Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kryinggame, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Okay, this has absolutley nothing to do with smoking food but I'm desperate for help.

    Last night about 10:45 ish, I started preparing some chicken cacciatore. I got it into my Hamilton Beach slow cooker--set it on low for 8 hours and went to bed. I got up this morning around 5:30 to check on it and the machine was off. I assume it's on the brink or there's a short in it or whatever but at some point during the night/morning, it stopped working.

    The sauce was still hot so I used my instant read thermometer to check on the chicken, which read 135* internally.  Due to the time, I put the slow cooker insert into the fridge.

    Tonight, I'll pick up a replacement slow cooker but more importantly, I'm wondering if it's safe to continue cooking the chicken cacciatore or should I just throw it out.  I'm angry because I used four chicken breast which were not on sale.  The chicken plus all of the ingredients--it's a huge expense if I have to throw it all out.

    On another note, I've been using my Hamilton Beach faithfully for the past 2 -3 years. It's a great machine with a food probe.  Normally, when doing chicken, I'd set the food probe into the breast and set the machine to 165*.  I can't believe it only had a 2 -3 year life span.  How is it, that some folks say they've had and used a slow cooker for nearly 20 years. I really love this model but 2 -3 years isn't a lot and Hamilton Beach only offers a 1 year warranty.  I'm debating if I should get the same model.  Decisions, decisions, decisions... 
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Slow cookers typically heat to temps of 175*F on Low and are designed to get the food temp up to this level in 4 hours. They are also designed to hold their temp for about 2 hours in the event of a power failure or to transport to an event without reheating. Your cook time was 8 hours and the IT was 135*F which means it never got up above 135*F or it died more than 2 hours before 5:30. In either case the recommended course of action is to finish the cook by another means. You instead Refrigerated a heavy Insert full of a warm but not hot food that will take several more hours to cool to 40*F. I think I would not risk this one and toss the Chicken...Sorry...JJ

    Info on Slow Cooker Safety...
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  3. At best the chicken is border line safe. Go with Chef Jimmy's advice. no sense starting the holidays with 8 hours in the emergency room.

    A few years ago the wife and I ate some "pink" chicken from a restaurant and both of us got very ill. I learned my lesson the hard way.
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I agree it is borderline temp wise and if at 135*F long enough many types of bacteria are killed. Is the Recipe Acidic containing a lot of Tomatoes, Vinegar and/or Wine? This would help with the safety issue but there just is no way to tell. I understand the money issues of tossing a Dinner in the trash but this is too close for me to call comfortably...JJ
  5. Based on the situation I would go with what Chef Jimmy & Linguica said & not eat the chicken. I've had to throw out meat before & it's not fun but I got food poisoning several years ago & I DO NOT WANT TO GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN!!! [​IMG]    Better safe than sorry...
  6. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    I appreciate everyone's suggestion.  I was going to PM Jimmy with the question since he's extremely knowledgable about everything.  That's the problem with overnight cooking and slow cookers, there's always a risk that something may go wrong.

    I work a lot of hours so a slow cooker is king in my house. Tonight, I'll stop off at Walmart and pick up a new one. I'm annoyed that I only got a few years out of it but I use it at least once a week.

    Thanks again everyone for your advice.

    Oh by the way, Jimmy, thanks for the link.   I'm going to save it in my Ipad.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  7. Before you buy a new slow-cooker, i was wondering if a momentary power interruption might have reset the cooker. With my bread maker, if the power "winks off" even for a few seconds it loses programming.
  8. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Nothing else in my house was off.  I have one of those clocks that measurs time down to the second and it's right on point.  At times, I don't get home to the late evening.  I'll prepare food either the night before (to take to work for lunch) or early in the morning (so I can have for supper when I get home).  This happened before but I was around when it happened--it was some soup that i was slow cooking. I was thinking that it was a break in electricity.  But now, I can no longer trust this dang machine. 

    Oh well!
  9. What did you end up doing?
  10. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    I got home, drank some Gentlemen's Jack, played some Call of Duty on my Playstation and fell asleep on the couch.  lol

    Where's what I noticed, when I got home last night, the low voltage lights in the front and side of my house were out. I'm wondering if all of the lights, the slow cooker and whatever else might have been on, could have possibly tripped the power to reset (Cause I had to reset the power).  Tonight, I'm going to test my theory.  I'm going to turn off the low voltage lights in the front and side of the house and then I'm going to set the slow cooker for 8 hours and see what happens.

    If the issue is to much power being used at one time, getting a new slow cooker won't resolve the issue.   Stay tuned!
  11. Another possibility is a neighborhood voltage reduction called a "brown out"  Appliances will run at reduced efficiency.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012

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