Can someone explain the 4 hour rule. I am new at this.

Discussion in 'Pork' started by bigr314, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    What is the 4 hour rule for smoking a pork butt. Does it have to do with temp. I sorry, Iam new at this.
  2. sunman76

    sunman76 Master of the Pit

    I have no idea myself! [​IMG]

    so I going to hang out and learn with ya[​IMG]
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Basically the rule states that any meat that is punctured needs to go from 40 degrees to 140 degrees internal temp in under 4 hours. (Last year they changed it to 41-135) This would mean any ground meat, injected meat, or if you puncture the meat by inserting a thermometer.

    There is also an "intact muscle rule" which states that if the meat has not been punctured in any way then only the outer 1/2" needs to reach 140 in under 4 hours.

    I have to get some work done but I'm sure others will post more info but that's the basics.

    Here's a good thread with some good info  
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Most meat and Chicken in particular, has some bacteria on the surface that, if not killed before they multiply to an unsafe level, can cause foodborne illness. The four hour rule is basically, get your meat heated above 140*F in 4 hours or less. For 99% of the nastiest, 140*F will kill them and there is little risk of getting sick. NOW you may have noticed I said, "on the surface" because the little buggers come from handling when the animal is slaughtered and cut up. When you grind the meat like for Sausage and Hamburger the bacteria is mixed ALL THROUGH THE MEAT! So unless a curing salt (a chemical that inhibits growth) is added, it is Super Critical to get to 140*F in 4 hours or less. How you handle the meat is important too. Keep it cold until it goes in the smoker or on the grill. Wash everything that the raw meat has touched BEFORE you handle or cut up any other food. And keep HOT food HOT, 140*F or higher and COLD food COLD, 40*F or less. Get a good thermometer to monitor equipment temps and meat temps.

    I hope this helps...JJ
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  5. sunman76

    sunman76 Master of the Pit

    Thanks for the information guys
  6. bigr314

    bigr314 Meat Mopper

    Great info. Thanks. I am having a grad party and do not to get anyone sick.
  7. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

      Well said Chef [​IMG]
  8. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good advise PIney and Chef. you both pretty much covered it [​IMG]

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