Food Safety and Low and Slow Discussion

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by bbally, Oct 8, 2008.

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  1. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As a haccp and servsafe trainer, along with USA food code consulting I was asked to post this thread to start a discussion on food safety, temperature, handling, etc. on food safety questions and methods.

    The USA food code is often misunderstood because the government release sound bites are usually the lowest common denominator for keeping things safe. They assume everyone is dumb and therefore put the simplest guideline out, "don't do this, etc." instead of explaining why and how to get something done safely.

    I have recieved approval for low temp salmon cure, no temp ham cure, and many many variation of time temp strategies for my commercially offered products.

    I will answer what I can and research for you what I can not answer. Others that know will also add in there experience if they have recieved approval of a method.

    I can not promise it will always make you happy, but if you have the knowledge of why and how, you can at least make an informed decision on assume the risk.
  2. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This would depend on how you handle the large cut and what you consider a large cut.

    The "intact muscle" rule for commercial USDA products allows an intact muscle to be cooked to rare using low temp. Provided it has not been punctured.

    Unpunctured, intact muscle need only have the outside 0.5 inch pass through 140 degrees within 4 hours. Something easily done at temps of 200 F or more.

    Now if you inject it, you have changed the "intact nature" of the meat and should treat it as ground meat or forced meat. This means the inside temp of the meat must pass through 140 within four hours. Usually requiring a temp of at least 275 F or better.

    Going under 200 F without intact muscle generally requires that another method of cooking have been used.... Nitrate or Nitrite curing being most common. But lemon and lime juice under a method called ceviche also will do the job, though generally limited to fish.

    Most common error that results in hospitalization of people consuming improperly handled intact muscle?

    "inserting a temp probe into the intact muscle prior to the outside being above 140F or the probe not being wiped with sterilizer prior to insertion."
  3. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Most do not know that you can cooked a poultry product to less that 165 F using a method called pastuerization. That is holding the product at a certain temp for a specific length of time.

    Temps can be used two ways to make food safe. Temp reached as in the 165 F you see listed often for chicken. Or holding at a lessor temp for a longer period of time.

    For instance we can make safe pork roasts by holding at 140 F for 12 minutes.

    Same way if you want to have an injected beef roast that can no longer use the intact muscle rule, one can hold the beef muscle for 3 minutes at 145F and be legal to skip the 165F ground meat rule.
  4. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your loin is legal if you hold it at 140F for 12 minutes. This is an approved alternative.

    Things that can go wrong? Not checking the temp probe for accuracy. Inserting temp probe prior to outside of muscle group being exposed to 140 F for 30 minutes.

    It may suprise you to know that beef and pork muscle roasts are legal even at 130 F if they are held there for 112 minutes.

    Many don't realize that ground and injected meats can be held at 145 F for 3 mintues and be legal.
  5. jminion

    jminion Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Short answer: If you have not injected or inserted a thermometer into the brisket (as an example) then you can forgo the internal temp of 140 in 4 hours. If you have injected or are inserting a therm or puncturing the cut in some way then you need to get the cut 140 in 4 hours or less by rule.
  6. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A good reason not to poke your meat till your well into the cook!
  7. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sanitizer first, use boiling water for a min or so if ya like. Flame can damage it, but so can water if ya submerge the wire crimp area.
  8. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I guess I have been doing it wrong all this time.

    Is the idea that the bacteria is on the outside and the probe will push the nasties in? Couldn't you swab the meat with alcohol first. [​IMG]

    Couldn't you sterlize a probe by using a bleach solution, alcohol, hot soapy water, or even a antibacterial wipe?
  9. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very interesting, I too seem to have been doing things wrong. So are we saying that inserting the probe to early (below 140) is not a good practice. If so how does one know when the temps are up high enough for safe insertion?
  10. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Would wiping it with one of those Lysol or Clorox sanitizing wipes do the trick?

  11. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I use those clorox wipes and let it dry.
  12. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    One can safely use a time duration if you have guages on your pit indicating the temp of the pit.

    I use an infrared point and shoot temp probe for determining the outside meat temp.
  13. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes that is what I use on all temp probes. Commercially and at home.
  14. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Soneone once told my wife that the "4 hour window" is a one-time only thing. According to them, if a piece of meat goes above 40 degrees for 30 minutes on the trip home from the store and is then put in a refrigerator and cooled back down below 40 degrees that there is only 3 hours and 30 minutes left for this piece of meat to be between 40 and 140 even though it has returned to the below 40 mark. (Hope that made sense [​IMG] )

    Is that true?

  15. lugnutz

    lugnutz Smoking Fanatic

    what happened to all the questions?  glad we still have the answers..and thanks for your hard work on this stuff
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