Danger zone when injecting (1st time injector)

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by travisg, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. travisg

    travisg Newbie

    I've read up a lot on this forums and others about the danger zone and going from 4-140 in 4 hours. It seems like there is nothing published by the USDA about the 4 hours part but I'm on board with it being a generally accepted rule especially when you poke and prod a piece of meat.

    So how the hell do people inject and then smoke at 170-200 degrees? I don't expect big thick pieces of meat get to 140 in 4 hours at those temps.

    I want to cook a big brisket and inject. I was going to boil the beef broth and rub the injector down with rubbing alcohol and not temp probe until 4-5 hours into the cook.

    Do ppl just try and be as safe as possible with injecting and large pierces of meat even if it may fall outside of guidelines or should we cook at higher temps of we are going to probe and poke?
  2. What follows is my opinion; make up your own minds.

    Salt has long been used to sanitize things.  Salted pork.. .etc.  Same can be said of sugar, such as sugar cured hams.  A little microbiology thrown in here.  Germs have a thin membrane which they respire through.  When the osmatic pressure, due to a high concentration of salts (or sugar) applies pressure to the membrane, it damages the cell.  In many it poisons the cell with a strong imbalance of salts, leading to the demise of the germ.  Assuming your injection has a large amount of salt/sugar, it will likely kill any germs when are transplanted from the surface (by the injector), to the interior of the meat.  That said, I always rinse the meat, and pat it dry, to reduce the bacteria count on the surface of the meat prior to injection.  I never go to the point where I pasteurize or sterilize the surface prior to injection.  If the injection is totally herbal based, it might give me pause.  As you rightly point out, most thick cuts of meat sits in the "danger zone" for more than 4 hours in the smoker.  I have yet to have a problems with it.  There are very few bacteria toxins which are not broken down by heat (One specific to seafood, and members of the botulism family of toxins).  Botulin toxins are very sensitive to oxygen, and would unlikely live long on the surface of meat.  The surface of the meat would not make a very good source for an injector to pick up botulin microorganisms.
    travisg likes this.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The " 40 to 140 in 4 " guideline is explained in this forum's intro. Just a note to Addertooth...The bug Clostridium Botulinum are sensitive to Oxygen and although not killed, will not multiply. Oxygen has no effect on the Toxins produced. 

    The " Minimum " USDA recommended Smoking Temperature is 225°F. There should not be any Restaurants smoking meat below that temp. At home or at Competitions, you and anybody else can do what they want. In this situation, Injecting and smoking at temps below 225, there is always a risk of contaminating the interior. But it is important to understand, " nothing will happen unless something goes wrong! " If the smoke goes along without a hitch, the extra hour or so to get the IT to 140°, smoking at 200°F, is nothing to worry about. BUT...If you fall asleep, the smoker dies and the meat sits at a Bacteria Love Fest' temp of 80° to 100°F for a few hours...Make sure you have good Medical and Life Insurance if you plan to eat the meat. You can reduce if not eliminate the risk of pushing surface bacteria into the meat by Washing the meat and drying with Paper Towel ( you never know what is on the dish towel hanging next to the sink), being super careful that no meat juices contact the surrounding area. Make sure You and your work area are clean, then rub the exterior of the meat with a Rub containing Salt and/or Sugar, followed by injecting a Sterile solution....JJ
  4. Chef JimmyJ,

    You are on the mark; I tripped over my tongue.  I described the toxins as being sensitive to oxygen, when it is the microorganism which does not love oxygen.  Clostridium Botulinum really only thrives in an anaerobic (air/oxygen free) environment.  It tends to like mildly acidic vegetables (canned tomatoes anyone?).  As you stated, good cleanliness, avoiding transference from contaminated surfaces and a sterile injection solution goes a long way to making the whole process safer.  The high salt/sugar content of the injection, just drives another nail in the bacterial coffin.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  5. travisg

    travisg Newbie

    I smoked and injected an 11lb brisket the other week and tool the care to wash it, pat dry, sterilize the injector and temp probe. Set my Primo for 225 and it got from 40-140 fairly quick, like 2.5-3 hours. So maybe getting up to 140 doesn't take that long for the most part
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Travis, even a large 15lb Brisket will get up to temp in time at 225°. That why that temp is recommended. Glad to hear you chose to go hotter than 180-200°. The lower temps are ok for intact meat but injected meat really should be done at the higher temp...JJ
  7. [​IMG]...Spot on JJ.
  8. So, What If You Put Pork In The Oven And Didn't StaRt Cooking It. Say, Just Put It In For 3 Hours And Then Cooked It To Reach 140 Within The FoUr Hours. That Wouldn't Be SaFe, Would It?
  9. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Chef Jimmy will be all over this one.

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  10. I Expected He Would Have The Answer Lol
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  Ok you are just pulling my leg here[​IMG]... As far as what you are asking...It depends...If you have a big Beef Rib Roast that you are Roasting to Rare or no more than Medium, AND, the surface is Intact, There really is no problem letting the Beef warm to room temp 3 hours before going in the Oven or Hot Smoker. The warming time will allow for a nice even doneness side to side. Once in the heat, any surface bacteria will be quickly killed and since the Interior is bacteria free, it does not really matter how long it takes to come up to temp. With Injected, Boned-Rolled and Tied, Ground meat, Non-intact meat of any kind or Poultry, the 4 hour count down begins, barring improper refrigeration at the Store or getting it home and cold, when the meat comes out of the fridge ready to go into the smoker. Non-intact meat is the only main issue because that is the only point external bacteria could have gotten in to the interior and have the time to multiply as the smoking process begins and proceeds over the next few hours. Other than intact Beef or maybe a Pork Loin you are taking to 135-140°, there is no reason to leave meat sitting around at room temp longer than it takes to trim and season the meat and get it in the oven or smoker...JJ
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Actually I've had Briskets take longer than 4 hours to get to 140* with a 225* smoker. That's why I never inject, and never insert my probe before 3 hours into the smoke.

    If you look at my Pulled Pork Step by Step, you'll see I used 220* smoking temp (Not far from 225*), and you'll notice it took a 7 pound Boston Butt 5 hours & 15 minutes to get to 137* IT.

  13. Lol, UnfortunateLy Not Joking. I'm A True Noob...... To Cooking. Ok, So HerE Was The Situation... Girlfriend Put Pork Cops In Oven Didn't Start Cooking Because I Called For Her To Pick Me Up. She Left Them In The Oven, Not Cooking. How Long Are They Good For? We Threw Them Out But It Brought Up This Question. Could They Be Safely Cooked Within A Certain Time Frame And Is That The 4 Hours. Not Injected, Fully Intact.
  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    They can stay in the cool oven about 2 hours. But it is important they not be Injected. If they were washed, you have no open cuts or infected sores on your hands, coated with a Salty Rub and you are going to roast them at a temp above 225°F, to an IT of 140°, I would not even worry if they were there 3 hours...JJ

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