Am I going to get sick from eating this pulled pork?
August 7, 2007 7:56 PM   Subscribe

Am I going to get sick from eating this pulled pork?

So, my neighbor made some very, very delicious pulled pork. It cooked over the course of two days, from Friday to Saturday. Saturday afternoon it was placed in an air conditioned room where it stayed for about 6 hours. After, it was put into a fridge. The next day, it came out and spent 3 hours in the car at about room-temp. It went right back into the fridge again afterwards. This was Sunday.

So now it is Tuesday, and I really, really want to eat some of this delicious meat but I'm unsure how sick it will make me. So, does Metafilter thing this is safe to eat?
posted by Loto to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Judging by past iterations of this question, no, Metafilter does not.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:59 PM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Half of Metafilter thinks it's safe to eat almost anything, and the other half thinks that no food is worth the chance of getting sick and anything questionable should be thrown out.
posted by smackfu at 8:02 PM on August 7, 2007 [3 favorites]

I vote no, don't eat it. Two long stretches at warm temperature is plenty of time for some really good bacterial growth. (Is your aircon set to refrigerator temperature? Didn't think so).

Probably the smoking effect of slow barbeque mitigates the risk, but I personally would not eat it.

The thing is, it's not guaranteed to make you sick. Maybe the right bugs haven't landed in there, maybe they haven't grown enough, or whatever. But the risk is higher. No one can say how sick this will make you, they can only say it's more likely that you will get sick - possibly very sick.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:03 PM on August 7, 2007

Eat it, and tell us how it tastes.
posted by bystander at 8:04 PM on August 7, 2007

According to my nutritionist, you shouldn't even wait for food to cool before putting it in the fridge, given the problems with bacteria growth.

But, as noted above, by Mefi standards, 50% of people will think you can eat egg salad sandwich that has been sitting in 40C heat for three days and 50% will think you should not eat anything that even causes you to wonder if it's okay, for fear that you will drop dead upon inhaling the fumes.
posted by acoutu at 8:08 PM on August 7, 2007

My roommate in college was known to eat hot dogs that sat out on the counter for a week or more. I say go for it.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 8:16 PM on August 7, 2007

Yeah, I've eaten stuff that sat out for much longer. I do it all the time, and I never get sick.

Put some barbecue sauce on it (a spicy, vinegary kind). You'll be fine.
posted by rocketman at 8:21 PM on August 7, 2007

Wow, the prospect of eating this doesn't worry me at all.
posted by iguanapolitico at 8:27 PM on August 7, 2007

I had a bad case of food poisoning last week (from takeout).

Guess what my vote is?
posted by splendid animal at 8:28 PM on August 7, 2007

Funny - i'm usually in the "you'll be fine" camp, and I love pulled pork, but I wouldn't eat this.
posted by crabintheocean at 8:30 PM on August 7, 2007

Best answer: It really depends on how delicious the pork is and how afraid of diarrhea you are. If it's really delicious pork and you can think of far worse things in life than diarrhea, eat that pork!
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:33 PM on August 7, 2007 [3 favorites]

I had bad pork at Chipotle. I threw up for 24 hours straignt. I vomited so hard, all the capillaries in my face broke and red dots covered it. But hey, its up to you!
posted by Mach5 at 8:37 PM on August 7, 2007

A few years ago in Boston, either 7 or 17 people died from eating a Puerto Rican wedding dish made from chicken livers and bananas that had been driven from New Jersey to Massachusetts and allowed to sit in the trunk of a car during the summer for 17 hours. Based on that unfortunate historical incident I would not eat the pulled pork unless you believe it will be one of the significant highlights of your life.
posted by alms at 8:37 PM on August 7, 2007

What Metafilter thinks about the safety of this item has almost zero chance of correlating meaningfully with how sick it will or will not actually make you. Your bowels; your choice.

The time you've spent waiting for an answer has made this food less safe, not more, by the way.
posted by flabdablet at 8:38 PM on August 7, 2007

Best answer: I don't understand why these questions keep getting posted as opinion polls.

A) This food has spent at least 9 hours in the Danger Zone (40-140 degrees F), the optimal conditions for bacterial growth. That it was refrigerated in between is meaningless from a safety standpoint. You've noticed how things rot or mold even in the fridge, right?

