• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Which Danger Zone rule should I follow: 2 hours or 4 hours?

hologos2357

Newbie
1
0
Joined Nov 9, 2019
Hi - I put three slabs of ribs on the smoker today and couldn't get it up over 190-200 for the first 2.75 hours, after which time, i removed, wrapped, and put in the oven at 235. All three slabs measured at least 150 degrees when I removed them from the smoker.

I'm aware of the danger zone rule that instructs not to have meet at 40 - 140 degrees for more than four hours. However, the USDA website seems to indicate that meat shouldn't be in the danger zone for more than 2 hours, and https://www.pork.org/food-safety/cook-pork-safely/ makes the same recommendation. So, why do some folks think 4 hours is okay, while other sources say 2? And which should I follow?

Many thanks in advance!
 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
18,052
2,541
Joined May 12, 2011
2 hours is the general guideline to give time, out of refrigeration, to Prep meat. 4 hours is a guidlines for Ground, Injected, Punctured to add flavorings or Boned and Tied meat. The 4 hours guideline refers to meat that is in the Smoker or Oven at temps greater than 180°F. At a temp of 180 or higher, live Bacteria die when the Surface goes above 150°F for more than a few minutes. ONLY the 2 hour guideline need be followed with Intact Meat, like ribs, butts, hams, Brisket and so on.
In your case Ribs, you would have had 2 hours to get them ready. Trim, Rub, remove the Membrane. I suspect you are faster than that.
Since your Smoker was over 180°F AND the meat was Intact, all bacteria were dead in less than the first 30 minutes. You are Safe...

Here is some much more detailed info on our 40 to 140 in 4 Guideline...JJ

 

phathead69

Smoking Fanatic
450
251
Joined Dec 23, 2016
I'm sure the pros will chime in but 140 in 4 hours applies to ground, or injected meat. Whole muscle meat is doesn't fall under that rule. Take mine with grain of salt. Maybe chef jimmy will chime in
 

S-met

Meat Mopper
239
166
Joined Jul 1, 2019
My interpretation, which I accepted may be wrong, is that this is not directly related to cooking. I realize there are limitations, but when you are actively cooking the internal temp may not have exceeded 140, but the external/ambient air temp is greater. Additionally, the smoke helps preserve as well.
 

paprika pal

Smoke Blower
93
15
Joined Mar 21, 2010
Ground meat is much easier to spoil. Bacteria is on the surface of whole muscle cuts. When meat is ground or injected the surface bacteria is spread throughout the product. That being the case 40F to 140F (4C to 60C) in 4 hours is a good general rule if you are actively heating or cooling. Basically you have 4 hours to travel through the danger zone. If food is left out when cooked it should only be left out for 2 hours max and 1 hour if the ambient temp is above 90F. Remember the size of the food will determine how long it will take to heat or cool. If you put a 10# 200 F pork butt in the fridge it will not cool in 4 hours to below 40F and it will heat the rest of the food as well, possibly causing them to spend time in the danger zone as well.
Sorry for the long post but this is a passion of mine after having contracted salmonella from professionally prepared/served chicken.
Hope this helps.
 

Leggy

Newbie
19
3
Joined Sep 14, 2019
Cold smoking refrigerated chicken wings on my gas grill using pellets tube. Planning to smoke the whole quantity, around 150 wings, together while grill is off for 30-45 minutes then lift half of it and grill the rest until finish then grill the remaining lifted half.
Outside temp is around 70s.

Is it safe or the ones lifted after cold smoking and waiting for 30 minutes to be grilled are big no no?
 

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
18,052
2,541
Joined May 12, 2011
YES, it can be Safe...IF...At 70°F, you make sure you go from Refer to Cooking in 2 hours or less. Then you will be fine...JJ
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying! (But that's how we keep the lights on.)

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks