Bacon safety?

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by mark66, Mar 31, 2013.

  1. mark66

    mark66 Fire Starter

    Wrong Forum?

    I cooked my bacon in smoker to 160F. How long can I keep it in a fridge vac-packed without freezing it?

  2. dert

    dert Master of the Pit

    If you got it up to pasteurization temps (160+) it should keep for a week++ or so... It'll mold or slime out before any food safety concerns (as long as you cook it before serving).
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yup---At least a week.

    Note: If you took it to 160 in your smoker, which is higher than 145, you don't have to cook it again. Just warm it up a bit before eating. I never did that with Belly Bacon, but I take my BBB and my CB to over 145. USDA now says 145 is "Done" for whole meat Pork.

  4. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    Did you use a cure?
  5. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  6. expat smoker

    expat smoker Smoke Blower

    I'll give this thread a bump, as that was the exact question that I was going to post. I have a small business smoking bacon and just sent off 11 kilos to friends.  Some requested chilled and some requested frozen but at the end of a 5 hr trip, they were probably all the same temp.  They are now asking how long can it safely remain in the fridge [unfrozen]??

    I urged them to store it in the freezer if more than a week to err on the side of safety, but would like to get some 'official' food safety link to back up my suggestion.  Can anyone provide a link that I could forward to my new customers and confirm the issue of 'how long in the fridge'?

    The meat was processed following all the rules......... 14 days in Digging dog's cure then after overnight in the fridge, it was placed in the smoker @ 225f, cooked to 160f internal temp, then cooled and vacuum sealed, all under sanitary conditions.

    Thanks in advance............
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have no idea why you would smoke any kind of whole Pork to 160* (other than Pulled Pork to 205*), when the USDA says it is safe to eat at 145*, but below is the link you asked for:

  8. I cold smoke my bacon. I don't want twice cooked. I like crispy

  9. expat smoker

    expat smoker Smoke Blower

    "I have no idea why you would smoke any kind of whole Pork to 160* (other than Pulled Pork to 205*), when the USDA says it is safe to eat at 145*, but below is the link you asked for:"

    mostly I go to the high temps to err on the side of safety and have heard/read that by cooking to a higher temp, it dries the meat more, making it less prone to the dreaded botulism...............true??

    Thanks for the link Bear
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    With Pork, the safe Temp is 145*. I usually go to 150* to err on the side of safety. Any higher than that will not make it any safer---only drier.

    As for Bacon, I take my Buckboard Bacon & Canadian Bacon to 145*--150*, and I take my Belly Bacon to anywhere between 100* and 130* very slowly.

    With the Belly Bacon, I'm going for nice color---Not Internal Temp. Then it gets cooked before eating.

    I used to take my Canadian Bacon to 160*, until the USDA said 145* was safe, and that 160* CB was very dry.

    Hope that helps.

  11. expat smoker

    expat smoker Smoke Blower


    I guess that I'm doing a buckboard bacon over here in Thailand.  The Thais have different names for their cuts, naturally and totally different ways to cut.  Used to be that you paid the same price for any cut and they took out a machete and whacked off a chunk, skin, bone and guts......same price as the tenderloin.  Now the larger superstores have moved in and are actually cutting the bone with a saw and you can recognize some of the parts and pricing them according to the cut.  I buy what they call a 'collar cut',  which as the name implies is the marbled meat just below the neck ........nicely marbled and usually not too fat or at least it's distributed evenly.  Can I call that buckboard bacon??

    I did follow that link up that you sent and looked all thru that USgov site, as I wanted to know why the storage times they recommended were so short and found an 'Ask Karen' if you don't find what you want in their FAQ.  this is what I sent............

    "I'm starting a small scale smoked bacon business and have read your guidelines re: storage of ham and bacon. My product is fully cured by USDA standards using sodium nitrite, salt and sugar.......all under sanitary conditions for 14 days in the refrigerator, then cooked in my smoker at 225f for approx 3 hrs until meat reaches 150f+ , then it is removed and chilled quickly and vacuum sealed and goes directly into the fridge or freezer. I know that you err on the side of safety, but with my meat fully cured and fully cooked what are the dangers of storage for longer than a week in the fridge or a month in the freezer?? "

    [font=arial, sans-serif]Bottom line it amazes me that you can store fresh uncooked meat in the freezer longer than cured, smoked and fully cooked in vacuum sealed pouches.........[/font]

    [font=arial, sans-serif]please explain[/font]
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree on the 7 days in the fridge, but I have a raw Prime Rib in my Freezer for 20 months right now---Good as new.

    And I have some cured & smoked pork chops & Canadian Bacon in my freezer for about 2 years----Good as new.

