Pork butt safe to eat? (w/ temp graph)

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I believe in the science of killing surface bacteria in this example of using heat when barbecuing. But in your case, the meat stayed in the higher multiplication temperature zones long enough that you had a higher population of baddies than I feel comfortable with eliminating. Granted, the baddies will become less active as the surface temp rises past 120°, and they will die as the surface temp rises above 140°.

My standard drill on long cooks, especially overnight cooks is to make sure the pit is running well enough for me to walk away for a while, or catch a few ZZZZ's. And that first 2-hours is really important to me, so I would toss it.
I think I'm leaning towards tossing it. My only hang-up is the external temp of the meat (internal temp of the smoker) got to 140° in the first two hours and never dipped below it again. I added the yellow line in the attached graph. I don't know exactly where 140° is, but that yellow is close to halfway between 125° and 188°, which would be 156+. You can see it got to there in the first two hours and never dipped below. Another example I saw someone post is a whole pig getting roasted, which I could see not getting to 140° internal in the first 4 hours.
 

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I agree with what tripleeye has said....with a caveat.

What did you do to the surface of the pork butt as far as rub, etc...

if you used mustard-it is very acidic as it contains vinegar. which would help to slow bacterial growth on the surface of the meat.

Salt- most rubs contain salt, and a lot of rub would normally be applied to the surface of the pork butt . This concentration of salt at the surface would further inhibit bacterial growth.

Smoke- it has strong anti microbial effects, and as it accumulates on the surface, it further inhibits bacterial growth.

Would be different were it a naked pork butt-I'd throw that out. but a seasoned pork butt, nope- I'd et it. I've gone way off into the weeds with dry curing meats and the meat science involved so I'd eat a pork butt that I seasoned with a rub no question....
 
I agree with what tripleeye has said....with a caveat.

What did you do to the surface of the pork butt as far as rub, etc...

if you used mustard-it is very acidic as it contains vinegar. which would help to slow bacterial growth on the surface of the meat.

Salt- most rubs contain salt, and a lot of rub would normally be applied to the surface of the pork butt . This concentration of salt at the surface would further inhibit bacterial growth.

Smoke- it has strong anti microbial effects, and as it accumulates on the surface, it further inhibits bacterial growth.

Would be different were it a naked pork butt-I'd throw that out. but a seasoned pork butt, nope- I'd et it. I've gone way off into the weeds with dry curing meats and the meat science involved so I'd eat a pork butt that I seasoned with a rub no question....
Thanks. I didn't do mustard or any other binder, but I did go heavy on the salt in the rub. And obviously smoke.
 
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I agree with what tripleeye has said....with a caveat.

What did you do to the surface of the pork butt as far as rub, etc...

if you used mustard-it is very acidic as it contains vinegar. which would help to slow bacterial growth on the surface of the meat.

Salt- most rubs contain salt, and a lot of rub would normally be applied to the surface of the pork butt . This concentration of salt at the surface would further inhibit bacterial growth.

Smoke- it has strong anti microbial effects, and as it accumulates on the surface, it further inhibits bacterial growth.

Would be different were it a naked pork butt-I'd throw that out. but a seasoned pork butt, nope- I'd et it. I've gone way off into the weeds with dry curing meats and the meat science involved so I'd eat a pork butt that I seasoned with a rub no question....
Sound idea. But with no proof of the amount of rub. Or coverage. I'll agree to disagree. I highly respect your experience.
 
Air temp and surface temp don’t have an instant correlation, especially with a protein with some mass.

In the engineering world we use performance specs to reliably achieve the desired result based on easily testable things……ie moisture content in soil and x number of passes with a certain type of machine…..

In the food world it’s “guidelines”. These guidelines are conservative because of the risk. Food born illness can cause serious illness and loss of life. I’m not trying to scare you or anyone else but this is reality.

It is possible that the surface reached a killing temp, it’s also possible that it took a while longer. Everyone has their own personal guidelines on smoking but your cook is in the gray area and it’s difficult to say with certainly it’s not an issue. Again if you are ok with it it’s your call, but according to the “guidelines” you will be at a higher risk……you have some very respected very experienced members on both sides of the fence…. That should say something……

Now I’m going to share some performance spec so these treads reduce……if you want to smoke lower than 225 to get some more smoke…….

1- preheat your smoker to 225 put the protein in for 45-60 min then drop the temp and don’t worry about it……

2- smoke at 225 and add a second pellet tube

3- if you HAVE to start at 200 then make sure the smoker is preheated and add a hot pan of boiling water pan with it….

4- if the meat is anything other than whole never go below 225….

If these performance specs are followed then no issues or questions other than where are the pics….
 
