its own does not kill bacteria. And bacteria thrives in moist conditions. So when you are sitting there at room temperature scrubbing the meat the bacteria probably thinks it is a spa day and start to grow like crazy.

    Keep the meat cold at all times and chill the brine prior to placing the meat in it and you should be fine.
  14. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    Sons more thing, a cure is designed to kill off all bacteria by making the meat so inhospitable that they can't live there. So who cares if there are a few water bone bugs.t
  15. robcava

    robcava Meat Mopper


    Check this out. Its from this link:

    According to this, washing the turkey does more harm than good. Just throw it in the brine or dry brine it. Cooking will kill the bugs.


    Don't wash your turkey

    Rinsing poultry in the sink cannot remove Salmonellaand Campylobacter  which are often embedded in the muscle. In fact, rinsing makes things worse by splattering contamination onto the sink and counters.

    "There's no reason, from a scientific point of view, to think you're making it any safer, and in fact, you're making it less safe," said researcher Jennifer Quinlan in an interview on NPR. Quinlan is a food safety scientist at Drexel University in Philadelphia. In fact, Drexel has a public service program to educate the public complete with this animation:

    "You should assume that if you have chicken, you have either Salmonella  or Campylobacter  bacteria on it, if not both," said Quinlan. "If you wash it, you're more likely to spray bacteria all over the kitchen and yourself."
  16. robcava

    robcava Meat Mopper

    Oops. I see this thread was for a pastrami brisket but I would bet the same applies
  17. I make my own Corned Venison every year and I have no problem using my well water... I haven't died yet that I'm aware of. I used to use a wet brine but now I use a dry cure made with Morton Tender Quick salt and a host of spices and seasonings. I just rinse the Venison off after I've thawed it to remove any excess blood and place it in a gallon z-loc bag with the mixture and then into the fridge for 7days. Then I give it a good rinse prior to cooking and that's about it. There's no need to scrub the meat prior to putting it in your brine. A rinse maybe but that's it. 

  18. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I always thought that the high salt content in the brine along with the cold temps would kill or inhibit any bacterial growth, and then along with cooking temperatures would kill off any nasties. But, what do I know.
  19. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey Drewed

    You said       "Dasani water is filtered tap water.  It is also unflavored coke."  Explain that please--just curious.

  20. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    The way that they can make coke taste the same no matter where they bottle it is to start with water that tastes the same. The only way to make water taste the same is too purify it compleatly to 2 hydrogen and an oxygen. This is usually accomplished with multiple types of purification including: depth filters ( physical barrier filters - like an oil filter ). Reverse osmosis filters, ion exchange, etc.
    one the water is pure it truly has no taste. At that point minerals and other stuff is added back in and you have bottled water. And Carmel color, sugar, carbonation, and other crap and you get coke - one of my favorite drinks!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2015

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