Can I eat this cooked chicken I left on our counter?
May 30, 2013 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Dish of fully cooked kosher chicken parts in barbecue sauce left on kitchen counter uncovered overnight (approx 12-14 hours). The apartment isn't air conditioned, but it stays reasonably cool, so I don't think internal apartment temp got up to the 80-some degrees the outside sdid last night. Chicken bits were in a single layer in a pyrex dish. Can I eat it? My spouse threw them back in the fridge this morning. I know the FDA would recommend against, but I'm looking for the hive mind.
posted by mccn to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think the answer to most of these questions is "you'll be fine, eat it" but a chicken left sitting out for 14 hours in 75-80 degree temps? Yeah, toss that stuff.
posted by Justinian at 3:06 PM on May 30, 2013 [17 favorites]


Chicken? No.
posted by holgate at 3:10 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nope.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:10 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nooooooooooooooooooooo. Do not eat this.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 3:13 PM on May 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


12-14 hours? NO WAY
posted by Joh at 3:15 PM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Y'all have scared me off the chicken parts. Just to clarify, I meant, inside our apartment was cooler than the 78 degrees it was on the sidewalk last night, not that I think the chicken was cooler than 78 degrees! But it sounds like that doesn't matter!
posted by mccn at 3:17 PM on May 30, 2013


No you will get sick.
posted by confusedgirl85 at 3:18 PM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


100% NO.
posted by HotToddy at 3:21 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


For future reference, the Food Temperature Danger Zone is 40-140°F, which your house ambient temperature almost certainly is. The FDA cautions that perishable food shouldn't spend more than an hour transitioning up or down through this temperature range (from fridge to cooked, and from cooked back to the fridge). Even though I find the FDA to be (understandably) conservative in their estimates of food safety, chicken spending 5-10 hours in the Danger Zone is past my tolerance.
posted by muddgirl at 3:21 PM on May 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ugh no no no. Unless this is literally the last food within a 10 mile radius of you, do not eat it. Even then I would suggest going that 11th mile for something else.
posted by elizardbits at 3:23 PM on May 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


I meant USDA - here is a direct link to their fact sheet
posted by muddgirl at 3:31 PM on May 30, 2013


Uncovered, unrefrigerated chicken overnight - nope.
posted by heyjude at 3:36 PM on May 30, 2013


Oh hell no.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:05 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm usually on the 'she'll be right mate' end of things but GOD NO PLEASE NO.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:35 PM on May 30, 2013


Please throw this out. Trust me. I have seen the results of ignoring that advice and it was....hard to clean up after.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:36 PM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chicken? No way.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:11 PM on May 30, 2013


Nope, sorry
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:23 PM on May 30, 2013


I'm the kind of person who buys lunch at work and leaves 1/3rd of it on my desk for 8 hours, then Homer Simpsons and goes "MMMM, foood" and eats it anyways. I also used to work at a fast food restaurant and would eat some rather gross stuff that was left out on the regular, which segwayed in to college flophouse living where i'd eat essentially anything.

It's like the thunderdome in my stomach, garbage goes in, but nothing bad happens pretty much ever.

That said, Even my slobbier friends wouldn't eat this, much less myself. There would be much whining and moaning about how it was a waste but that shit would go straight in the garbage/yard waste/compost.

I am probably the worst person to ask this type of thing. I've pulled pizzas out of the garbage can at a public park and eaten them. and i'm STILL saying OH GOD NO.
posted by emptythought at 5:28 PM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Did you cook it properly?

Would you eat it if it was beef?

Chicken doesn't rot faster than beef like fish does. If you cooked out the risk of salmonella its dead. It doesn't spontaneously occur.

Look I'm not saying that its a good idea - I'm just saying chicken gets a bad rap because the uncooked portion has a tendency to cause some serious issues on occasion. Properly cooked chicken causes a lot less so.

Now, barbecue sauce also does something pretty good for you as well. Sugars actually inhibit microbial growth. Once again, I'm not saying that I'd eat it necessarily - unless it was frickin' awesome - then honestly - its worth any risk.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:20 PM on May 30, 2013


I don't think you should eat it if it was beef, either. Also, barbeque sauce is not the same thing as a sugar cure.
posted by muddgirl at 6:27 PM on May 30, 2013


If you cooked out the risk of salmonella its dead. It doesn't spontaneously occur...Now, barbecue sauce also does something pretty good for you as well. Sugars actually inhibit microbial growth. Once again, I'm not saying that I'd eat it necessarily - unless it was frickin' awesome - then honestly - its worth any risk.

Microorganisms are everywhere. Everywhere. Even if you cooked something, it's easy for other little guys hanging out in your kitchen to colonize your chicken. I just came home from recombinant DNA technology lab, and we have to be careful about how much we expose our petri dishes to air. We also throw out things like pipet tips if they so much as touch the counter, because they would contaminate our samples.

Also, the concentration of sugar and salt in barbecue sauce is probably not enough to inhibit the growth of the bacteria on your chicken.
posted by topoisomerase at 6:51 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I HAVE eaten chicken sitting out(side!) in tropical temperatures for 12+ hours and not gotten sick. So it's possible. But I only did it because I was on a tiny island with no refrigeration, it was what everyone did, and there was no other food on offer at all. At all. And I was hungry.

I would normally answer "just eat it" to almost any "Can I eat this" question, but even I would say "no" to this one. Sorry, dude. You could try and you probably wouldn't get sick. But the chances that you will are not small, and chicken food poisoning is just not worth that sort of risk when you have other options.
posted by lollusc at 8:37 PM on May 30, 2013


I ate some cooked chicken that sat out for 10 hours yesterday and was fine.
posted by Joe Chip at 10:45 PM on May 30, 2013


I would probably eat this. I do not make great decisions about what to put in my food hole and have an iron stomach to boot. In fact, I'd wash it down with 3 ounces of Jim Beam.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:15 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eat it. Just put loads of hot sauce on it.
posted by oxford blue at 2:37 AM on May 31, 2013


Left uncovered? No, nonono. Take a look at all the little buggers around your house. Those are the ones you can see. There are more of them, especially when it is dark and there is no immediate human-scent around and there is a prime source of nourishment.

Just imagine cockroaches, which feast on dung, walking on your chicken. Yeah. Throw it out.

FYI, I have eaten cooked turkey that I had put in a sealed (as in it pops when opened later) container seconds after cooking it, and forgotten on my patio (to pre-cool before the fridge), in winter. Even that kinda freaked me out. I would never eat uncovered poultry that had been out of my sight for more than 15 minutes.
posted by fraula at 3:31 AM on May 31, 2013


I took cooked chicken to work once on MLK Day and forgot that the office kitchen would be closed because no one else was there. So, I left it on my desk. It had been in the refrigerator all night and then sat on my desk for about 4 hours. I ate it.

I had four days of high fevers, and everything in my body leaving my body. I have never been so sick. I will never take those kinds of chances with food again, because it is not worth it.
posted by Slothrop at 4:00 AM on May 31, 2013


I would have eaten it, FWIW.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:48 AM on May 31, 2013


If you do eat it (OH HELL NO DON'T EAT IT) you're obligated to report back, k?
posted by Lexica at 7:55 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


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