Well a big chunk of meat is a heat sink, it sucks the heat in, I wouldn't bet the outside hit temp in time, you would think so but the inner temp can the temp lower than you might think, good luck and I understand but the old saying is spot on, had food poisoning 2 times but not from home cooking,
 
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Another thing I'd add is that IT generally lags behind pit temp by 15 or 20°. I do not know if the same can be said for surface temp. Maybe someone else does.
 
Sound idea. But with no proof of the amount of rub. Or coverage. I'll agree to disagree. I highly respect your experience.
That's the thing really....I know how I season a pork butt, and I'd feel fine eating it, but only the O.P. can make that call.
That's what makes these sort of help threads difficult.
 
Thanks. I didn't do mustard or any other binder, but I did go heavy on the salt in the rub. And obviously smoke.
Only you can make the call.... You know how you seasoned it.

Also, I will post this:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7408453/

Prepared Mustard has Tumeric in it. And Tumeric has proven antimicrobial properties so there is something to be said for using it as a binder. I don't knock anyone that chooses to do so.....
 
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You've definitely got enough information in this thread to make your decision, I don't have much to add.

I agree with indaswamp indaswamp , that surface prep would play a factor as well. If these were mine I'd likely chance them, although I may not serve them to others. Would probably be my work lunch for the next few weeks. That being said, I also dry brine mine overnight with restaurant quantities of salt, so I personally wouldn't be worried as much about surface bacteria.

My biggest concern here is how accurate is your pit boss thermometer? I've measured my smoker against both my thermoworks and can generally trust the smoker readout and know how far the back of the smoker lags to the front. If you haven't tested this against a trusted thermometer I'd be concerned that the pit boss is reading say 20d higher than your actual temps.
 
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Prepared Mustard has Tumeric in it. And Tumeric has proven antimicrobial properties so there is something to be said for using it as a binder. I don't knock anyone that chooses to do so.....
Even mustard without tumeric is anti-microbial. I use my home made ballpark mustard (which doesn't always have tumeric) as a base layer for my rubs and de-heated mustard in my sausages for that very reason.

 
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One thing I can say with full confidence is that the kill temp. is lowered as acidity and salt level increase. This is per research by the USDA for pasteurization of dry cured salami. But again, this is off into the weeds so to say as it pertains to this thread.
 
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Good note on thermometer accuracy.....
When I first saw the graph, my first thought was the therms are off by 25-30 degrees. The meat graph looks like a stall from the 125 degree mark but?? Too many variables for me though……both me and the wife experienced food poisoning just this week…. She got way sick (freaked us out cause of her disc surgery recovery)….i had one bite of hers and it hit both us within 15 mins apart…..(it wasn’t from home cooking). Worshiping the porcelain bowl is still too soon……

I have processed lots of wild game that have been processed under less that ideal circumstances….ie miles into the wilderness under warm conditions…..these have been vinegar washed once at home and before aging….

Good luck with your decision……it’s a bummer when your efforts don’t turn out……been there more than once……
 
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One thing I can say with full confidence is that the kill temp. is lowered as acidity and salt level increase. This is per research by the USDA for pasteurization of dry cured salami. But again, this is off into the weeds so to say as it pertains to this thread.
What is appropriate is proper prep before smoking. I know I fully dry my butts and then salt, then mostly use a mustard binder and then rub.

Just also going to add I would eat any thing indaswamp indaswamp makes or smokes! thirdeye thirdeye too!
 
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I'm in the thermometer accuracy camp , both cook chamber temp and probe temp. ( have they actually ever been tested or calibrated) Could be off another 5-10° which could make matters even worse. I know where they would be if they were mine.
 
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Confused yet. I know I would be and I've been a member here for a while. The biggest issue as you can plainly see is that there isn't one definitive answer. There are just too many variables involved in situations like this, and everyone of the suggestions offered above are both correct and incorrect at the same time. We only know what you have presented to us. Take the information we've provided and apply it to your situation. Come up with a conclusion that you'll be happy with, and let us know.

If for some reason the wrong decision is made. Then we can always start a Go-Fund-Me page for the purchase of additional toilet paper. :emoji_wink::emoji_laughing: (just kidding)

Chris
 
Moral of the story, stop reading crap on the internet and starting meat at 200* so you can comfortably leave it and go sleep. Personally I have no sympathy here. I’m actually tired of the threads of this nature. It reckless to cook at 200* in an outside smoker, doable but still reckless, it’s irresponsible to cook at 200* at night then walk away and go to bed. You got what was deserved, IMHO.

Can this cook be done safely and comfortably? Sure it can, but not from your bed. Never.
 
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