    I know I read about smoked meat not keeping in the freezer as long as raw or regular cooked meat. I forgot the reason, but I don't worry about anything I vacuum pack & freeze to "0* ", smoked or not.

  13. expat smoker

    expat smoker Smoke Blower

    I've been searching the web for days now to find out 'why' is something that is theoretically sterile by curing and cooking can only be stored in freezer and fridge for such short times, yet raw meats that are full of bacteria can be kept for months in the freezer.  Just doesn't make sense to me. 

    I even went through the USDA Q& answer and their 'ask Karen' for the questions not answered.......supposedly answered by a real person and not a computer reply, but they refered me to an even more complicated electronic Q&A again.

    If you or anyone else out there can explain 'why', I would appreciate it. I'm just the kind of guy that needs to know the 'why' of things....................used to pizz off my teachers and parents and now pizzs off my wife and I'm trying to instill that 'irritating' trait in my son, with no luck yet. 

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jack, morning......  The Gummint heard it would pizz U off, changing up the rules so they made no sense.....   They are all laughing their butts off reading this......   They have someone testing meats etc. until it goes bad.....   then they probably cut the days, in cold storage, by 60% just to be safe....   Darned if I know.....    As meats get above 40 deg F.... bacteria starts multiplying....  1 makes 2...2 makes 4.... 4 makes 8...   The first 1/2 hour, not much growing.... then, exponentially, it keeps growing......

    In the refer, it must break down... same in the freezer....   You gotta find something I can answer with certainty....   I heard on the news today, 45 states got together to study teaching etc...  In math, they decided if a kid multiplied 3 x 4 and came up with 11........   if they had a fairly good reason, they were given credit for coming up with 11.............    

    OK, I got it......  3 X 4 = 12..........

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  15. expat smoker

    expat smoker Smoke Blower

    Afternoon Dave......

    I knew my riddle would bring you out of the woods.  Well if you don't know, then it must not have an answer, 555!

    [here's a little lesson in Thai language for you. the number 5 is pronounced 'ha', so when you want to say hahaha, simply say [or write] '555']

    anyway, getting off track here with the Thai language lesson and that's about all the Thai I know after 12 years, but this 'riddle' I posed should have a simple answer somewhere and it's keeping me up at night.

    you say "  As meats get above 40 deg F.... bacteria starts multiplying...." ...................that's uncured, right?  Doesn't the curing process stop bacteria growth and certainly cooking above 140f would finish those nasty buggers off for good??  then you freeze the buggers and how can anything survive a bath of cure, then cooked to death and then froze..................just don't make sense to my simple mind.

    now I hope that my riddle doesn't keep you awake at night, 555
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    So far the best I can find is below:

    Raw poultry and raw meats maintain their quality longer than their cooked counterparts because moisture is lost during cooking.

  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Jack, OK....  here I go.....    If you dry meat to a level below a certain Aw (Water Activity) level, and it has enough salt (>10%), bacteria won't grow....  And if you smoke it (smoke slows, stops or kills bacteria growth, probably from the PAH's) and you add Cure #1 or #2 during the smoke process, botulism is halted also....  

    Even though the inhibitory mechanisms for sodium nitrite are not well known, its effectiveness depends on several factors including residual nitrite level, pH, salt concentration, reductants present and iron  content.[14]  Furthermore, the type of bacteria  also affects sodium nitrites effectiveness.[14]  It is generally agreed upon that sodium nitrite is not considered effective for controlling gram-negative  enteric pathogens such as Salmonella  and Escherichia coli.[14]


    Sodium nitrite is also able to effectively delay the development of oxidative  rancidity.[14]  Lipid oxidation  is considered to be a major reason for the deterioration of quality of meat products (rancidity  and unappetizing flavors).[14]  Sodium nitrite acts as an antioxidant  in a mechanism similar to the one responsible for the coloring affect.[14]  Nitrite reacts with heme  proteins and metal ions, chelating free radicals  by nitric oxide  (one of its byproducts).[14]  Chelation of these free radicals  terminates the cycle of lipid oxidation  that leads to rancidity.[14]


    Water activity  or aw

     Bacteria  usually require at least 0.91, and fungi  at least 0.7.[citation needed]  See fermentation.


    Lowering the water activity of a food product should not be seen as a kill step. Studies in powdered milk  show that viable cells can exist at much lower water activity values, but that they will never grow.[citation needed]  Over time, bacterial levels will decline.


    Now, as far as  other food pathogens go in meats, I know when I read the label of commercially processed meats etc, evidently there are other chemicals you can add to keep food safe....  Not me....  I'll just refrigerate it for a short period of time, or freeze, and then eat.... 

    Hope some of this makes sense and answers some of your questions.....

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  18. brett74

    brett74 Newbie

    water freezes in the freezer. with out water the freezer is less effective?

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