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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Old 09-25-2017, 06:12 PM   #1
southside66
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Default Pork temp help please

Smoked 75lbs of Q yesterday and vacuumed sealed them and put them in my spare fridge around 8pm. Came home from work this evening around 6 went to put the Q in the freezer and it didn't feel as cold as it should be. Checked the temp of the fridge and it checked around 47 degrees...probed my pork and it checked 54 degrees..Is it junk and need to be tossed??
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Old 09-25-2017, 06:27 PM   #2
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Yes. Too long in the danger zone. Probably never reached below 40F. Sounds like you put too much hot stuff in the freezer and raised the temp of the freezer.
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Old 09-25-2017, 08:30 PM   #3
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For things I'm cooking ahead and freezing for reheat later, I try to get them from 150° to below 40° as quickly as possible. For me it means plunging vacuum bags or large zipper bags into an ice water slurry in a 100 Qt cooler. After about 30 or 40 minutes the meats have chilled nicely. I just dry the bags and move to the freezer.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:42 AM   #4
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Need to bring temp from 140 to 70 in 2hrs, then down to 40 in 4hrs.
Let it cool before you vacuum seal, what you did was seal in the heat.
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdeye View Post
For things I'm cooking ahead and freezing for reheat later, I try to get them from 150° to below 40° as quickly as possible. For me it means plunging vacuum bags or large zipper bags into an ice water slurry in a 100 Qt cooler. After about 30 or 40 minutes the meats have chilled nicely. I just dry the bags and move to the freezer.

+ 1 ^ I also submerse the sealed bags into ice for an hour or more to quickly drop the temperature before going into the refrigerator or freezer.

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Old 09-28-2017, 07:11 PM   #6
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22 hours and still not cold enough.

Toss it. It's an expensive lesson, but it's certainly one you will never forget.

Since you vacuum seal anyway, the suggestion above is spot on. Seal it & slide the bag(s) into a cooler filled with ice and enough water to float said ice. This ice/water slurry is the most efficient way to cool items.

The other, harder to achieve at home way, would be to place the items on the top shelf in a commercial reefer and allow the cold air from the condenser to blow across them. Like I said, not a good option for home cooks. It's best to use this method pre-vacuum seeling.

Using a residential refrigerator to cool any large chunk of meat is usually very iffy...much less multiple pieces like the butts in question. Not only do the butts not get cold enough, fast enough...but the other items in the fridge warm up, and you tax the condenser by having it stay on for extended periods. You also may want to check the actual fridge temp after you take the butts out. Let it run for an hour and temp it. If it's not cold enough, check the coils on the back to see if they have any ice on them. If so, you'll need to unplug and let it defrost...then plug back in and see if the temp recovers.

Sorry you lost all that meat, but it's not safe to keep.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:30 AM   #7
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I don't doubt the science behind the answers to this question; but it does raise another question in my mind. I have always been told that the original purpose of smoking meat was to allow it to keep longer in the days before we even had refrigeration.

I was in the third grade before my family even owned an electric refrigerator with a freezer. The freezer was a small inclosure inside the main refrigerator. It's primary purpose was to make ice cubes in water filled trays. It certainly wasn't large enough for food storage. Prior to getting this modern marvel, we had an ice box that was dependent upon a couple of weekly deliveries from the ice man.

We didn't own grills or smokers; but we did have a smokehouse in the back yard. I don't remember much about it, or how it worked; because I didn't like to go inside it. It always caused my eyes to burn. I do remember that my Dad would bring in large chunks of meat and slice enough for a meal...then the original chunk would be returned to the smokehouse. Often, when he sliced too much meat for a single meal, the leftovers would be put on a plate; and placed on the kitchen table. The plate would normally be covered with a clean dish towel to protect it from flies. The meat would either be consumed as snacks; or if there was enough, it might become part of the next day's meal.

Now, here's the question in my mind: Why am I not dead yet?
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:14 AM   #8
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there is a big difference between curing then smoking as a preservation method and bbq as a cooking method.
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:43 PM   #9
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I'm in WI so the regs might be different but my understanding is that it cannot be sealed until it is below 70 and has to be brought down to 40 within 4 hrs of the time it came off the heat. Leaving the bag open allows for venting and faster cooling. Sorry you lost all that product that's a punch in the gut
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W.I.T.W.A.G? View Post
I'm in WI so the regs might be different but my understanding is that it cannot be sealed until it is below 70 and has to be brought down to 40 within 4 hrs of the time it came off the heat. Leaving the bag open allows for venting and faster cooling. Sorry you lost all that product that's a punch in the gut
If we assume the danger zone is 140° to 40° I would think the clock would start ticking the minute it cooled to 139°, so giving it time to fall to 70°, then allowing 4 more hours to get to 40° would be longer than hours which I thought was the gospel so to speak. If you find the source for that reg, please let us know.

It's my understanding that covering or bagging food for storage that is too warm can lead to condensation in the container or packaging which is not good, so maybe the purpose of the regulation is somehow addressing that?
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:46 PM   #11
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Food safety is the same no matter what state you live in, bacteria doesn't know your zipcode. FDA regulation, which most state regulations are based on, is 2hrs from 140 to 70, then 4hrs from 70 below 41. Time starts when food hits 140 not when removed from heat. Covering food traps heat in and doesn't allow for air flow to properly reduce the temperature quickly. Think about a fan on a hot summer day, it makes you feel cooler because of the air circulation. When food is in a restricted space rather than spread out it takes longer to cool down. A shallow pond will always freeze faster than a deep lake. So if you are cooling food it is best to be spread out and left uncovered.
Also FDA is probably going to be changing it from 140 to 135, however most states are not changing it, and you always go with the more restrictive regs if you fall under state and fed inspections.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynotfehc View Post
Also FDA is probably going to be changing it from 140 to 135, however most states are not changing it, and you always go with the more restrictive regs if you fall under state and fed inspections.
Actually it is 135...and has been for years.
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