Can I Eat It: Cooked Meat Edition
May 6, 2014 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Is it OK to eat carnitas that has been sitting out overnight?

I didn't clean the kitchen before bed last night and left out a ziploc baggie of un-shredded carnitas (so, basically roast pork). I bought it on Friday, used most of it in a recipe, and it was in the fridge between Friday night and Monday evening.

Because it's still in the plastic bag and not shredded, it's not dried out or anything. I'm more worried about food safety than taste, as I will know immediately if it doesn't taste good.

I am not that squeamish about food safety, which is why I throw it to you guys, the voices of hygienic reason.
posted by Sara C. to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've eaten exactly that, so yes, I would eat it. I'm assuming your kitchen is reasonably cool.
posted by rtha at 10:45 AM on May 6

I would not eat this. If it had been cooked Monday night and then left on the counter, I might have. But the 72 hours in the fridge would still have given the nasties a time to grow (however slowly) before sitting in the danger zone for 8-ish hours.

72 hours in the fridge is already pushing's recommendation for cooked pork (3-4 days)
posted by sparklemotion at 10:46 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]

Other people will say no, but I fairly routinely do things like that.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:46 AM on May 6

Anything to do with pork at room temperature for that long I would throw out.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 10:49 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]

Upside some tasty carnitas, downside a couple days in the bathroom.
Oddsmakers say dump it.
posted by jcworth at 10:56 AM on May 6

Do not do this.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:58 AM on May 6

Pork? No.
posted by sweetkid at 10:58 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]

I've also done things like this and suffered no ill effect.
posted by quince at 11:07 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]

I would totally eat it. People get paranoid about pork because of trichinosis, but that requires a specific combination of improper slaughtering and undercooking that is basically unheard of in developed countries in recent decades. I would not think twice about eating this.
posted by Scientist at 11:24 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]

Properly made carnitas are basically confit'd - cooked in its own fat - and I have way less hesitation eating pork prepared this way than I would chicken cooked pretty much any way and left out overnight.
posted by rtha at 11:29 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]

I'd eat it. Especially if you shred it and recook it (I recommend tossing with sauce and throwing it under the broiler to crisp up a bit, regardless of whether it sat out overnight).
posted by melissasaurus at 11:30 AM on May 6

Yersinia enterocolitica, enterococcus, staph, salmonella, and listeria, bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and the drug ractopamine: All found in pork in the US. What are you saving by taking this risk -- a few dollars? What do you lose if you bet wrong?
posted by Houstonian at 11:33 AM on May 6

I have a weak, sad stomach and I would eat this without hesitation unless it was really hot in my kitchen (this could be why I have a weak, sad stomach though, so maybe don't weigh my vote too heavily).
posted by vakker at 11:38 AM on May 6

Well, I'm eating it. It's delicious. Stay tuned.
posted by Sara C. at 11:41 AM on May 6 [12 favorites]

In an hour, 13 people responded:
6: Do not eat
6: I would eat it
1: I would eat it, but I have a weak, sad stomach so don't weigh my vote heavily

Which argument swayed you over to the "eat it" side?
posted by Houstonian at 11:45 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't eat it.

Which argument swayed you over to the "eat it" side?

posted by Jahaza at 12:18 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]

My favorite recipe for jerky (though beef) involves leaving it raw, sitting out to dry for days. I'd be much more concerned about a warm starchy substance left out, such as rice or potatoes.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 1:11 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]

I would have eaten it, too.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:40 PM on May 6

I bought it on Friday, used most of it in a recipe, and it was in the fridge between Friday night and Monday evening.

Are you saying you bought the carnitas pre-made? What kind of packaging were they in? This increases the probable fridge time for a couple days to much longer. Did you heat the entire batch, or are the leftovers still essentially straight from the package? If they are, I'd be wary about them, but my tolerance for taste changes is lower than my stomach's tolerance for questionable food.
posted by WasabiFlux at 2:42 PM on May 6

I would have eaten it as well. Good on you!
posted by Carillon at 4:19 PM on May 6

It's confit and if it was marinated in sour orange juice first it also has a lower than normal pH

Also no one has gotten trichinosis from a commercial pig in years.
posted by JPD at 4:36 PM on May 6

girl you in danger
posted by elizardbits at 5:49 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]

You can eat it. You did eat it. You'll be fine.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:05 PM on May 6

My thought was the same as rtha and JPD - it's essentially confit. I would have totally eaten it.
posted by odin53 at 7:08 PM on May 6

Come back and let us know if you're dead or not.
posted by rtha at 7:54 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]

I'm alive and feeling better than ever. Verdict: EAT IT.
posted by Sara C. at 7:34 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


But seriously, in this situation I would ask myself what is at risk.

The worst thing to happen if I DON'T eat it is that I waste some yummy God, I like pork.

But, if I DO eat it, the most likely thing to happen is nothing with a mild case of food poisoning coming in a close second. The fact that carnitas is really heavily cooked makes me sure that any food poisoning would have to be introduced by a fly or other airborne thing and then would have to grow pretty fast to reach a nasty level. But, the worst thing that could happen is I spend the next three weeks in the hospital ICU having unspeakable things coming out of every orifice and I am moderately handicapped for the rest of my life.

Hey...up to you!
posted by BearClaw6 at 11:52 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]

yeah and I got strep throat that did the same thing to me - was in the hospital for a week, ICU for several days. At 37 and completely healthy.

And after a life time of eating food left out over night and all sorts of raw meats and seafood.

You can't live your life managing for tiny risks.
posted by JPD at 2:18 PM on May 7

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