B) Even if it had stayed in the fridge the whole time, it wouldn't be safe to eat for much longer. Cooked pork only keeps in the refrigerator for 4, maybe 5 days tops.

Is it possible to eat it now and not get sick? Sure. Is that likely? Spin the wheel.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 8:42 PM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So, I decided to eat it. I am also chasing every large bite with a nice, strong bourbon.

You know, for safety's sake.

I will post before I head to work in the morning to let everyone know how this turned out.
posted by Loto at 8:42 PM on August 7, 2007 [2 favorites]

You know the 5 second rule about dropping food on the floor? There should be an AskMe rule about eating old or unrefrigerated food - if you have to ask AskMe: don't.
posted by forallmankind at 8:56 PM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

You can't microwave it? Wouldn't that kill off any bacteria?
posted by lubujackson at 9:17 PM on August 7, 2007

Microwaving won't kill bacteria (not in and of itself anyway) you need to reheat food to about 165f to make sure you get everything.

I'd probably eat it myself, but I wouldn't give it to my dog or anyone I cared about.
posted by Bonzai at 9:23 PM on August 7, 2007

Yeah, I agree with Bonzai. I'd cheerfully eat it, but I'm uncomfortable recommending that as a responsible course of action.

Just don't come back in here and post "I told u i was hardcore".
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:29 PM on August 7, 2007

There should be an AskMe rule . . . if you have to ask AskMe: don't

This is a surprisingly powerful rule.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:32 PM on August 7, 2007

So AskMe is just a big "spoiled food" test kitchen.
posted by The Deej at 9:33 PM on August 7, 2007

doood, i don't care how great the pork, or anything else, is, it's not worth hard-core food poisoning

really, really really really not worth it
posted by Salvatorparadise at 9:49 PM on August 7, 2007

"You can't microwave it? Wouldn't that kill off any bacteria?"

This has come up before. Depending on the bug, you can get sick from the poisons they have produced in the food, even if they're all dead. So while microwaving for long enough may kill some bacteria, that doesn't make the food safe again.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:51 PM on August 7, 2007

For reference, you cannot drink enough alcohol to kill or even slow down the bacteria present in spoiled food. As joe's_spleen points out the exotoxins won't be affected by drinking alcohol either.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:08 AM on August 8, 2007

I wish you hadn't eaten it, and I hope you're okay this morning. That's my official answer.

For future reference, however: Your neighbor may be very well be a culinary genius, but what she or he exhibited most, in this case, was the patience that is not a recommended component, but is in fact a necessary component for halfway decent pulled pork. It is also the kind of patience that prevents one from eating warm meat off the passenger seat of a hot car. There is no need. You can enjoy this, sans dysentary. I can't scramble a damn egg properly, but even I can do this:

Generously smother the hell out of a pork shoulder (boston butt) with a dry rub. You can make that rub yourself, or just buy it at the grocer around the corner. That depends on whether you are looking for a blue ribbon in Memphis or a week's worth of relatively cheap lunch. If the former: very, very carefully google "dry rub" and then go spend a bunch of money on spices.

When you are done shopping and rubbing, seal it up tight in the grocery bag you took it home with and throw it in the fridge for 24 hours. Patience: spend time with a loved one, get a tattoo, read the first three chapters of your favorite book, ask metafilter why you have explosive diarrhea, etc.

Then cook the coated shoulder at 275F for 6 hours. No fancy instruments needed, just an oven and patience. If you have company, you can gain aplomb with your guests by occasionally dowsing it with its own juices as NPR plays softly in the background. It will make you look like you know what you are doing, and often this is worth the extra effort. I haven't noticed any other difference, but then, I've never won a blue ribbon. The important thing is not to invite vegetarians to this party, no matter how much they love NPR.

Take it out of the oven, and patiently walk away for a little while. The shoulder is very hot, and it will burn your fingers if you are impatient. Its surface is deceptively cool, but its innards are hellfire. If you have a dog, now is the time you take your dog for a long walk through your neighborhood. Your neighbors will appreciate the fact that you take such good care of your dog, and you may find new things about your neighborhood that you would have never noticed if you had rushed by, dog-less. At the same time, your dog wlll not eat the pork shoulder cooling on your counter. Which he will, if you have a dog and didn't take him for a walk. This is based on experience. If you don't have a dog, never mind that.

