Food Safety First

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by jp61, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Summer is almost here and we're all looking forward to smoking, grilling, enjoying good food and good times with family and friends. 

    Only a few days ago I started a thread congratulating Jeff and SMF on reaching the 50,000 membership mark. Today there's 562 more new members. Many of you, like I was when first joining SMF are probably excited and can't wait to get started making all these different types of delicious foods. That is a good thing, enjoy and I hope everyone has a great summer!

    I wanted to post a friendly  reminder to all of us here at SMF community, so here it is.....


    I'm no expert on the subject, but I do know it should never be ignored or taken lightly. One in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year. That’s about 48 million people. Most of them will recover without any lasting effects from their illness. For some, however, the effects can be devastating and even deadly.

    If your not sure about something, please ask or you can look it up here...

    [​IMG]   Good Smoking to All and let the TBS Roll 
  2. [​IMG]   Well  said.  Good reminder and a very useful link.  Think ya covered it all JP.  Keep Smokin!

  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The most important things to remember are...Keep your hands and work area Clean. Keep food COLD until the just before it is to be Smoked or Cooked. The " one " exception is Beef that will be served Medium or less. It is ok to let warm to room temp, no more than 2 hours, because it will be cooked quickly. There is Absolutely No Reason to let Pork or Chicken warm to room temp before Smoking...Your Smoker will recover just fine after adding Cold meat...Keep Hot food Hot, that is above 140*F. A giant pan of Pulled Pork can not sit out on a Picnic Buffet without heat for more than 2 hour. Use a Crock Pot or Chafing Dish to keep it and other hot food hot. Any Cold food on the Buffet should be on Ice or out for no more than 2 hours...Enjoy your summer Safely...JJ
  4. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Prior to buying and using my digital food thermometer(s) I mostly over-cooked foods to be sure it was safe to eat. That's good as far as food safety, but the quality was not at its best. I highly recommend the purchase and use of a good food thermometer. Not only will you know your food is smoked/cooked/grilled to at least a safe minimum temperature, but the quality of the finished product will be much better. Owning and using an inaccurate food thermometer could be dangerous, so make sure it reads accurately by performing an ice-water and/or boiling-water test.

    USDA's  Basics for Handling Food Safely:

    Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent foodborne illness. You can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four Fight BAC!™ guidelines to keep food safe:
    • Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often.
    • Separate — Don't cross-contaminate.
    • Cook — Cook to proper temperatures.
    • Chill — Refrigerate promptly.
    • Purchase refrigerated or frozen items after selecting your non-perishables.
    • Never choose meat or poultry in packaging that is torn or leaking.
    • Do not buy food past "Sell-By," "Use-By," or other expiration dates.
    • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).
    • Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40 °F or below and the freezer at 0 °F or below.
    • Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.
    • Perishable food such as meat and poultry should be wrapped securely to maintain quality and to prevent meat juices from getting onto other food.
    • To maintain quality when freezing meat and poultry in its original package, wrap the package again with foil or plastic wrap that is recommended for the freezer.
    • In general, high-acid canned food such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and pineapple can be stored on the shelf for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned food such as meat, poultry, fish, and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years — if the can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, and dry place. Discard cans that are dented, leaking, bulging, or rusted.
    • Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
    • Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water.
    • Cutting boards, utensils, and countertops can be sanitized by using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.
    • Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in the refrigerator.
    • Refrigerator: The refrigerator allows slow, safe thawing. Make sure thawing meat and poultry juices do not drip onto other food.
    • Cold Water: For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately after thawing.
    • Microwave: Cook meat and poultry immediately after microwave thawing.
    Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures. 

    Ground meats:  Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. 

    Poultry:  Cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

    • Hot food should be held at 140 °F or warmer.
    • Cold food should be held at 40 °F or colder.
    • When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often.
    • Perishable food should not be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).
    • Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F).
    • Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling.
    • Use cooked leftovers within 4 days.
    • Reheat leftovers to 165 °F.
    Meat and poultry defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other methods, cook before refreezing.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  5. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great reminder
  6. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All Great Info, Guys!!!

  7. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You have done a great job here.  AND....thanks for the reminders.  All of us should know these guidelines...but get busy and forget.

    Food Safety is vitally important!

  8. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thank you Kat, Danny, Bear and jarjarchef!

    I realize food safety is not a very exciting topic, the amount of traffic on this forum kind of proves that. That's why I wanted to remind folks, like you said, food safety is vitally important to our health. It should never be ignored or taken lightly. It's a never ending battle, we're out numbered and surrounded, so don't let your guards down! 
  9. Great info, great reminder and Thank you for posting it. I put it on SMF Twitter too!
  10. flyinion

    flyinion Smoke Blower

    Good info.  Also, not sure how safe it is compared to the sink of water "change every 30 minutes" but if you submerge the meat in the water and leave a small stream of water running you will thaw the meat out very fast.  Learned that on a Good Eats show on Food Network.  I've used it to totally thaw a 2 pack of chicken breasts (those vacuum sealed packs of 2) in about 20 minutes for example (and yes I used cold water).
  11. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I've done that myself, either way is safe. The running water method is faster, but you're also paying for the extra water used, coming and going.

    [​IMG]..... or, we can plan ahead and put it in the fridge.
  12. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Good, helpful tips that every pit master needs to remember.

  13. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    When we get walked by the State Health Inspector in Florida. We have to have the running water. The best answer I have gotten from them is it speeds the process up. Then there was the I don't know it just says in the book we have to check it. I was like really! You control my future.......

    But in reality yes proper planning and fridge is best. But I must say I have thawed in running water way too many times.....
  14. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Lucky me I guess.... never had to deal with them. 

    Same here... forgot many times to take from freezer and into the fridge  [​IMG]

    When that happens, sometimes, I don't feel like messing with water or micro thawing, so I punish myself with a can of cold beans.... lol
  15. flyinion

    flyinion Smoke Blower

    True, but I find fridge thawing seems to take foooooorrrreeeevvvverrrr.  Maybe I'm just doing it wrong I don't know.  Tried to thaw out some fish once that had been given to us, it was frozen in a bag of water (like maybe a quart size bag) and 3 days later I still had a half block of ice in the bowl in the fridge.  We ended up giving up and just tossing it at that point.  The water running doesn't have to be much, just a little thin trickle.
    If I remember correctly from the cooking show I saw it on, it's something about thermodynamics and making the water move speeds the process up.
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Don't trust the Fridge temps.

    The last Fridge we bought, I put my Maverick in it to test the real temp.

    Then I sent the first two Fridges back to Sears, before I kept one that was accurate.

    If the Fridge is actually 32* or 33* things won't thaw to quickly.

    And if the real temp is 41*, things won't keep very long.

    Find the actual temp by putting your Meat Probe in a half bottle of water for a few hours. This will tell you what the inside temp of a piece of meat is.

  17. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Good point Bear!

    I need to buy thermos for both the fridge and freezer.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013

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