Chicken contamination

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by wklkjn, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. wklkjn

    wklkjn Smoke Blower


    We all know about contamination and I've read good articles here about getting meat up to temp in less than 4 hours, about wiping countertops, cleanliness, and all the rest.

    Something I've always wondered about....

    I just put 4 chicken leg quarters on the grill (too late tosmoke) :).

    I used my tongs to place the raw chicken on the grill.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I continue to use those same tongs throughout the cooking process.

    So for an hour or so, I've got these tongs sitting on the table next to the grill, contaminated with raw chicken, then partially done chicken as I flip the meat, and finally, I use the same tongs to remove the meat from the grill.

    Now, I've been doing this for 40 years and never had a problem.

    I do the same thing wiht hamburgers, steaks, chicken, etc.

    Can someone explain why I don't get salmonella?

    To take it to the extreme, even if I used the tongs to put on the raw chicken and then washed them, as soon as I use them again to flip the chicken - partially raw - they are re-contaminated.

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The outside of the chicken is hot and kills any bacteria that comes in contact with it...  including the tongs...   Now there may be areas on the tongs that still harbor bacteria so don't go using them for plating up salad or something like that....
  3. betaboy

    betaboy Meat Mopper

    Personally, even flipping burgers I put my metal spatula over the coals/flame for a bit. Smoking, I usually wash in between, or grab new depending on what I'm doing. I've never had a problem either, but I always like to be on the safe side. I've gotten sick too many times "going out to eat" but it never happens in my house. I presume most of it has to do with hand washing practices by the people cooking our food, but. I still play it as safe as I can.
  4. farmerchad

    farmerchad Smoke Blower

    Your not alone. I have a habit of hanging my utensils on the handles of the smoker or grill myself. I was just thinking about this topic on Friday while I was tending to my BBRs.

    If it is needed, you can always run the business end of your utensils thru the flame for a few seconds, Im confident that would obliterate any nasties that may be alive.

    Like Betaboy mentioned, I have never got sick eating home cooked food. Just eating out. Funny how that works.
  5. wklkjn

    wklkjn Smoke Blower

    Yep, I completely agree with both of you.

    I too have gotten sick plenty of times while dining out, but never at home.

    Thanks for the info.
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What Dave said:

    Anything on the Grill gets real hot on the outside, plus you can hold the tongs over the flame or high heat on a grill for a few seconds.

    As for my Smoker, I never flip anything I put in there---The smoke gets all around everything, without flipping.

  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Dave nailed it...This is also the same reason it don't matter what is over what in a smoker. Bacteria in raw chicken juice dripping on a 250°F Butt is killed instantly and the juices cook in seconds...JJ
  8. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Read somewhere that you need three pair of tongs, one to put onto the grill one to turn, one to serve.

    The next question is when do you insert a meat probe? If the meat is raw, and you insert the probe, any bacteria on the surface could be transferred to the middle of the meat and not reach a safe temperature within the 4 hour recommended time.

    What I do is use a flame torch and sear the area where I want to insert the probe, killing any surface bacteria.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Whatever makes you feel better. But considering the Probe Therm has been in use nearly 100 years and NOT one single warning from the USDA, FDA, CDC or UK equivalent (that I have seen) about not probing raw meat has ever been issued and not one manufacturer includes instructions or warnings about searing or waiting X hours to Probe, there is a not a thing to worry about, short of the smoker quitting and you don't notice for many hours. And in this situation you got more to worry about...JJ
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  10. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Latex gloves are cheap,use them for putting the chicken on the grill.Throw them away the tongs can be used to turn them.



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