After six hours of cooking, and a half hour of cooling, the meat will pull off as if it was the pig's destiny to generously relinquish that meat. Here is where you can not be patient. Eat some of the pork as you pull it. It is irresistible to your dog, who is standing at your feet, so give him a little bit. It is a reward for you and your dog's patience (if you have a dog). Just don't stir it in with sauce you either bought or made (see above). Therein lies folly. Daub it with the sauce as you eat it.

When you're done with it for the evening, just put it in a ziplock and throw it in the fridge. Or serve it to your guests. But don't leave it in the car. That pig died for your satisfaction, not your uncomfortable bowels and week-long inability to sit still. Trust me: Get a dog and don't eat rancid meat.
posted by gordie at 12:26 AM on August 8, 2007 [54 favorites]

I would think cooking it for two days would make it somewhat sterile. You should be fine, but let us know.
posted by NekulturnY at 1:21 AM on August 8, 2007

Coincidentally, just the other day I was enjoying some delicious pulled pork at a restaurant and wondered how I could make it at home. Now I know. Thank you, gordie.

Oh, and Loto, I really do hope you feel okay tomorrow morning after having eaten the pork. :-/
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:30 AM on August 8, 2007

Response by poster: So, judging by the deliciousness of the pulled pork and the time I spent in the bathroom this morning, it was -just- worth it.

However, the rest of the pork is going in the trash today. Especially now that I have some idea how to make my own, thanks gordie!
posted by Loto at 5:07 AM on August 8, 2007

You can eat it as long as you cook it to 165 degrees F...that is, as long as it didn't get contaminated with Staph or Bacillus..or any spore former for that reason. Did anyone sneeze on it? Did it drop on the ground or get dirt on it?

FYI: Microwaving WILL kill's all about the heat.
posted by catseatcheese at 5:28 AM on August 8, 2007

Too late to be of any use to the OP, but for anyone referring to this thread later: I'm usually one of the 50% in the "go ahead and eat it" camp. And in this case (9 hours at room temp?) even I wouldn't eat it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:58 AM on August 8, 2007

Actually I'd like to second DevilsAdvocate here. I'd eat many things that other wouldn't (this is due, in part, to the probably misguided belief that I may be boosting my immune system by doing so) and I wouldn't have eaten this.
posted by ob at 7:41 AM on August 8, 2007

I think that if you're worried enough to post a question about it then it's not worth it for you to eat it.
posted by battlecj at 8:53 AM on August 8, 2007

re catseatcheese: wrong. And even if you did kill all bacteria, see earlier comments from me and ikkyu2. Your advice will lead to food poisoning.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:09 PM on August 8, 2007

FWIW, food poisoning can produce more than a single bout of diarrhea. It could go on for weeks. It could be deadly. It's not just one session, in some cases.
posted by acoutu at 9:44 PM on August 8, 2007

i_am_joe's_spleen: yes, i realize that certain bacteria produce toxins...bacteria such as staph...hmmm...maybe i mentioned that in my answer. could be the reason why i said "you can eat it as long as it wasn't contaminated with staph or bacillus or any spore former for that matter."
posted by catseatcheese at 3:55 AM on August 9, 2007

Response by poster: acoutu: I thought about that, but I was clear for the rest of the day, and continue to stay that way.

Also, I might as well make this thread actually useful and post this:
Food Storage Information which I found recently, but forgot about.

And yeah, I knew the bourbon wouldn't actually kill anything (previous experience with Taco Bell has proved this), and the safety comment was just an excuse to eat pulled pork and drink bourbon near midnight.
posted by Loto at 7:20 AM on August 9, 2007

I was clear for the rest of the day, and continue to stay that way.

Yeah, the staph exotoxin has its effect between 2 and 6 hours after you eat the stuff. You probably crapped most of it out already.

The shiga toxin, cholera, gram-negative LPS-A endotoxins, and so on won't kick in for 48 hours or so, as the pathogenic bacteria get a foothold and grow in your gut.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:18 AM on August 9, 2007

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