Unoriginal question no. 935702
June 28, 2010 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Is it safe to eat meat that has thawed and been in room temperature for about 6 hours, and then refrigerated again?

Though the situation of leaving already cooked food out overnight isn't exactly the situation I'm dealing with, I feel that according to this link, the answer would be to not eat the meat. But, it was expensive natural buffalo meat, and I'm broke. Can I still cook it and eat it without increased risk of getting sick?
posted by DeltaForce to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
Yes! I suggest you stew it, though.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:13 AM on June 29, 2010

I've done it many times and I'm still quite alive. YMMV
posted by Geppp at 12:14 AM on June 29, 2010

Cook it thoroughly, cook it soon and you'll live (probably).
posted by herrtodd at 12:20 AM on June 29, 2010

Unless it's 90 degrees in your house it's fine. If you're worried about spoilage cut the outside off.
posted by fshgrl at 12:35 AM on June 29, 2010

No. There will be an increased risk of getting sick. "Increased risk" means the chances will be higher, not that you will certainly get sick - hence the responses from people who have done this before and not had a problem.

If the meat has been left at room temperature for this long, cooking it thoroughly is not necessarily sufficient to make it safe. Cooking it will kill the bacteria but it won't get rid of the toxins produced by the bacteria, which is what could make you sick.

The risk will be increased further if the meat has previously been at unsafe temperatures, for example, before it was frozen.

It's a gamble.
posted by emilyw at 1:55 AM on June 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Emilyw is correct. You may not get sick but after 4 hours at room temp your risk is significantly increased. I would not eat it.
posted by saradarlin at 4:54 AM on June 29, 2010

HACCP says 2-hour window time for preparation and service. Outside of those two hours, they either want it in a fridge or on a grill (or similar heatsource). Outside of the two hour total time, you are in a period of greater risk.

With frozen meats you'll see folks 'slack' their meat on the counter (for 3-4 hours), meaning that the external surface has spent 2 hours in a dangerous period, while the center may be only recently thawed.

To improve thawing meats, put the meat in a bowl and run cold water over the meat (filling the bowl and draining into your sink). Run the water at a very low drip so that there is always water dripping out of the faucet and bowl

Other things can modify life of the meat. Ground meats are more dangerous because the meat has had any surface bacteria churned evenly throughout (in other words, grind as close to service as possible). Blood can drain and pool and ultimately seems to go bad faster than the meat itself.

Ultimately though, this is for you - and not a restaurant. Were I in your shoes, I might get a thermometer, check the core of the meat, press on it, smell it, look at it, and otherwise do an A*B compare with when I bought it. If any part feet questionable, then really there shouldn't be a question as to what should be done with it.

Don't buy food you aren't willing to part with.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:03 AM on June 29, 2010

Sear the outside with an intensely hot pan and stew the sucker overnight in red wine. Delicious. Call it a lesson if you get sick, but I imagine you'll be fine.
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:11 AM on June 29, 2010

Beef (or buffalo) I would say yes, as long as it's a whole piece and not ground, and I would agree with cooking it thoroughly rather than serving rare. Chicken or pork I would say no. But that's just me.
posted by cabingirl at 8:35 AM on June 29, 2010

Strictly, no. 4 hours is the cutoff, but I'd eat it and not get sick.
posted by cmoj at 9:25 AM on June 29, 2010

There's certainly an increased risk of getting sick, but in your shoes, I would most definitely eat it.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:55 AM on June 29, 2010

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