This came up in a thread the other day about getting above 140 in 4 hrs. I sent an email to USDA to see if they had any standards. I used 6-7 hrs to exaggerate. Take it for what it's worth, it's there guide lines.
Subject: Message from Internet User - smoking meats danger zone
I get my smoker to 250*, before I put my meats on. Sometimes the meat will take longer than 4 hours to reach an internal temp of 140*. As long as my smoker is keeping temps above 225*, how long is it safe to still
keep smoking the meat? If it takes 6-7 hrs to reach 140*, is it still ok
to eat,as long as I get the internal temp over 160*?
Thanks,in advance for your time.
Thank you for writing the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline.
As long as the smoker is at least 225 degrees F it is safe. The amount
of time it takes for food to cook in a smoker can vary widely, and when
it is cold outside it can take longer to cook as well. The most
important thing is that you monitor the temperature of the smoker and
the internal temperature of the food you are cookng. If the smoker stays
at 225 or higher, the food is safe to eat, no matter how long it takes
We have more information at:
Meat and Poultry Hotline Webmaster
To speak to a Food Safety Specialist,
call the Hotline at 1-888-674-6854
Food safety information is also available 24/7, by going to "Ask Karen,"
our automated virtual representative at www.askkaren.gov
. You may type
your food safety question directly into the automated virtual