Safe Smoking

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by eman, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    While packaging all the meat my wife bought home i tried to think of other points to consider for contamination. I try to wash my hands w/ dawn w/ bleach any time im handling raw meat b4 i touch anything after the meat.But i realized that i kept touching the knobs on my faucet w/ contaminated hands then washed hands[​IMG]

      There are so many things that can cause problems that we need to watch out for.
     
  2. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    So, if the slab of meat I'm cooking only gets to 138 after 4 hrs 10 min's, do I throw it out?
     
  3. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    That close i'd eat it. but would i serve it to others????
     
  4. roksmith

    roksmith Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    It's important to understand the bigger picture rather than relying on a set of numbers.

    The food danger zone is indeed 40-140 degrees, but the real danger with BBQ is in letting the meat sit at that temperature after cooking and before you stick the leftovers in the fridge.

    If the meat is still cold when it goes in the smoker you shouldn't have a problem.

    The major danger with bacteria comes from the surface of the meat. After a few hours in the cooker, the surface of the meat will be out of the danger zone regardless of the internal temp. Smoke also retards the growth of bacteria and acts as a preservative. So, if your smoking meat, the concern isn't so much how long it takes to get there, but where it was when you started.

    Since you are cooking to above 165 degrees, the bacteria will be dead.. and if you are starting with cold meat and rolling smoke over it, you will be fine.

    Concern yourself more with the food you leave sitting on the counter for hours before deciding to put it in the fridge.

    If your meat is room temperature before you decide to begin putting it away.. there's your real danger zone.
     
  5. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    what if you have it in the fridge for a week in a zip lock bag? will it still be good? can you put it back in the frezzer?
     
  6. Ok so whats the general rule of thumb for having food sit out before going into the refridge. I'm not talking about like a bowl of fresh made mayo from scratch sitting on the countertop for a condiment. But say a roast after slicing half of it and beginning to eat, then desert, then some chit chat. How long can you go and not even be concerned. After it drops back under say 140 Deg. till you need to start chilling it in the fridge.
     
  7. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great stuff guys! Food safety IS a life or death situation for me. While my immune system is improving, it's still at a critical level and I don't eat out unless I know the chef personally and he knows my situation. I have had to turn down wonderful looking dishes from friends and family because I just can't chance it. Sad, but true. With that said, I'm going to admit that I am a big ole fat food snob. I don't eat out, not only because of health reasons, but because I think (here's the snob part) I can prepare equally or better tasting food than most places (especially the so-called BBQ joints in town). I'm also ashamed to admit it, but I buy paper towels by the motherload pack.

    Also, my doctor recommended the UV-C air sanitizer and UV-C light wand for my kitchen. Worth the money if you're a germaphobe like myself.
     
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I totally understand the food snob comment - we rarely go out to dinner and we are much happier for it - our food normally is way better than any restaurant around here

    I truly love your posts and have saved some of them for future use

    BTW - I sent you a PM if you get a chance to answer
     
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  9. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Squirrel, I'm with you on the eating out, I don't.
     
  10. roksmith

    roksmith Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Not according to foodsafety.gov

    Now.. having said that, we all know that there is always some slop time built in to those numbers. The USDA says 3-4 days for leftover cooked meat in the fridge. That number will slide a little based on how well the food was handled prior to putting it in the fridge. If the food is still above 165 when it goes in the chill chest you can probably expect it will last a little longer. If it's room temp going in, you can expect less. Certainly ALWAYS fully reheat prior to eating. The issue won't be so much with the bacteria, because you will kill those on the reheat, but the toxins left behind. Can't get rid of those by reheating.



     
    You'll need to get it in the fridge earlier than you might think. Once it drops below 140, your clock starts.. the food should be cooled within 2 hours... one hour is it's above 90 degrees.
     
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  11. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's interesting,

    On checking Foodsafety.org, the recommendation for chicken is 165.

    Looking at Health Canada website the recommendation is 165 for pieces, but 185 for whole chicken.
     
  12. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No. Every recommendation I've seen states that you should never refreeze food. Once it's thawed, it needs to be used.

    I'm assuming that you are talking about raw food. If the food was cooked, then there is a chance that it would be OK after a week in the fridge, but it's not a chance I'd want to take.
     
     
  13. abigail4476

    abigail4476 Jeff's Woman SMF Premier Member

    My understanding is that you don't refreeze raw food, but that once it's cooked, you can refreeze it for later use.  We throw everything out if it hasn't been eaten in 3-4 days.   Raw (fresh) meats get tossed if they aren't cooked or frozen within 3 days.  

    We never leave food sitting out more than 30 minutes or so, at a meal.  Pretty much as soon as everyone's finished eating, we cover the perishables and put them in the fridge.   If we have company, I still get up and put food away, and then return to the table.  

    I also say you should trust your nose.  If something smells funky or putrid--even if it's only been in the fridge for a couple of days--throw it away.  Cheeses would be an exception, of course.  [​IMG]

    I do NOT take chances with my family's health.  I want my kids to be able to graze the fridge and be safe eating or cooking whatever is in there--so I toss leftovers in the trash a couple of times a week.  
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  14. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Garbage day is wed and sat here ,So on tue and fri nights anything leftover in the fridge gets tossed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  15. bobcaat

    bobcaat Newbie

    The USDA changed their guidelines on refreezing uncooked meat; it is now considered okay to refreeze previously frozen uncooked meat althought the quality and texture of the meat may suffer due to the loss of moisture.  They also changed their guidelines on rinsing uncooked chicken; they do not recommend rinsing uncooked chicken due to the risk of cross contamination since most people cook chicken well.
     
  16. abigail4476

    abigail4476 Jeff's Woman SMF Premier Member

    I looked it up, and you're correct, but it is conditional:

    "Meat and poultry defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking.  If thawed by other methods, cook before refreezing." --source

    I think I watched or read something awhile back that said it was more dangerous to contaminate your sink area by frequently rinsing raw meat than to use the meat without rinsing.   

    refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other

    methods, cook before refreezing.

    refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other

    methods, cook before refreezing."
     
  17. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    On the other hand.....,

    ALL of our meat is frozen when we buy it, chicken quarters come in 28# boxes (all from American processors) we defrost overnight in the laundry tub, put four in a zip-loc and refreeze, sirloin roasts, defrost and cut into steaks then refreeze, chucks we defrost, grind into hamburger and bag 1# in zip-locs, lamb and pork chops, 25-30 to a bag, defrost enough to separate and then 5-6 to a zip-loc.

    I don't mean to dispute the facts, but there are 150 000 people on this island (not counting the restaurants) all doing the same thing and I haven't heard of any cases of food poisoning in 20 years.

    Please don't misunderstand me, I'm all for safe food handling and I have learned a lot here and have changed how I handle the food, and I don't want to argue or dispute the established ways of the board, ......it just causes me to wonder.

    Gene
     
  18. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I don't doubt what you say. The USDA and FDA  regs are guidelines that they have come up with to keep folks safe. Some may be overkill or they may not. But i know that most govt regs err on the side of caution heavily.
     
  19. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Thanks eman for not crucifying me, I was a little hesitant to post that.

    I hope all who read this understand that I'm not advocating against safe food handling practices, but would you like to see how it is in a third world country?

    Remember when I posted this picture of the roulottes in downtown Papeete?

    [​IMG]

    Take a close look behind Mr Kim's right hand, do you see his plastic cutting board, the paper wrapped handle is his meat cleaver, he cooks from 5:00 PM until 2:00 AM, he cuts up his, raw chicken, beef, pork, and sausage AND bok choy, onions, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, and tomatoes on it, he uses the cleaver to scrape off any thing left and then wipes the cleaver off with the towel that is in his left hand, he's been cooking there for about 5 years, 6 nights a week, and thinks it's perfectly safe and normal.

    Sooo, all of you in the States be grateful you have safety regulations to follow.

    Gene
     
  20. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would ask this; Has anyone gotten sick from Mr. Kims food? You said yourself that he's cooked for 5 yrs and have not mentioned any issue with the food.So what is the problem?
     
     

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