Can I eat it?: Cheeseburger edition!
August 17, 2023 9:11 AM   Subscribe

I left two just-cooked cheeseburgers inside the microwave overnight. Can I eat them without dying?

I cooked cheeseburgers in a cast iron pan last night, then put the two extra ones inside the microwave so the cat wouldn't eat them while we dined on the patio. OF COURSE I forgot about them and they sat there for about 14 hours; I rediscovered them this morning.

I immediately put them in a sealed container, which I placed in the fridge. If I reheat and eat these later, will I expire in a humiliating, needless manner?
posted by Dr. Wu to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
Absolutely please do not eat this
posted by DoubleLune at 9:11 AM on August 17 [26 favorites]

No I would not eat beef that has sat at room temperature overnight. I'm pretty callous about food poisoning risk but this would cross the line for me - I once spent a Real Fun 24 hours after walking the 45 minutes to work with a non-temperature-regulated tupperware of chili in my bag in midsummer. 14 hours is just begging for trouble.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:14 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Additional data point that I forgot to mention: I overcooked these burgers slightly. They were probably medium-well.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:15 AM on August 17

You might not expire in a humiliating, needless manner, but believe me as someone who has both experienced and gotten emergency room help for someone experiencing spectacular gastroenteritis.... you'll probably find expiring preferable.

Please just don't.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 9:18 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]

Here is an article on the dangers of pathogenic bacteria, these are bacteria that we cannot taste or smell but can cause serious illness when consumed. This bacteria grows quickly on food between 40-140 degrees F, which is why food should be kept either cold in the fridge or hot, not just to kill bacteria but to keep the survivors from multiplying.

So a few well done burger patties in your microwave overnight is a perfect place for this bacteria to grow.
posted by muddgirl at 9:21 AM on August 17 [6 favorites]

Best answer: There are better, safer cheeseburgers out there. You do not have to eat reheated burgers that were left out for 14 hours. C'mon man, you're worth it.
posted by castlebravo at 9:22 AM on August 17 [30 favorites]

Ok I previously asked whether I could eat a cooked chicken that was in the fridge for more than 7 days, response was mixed but I did eat it (and was fine).

But I would not eat this. Not burgers that have been heated up and sat at room temp for 14 hours! 2 hours yes, probably not 4 hours, and definitely not 14 hours.
posted by moiraine at 9:27 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, man. Damn. These are (or were) tasty cheeseburgers!
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:32 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]

Let these ones go, my friend. There will be other cheeseburgers.
posted by mhoye at 9:47 AM on August 17 [16 favorites]

hahaha oh wow, no. definitely not. serving burgers that had been left out like that is how my grandmother sent our entire extended family to the hospital.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:47 AM on August 17 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: The burgers have been safely disposed of. I said a few brief words over the compost bin as the cat and I bowed our heads respectfully, yet hungrily.

They have gone to Cheeseburger Heaven, where I will not be joining them.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:50 AM on August 17 [38 favorites]

One time while young and drunk two of us ordered 30 cheeseburgers at McDonalds and ate them over two days without refrigerating or re-heating them and we were fine.

We were also complete drunken idiots. Throw out the cheeseburgers.
posted by bondcliff at 10:08 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]

If it makes you feel better: you missed out on those two cheeseburgers, but if you had eaten them it might have ruined all future cheeseburgers for you for a long time. I couldn't even smell crab for about ten years after a bad bout of crustacean-inspired food poisoning.
posted by dr. boludo at 10:26 AM on August 17 [4 favorites]

Haha. I would have eaten them. But I wouldn't have tried to save them for later. I would have eaten them now (for breakfast) or not at all. I'm very lenient with this sort of thing and have never suffered for it. Undercooked food — especially in restaurants? Well, I've suffered there plenty. But never from eating a burger left out overnight (which I've done several times) or a seven-day-old refrigerated rotisserie chicken (also several times). It's possible, though, that I have a stomach of steel.
posted by jdroth at 10:50 AM on August 17

Think of them as an offering to the food gods for your continued safety, wellness, and avoidance of explosive misery.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:52 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]

I also would have eaten them, but couldn't in good conscience recommend that someone else eat them. Also, even if they were amazing then, they almost certainly wouldn't be amazing now, after 14 hours at room temp and then dried out by reheating.
posted by Night_owl at 12:17 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]

I am one of the weirdos who would have eaten them in some reimagined form, but also would NOT have served them to anyone else except myself. I would have diced them up and cooked the heck out of them until they were well and truly well-done, perhaps sauteing/roasting to fold into a tortilla or something.
posted by eunique at 8:10 AM on August 19

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