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Unread 03-23-2008, 02:58 PM   #1
eagle697
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Default meat temps prior to smoking

If this belongs in the competition or food handling feel free to move. I wasn't sure where to put it.

I am still unpacking from a competition this weekend and noticed some things that really bothered me. This was the first time i have attended a cooks meeting and noticed them telling everyone that they must be aware and follow all state and local food service regulations. My wife is a state health inspector and she holds our feet to the fire when it comes to this stuff. But, i noticed a number of teams that do things that i found quite questionable and was wondering if this is common practice. I have always kept my meat below in a cooler until it was time to start smoking. It may sit out for 10-15 minutes but eh temperature is still below 40. I noticed several teams that left their meat sitting out for a few hours (one guy even over night). I was talking to someone about it and he said they did it because they like the meat temp higher at the beginning of the smoke to increase taste and tenderness. I asked my wife and she said this would be a violation of the health regs if the meat was above 40.

Is this a common practice in competitions or even in backyards? I have no problem letting a steak heat up to room temperature before i grill it, but letting larger cuts of meat sit for hours scares me. Any info or feedback would be great. Thanks
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Unread 03-23-2008, 03:00 PM   #2
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I like to smoke em cold.
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Unread 03-23-2008, 03:04 PM   #3
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Serve safe follower here. Refrigerated until shortly before time to go in the cooker. I will let beef sit out a bit, but not hours.
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Unread 03-23-2008, 03:11 PM   #4
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one of these guys let his meat out overnight when he left for the hotel. I've seen him do it before too.
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Unread 03-23-2008, 03:16 PM   #5
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Don't eat anything he serves you.
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Unread 03-23-2008, 03:20 PM   #6
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I just hope he doesn't do that at his restaurant.
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Unread 03-23-2008, 03:25 PM   #7
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ooooooooooohhhhhh!!
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Unread 03-23-2008, 04:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle697 View Post
one of these guys let his meat out overnight when he left for the hotel. I've seen him do it before too.
1) Hotel ?!??!?! What kind of comp is this?

2) This is bad, bad form at best, and irresponsible and dangerous at worst.
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Unread 03-23-2008, 04:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G$ View Post
1) Hotel ?!??!?! What kind of comp is this?

2) This is bad, bad form at best, and irresponsible and dangerous at worst.
i have seen this one guy at two competitions and at each he comes in late Friday afternoon and preps through the evening and leaves for the hotel for the night. They return around 5 and start to cook. I may be wrong about it, but swear i saw him out the meat in the pans, cover with foil and leave on the table.

I saw several other teams let their pork and brisket sit for 2-4 hours though. not much better IMO. Granted it was a cool evening, but i asked if they always did that and they said yes. I would never serve anyone food i let sit out like that, even if i thought it would help the flavor and texture.
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Unread 03-23-2008, 04:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_KY View Post
I like to smoke em cold.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Serve safe follower here. Refrigerated until shortly before time to go in the cooker. I will let beef sit out a bit, but not hours.
^^^ What they said!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle697 View Post
i have seen this one guy at two competitions and at each he comes in late Friday afternoon and preps through the evening and leaves for the hotel for the night. They return around 5 and start to cook. I may be wrong about it, but swear i saw him out the meat in the pans, cover with foil and leave on the table.

I saw several other teams let their pork and brisket sit for 2-4 hours though. not much better IMO. Granted it was a cool evening, but i asked if they always did that and they said yes. I would never serve anyone food i let sit out like that, even if i thought it would help the flavor and texture.
Please warn me what comps he is doing so I can avoid judging them!!!!
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Unread 03-23-2008, 05:01 PM   #11
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Man that is just wrong! I went to a comp one time and both of my butts were frozen solid. Had to do the water thaw on them and I hated having them sitting out in water, although that is a recommended way to thaw meat. I would stear clear from these teams.
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Unread 03-23-2008, 09:26 PM   #12
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While I won't do this, i was mainly asking to see if it was widely done so as not to worry when i see it done. I have only been to a few competitions and was concerned and curious if this was a widespread practice.
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Unread 03-24-2008, 08:29 AM   #13
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Definately not something that I do for more than say half an hour. We prep meat at a contest and it goes right back in the cooler. It may come out no more than a half hour before going in.

Let's break this rule down though. Inside the danger zone bacteria doubles every 20 minutes. If you have a large cut of meat the bacteria will only be present on the outside unless of course you have poked it as probably does happen at a comp with injections.

Cooking the food will kill the cooties. Especially at the temperatures that we take food to. We aren't talking going to 165 internal or even 140 internal for beef or anything close to that. We are getting it close to 200 on the inside. Well above any regulations concerning food safety and that will kill pretty much everything.

The REAL danger lies in the cooling. Regulations say that cooling must go from 140 to 40 in 6 hours with the first two hours of that cooling dropping it below 70 and taking the remaining 4 hours for the 70 to 40 drop.

Here is the reason. In the range from 140 down to 70 any cooties that will be on there are alive and kicking. The biggest problem is that at that range they go into survival mode and create spore pods. It think that is what they are called. These spore pods are impenetrable by water and survive much greater extremes than the host cootie. In order to kill these things they must be taken to boiling temperatures for a minimum of 15 minutes or better. This is something that we do NOT do with our meat.

In short, a half hour or so on the table before cooking is not percieved as a problem, the over night thing is way off base and maybe should be brought to the attention of someone.

Chicken however spends as little time on the table as possible, and may be 10 minutes tops on the table before going into the cooker. Except for the one time that I did accidentally leave it out, but it was indeed a cold night. Purposelly leaving food out for any extended period of time is a no-no.
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Unread 03-24-2008, 08:38 AM   #14
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^^^ Words to live by ^^^
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Unread 03-24-2008, 08:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parrothead View Post
The REAL danger lies in the cooling.
Exactly.

The reason for letting a piece of meat get to room temp is so that it does not change the fibers of the meat rapidly, which can effect the meats tenderness and moisture. But when you are smoking it is such a slow process that you wouldn't notice. But on a steak I think its more effective because of the rapid change. So I let me steaks set out a while.
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