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Discussion in 'Pork' started by iceshark, Jan 21, 2010.
I now wait until about 5 hours into the smoke and then insert the probe, works good for me,,,,
Thanks Paul. This is the thread I could not locate.
I learned from 2 of these guys. Very good read. Thank you. Altough I still maintain the chance with the probe must be so minimal or there would be some case study found on the web or in writing. Plus the temp equip manufacture companys legal depts would darn sure have it somewhere in there manuals.
However safe is safe so I will take your information and use it. No need being the first case study.
I absolutely love what all you guys have learned and can apply in the correct application. It is nice to know that things we discuss here are included in your methodology for making your smokes safer.
Not to throw a wrench in anything, but if the meat is going to pass through the danger zone in less then 4 hours it is correct you "could" insert the probe at the beginning. But we also use "Best Practices" in HACCP to ensure food safety, and the HACCP best practice is to wait til the outside passes through the danger zone for 45 minutes prior to inserting the probe.
But it is truly cool to see the different techniques hashed out and included in your food safety routines!! SMOKE ON!
I always wait cause if it cools off fast in Colorado I can exceed 4 hours on an intact muscle in the smoker.
Thanks bbally for all your guidance on food safety issues.
I'll second that!!
Thanks Bob the input of your knowledge is invaluable to a site like this...
All good information. Safety cannot be overemphasized. I do have one thing I would like to add or more correctly ask. If you are going to cite a reference, i.e. a food safety website, or manual, etc. please provide the link, or the specific manual, or some means by which we can check this info for ourselves. Speaking for myself, and I suspect others, I would like to see the reference, evaluate it for myself, and make informed decisions on these matters.
Great thread. I learned a lot about probing and such reading this. Sounds like it's one of those things that 99 times out of a 100 you won't have any problems, but still is a best practice.
While we're on the topic, how does everyone clean their smoker/grill grates? Do you just burn it off, and wire brush? Being a pellet burner, I have the luxury of adjusting heat easily, so i normally just crank it up right off the bat and then back it down when i put the meat on. Is this what everyone does?
DANG! I have been reading all the head lines about all those sick BBQ competition judges must have been 1000 cases a year. Hell you walk around any Q competition you will see probes galore sticking out of every kind of smoke rig and some outlaw smoking dudes even have 2 probes in their meat. Just can't trust one bacteria infested probe, better using two!
But alas, all that probe worry, is going to pass as we all know every competitor will stop probing before that meat hits the smoke, and wait until after whatever temp and condition is suppose to be right. We all can count on that, RIGHT!
One problem who is going to tell all those injectors to stop injecting pre-cook?
i was wondering when someone was going to mention the lack of sick BBQ judges all across america - and the injectors.
points, deltadue, points - but i must admit, i still like the idea of "disinfecting" the probe (or injector) by stirring the ice in my tequila with it first!
Um . . . okay . . . do you know for a fact that they probed it prior to placing it in the smoker?? Cause on the Pitmasters show, I've never seen them place a piece of meat with a probe in it on the smoker.
They don't need to stop injecting. If they inject, it is no longer "intact muscle" and they need to get it above 140° internal in four hours. Which is probably not a problem since most of them cook at a minimum of 250° smoker temp and many higher than that.
Food safety is NO joke! People do get sick and some even die because of bad practices. I recently read about Packers and Grinders of hamburger. Packers are suppose to test for e-coli and other stuff, they ship out their various grades of meat to Grinders who will turn the various meats into hamburger. PROBLEM, most packers will NOT sell their meat to Grinders who test for e-coli and other stuff, this is NOT fiction it is FACT. Yet the Government doesn't change how business is done. (buy the way Costco is one of the few Grinders that test every source of meat for their hamburger).
If that piece of pork didn't get to 160 because of winter temps and your smoker isn't up to the job, it is your responsibility to get that piece of meat into the oven and get it up to the correct temps and finish that meat properly. OR you will have to throw away meet.
As I said in my Turkey from Hell smoke, it was in the danger zone too long, and it went into the oven and stayed there hours longer than any turkey I ever cooked. The breast were all that was done, so I cut them out and finished the rest of the bird in another 2 hours. Every time I served that meat I made sure I heated it too 160. I am saying I take this all serious.
But I refuse to turn into Howie Mandel with mysophobia (fear of germs).
Therefore read the health stuff Jeff has posted in the Food Safety forum. It is your responsibility to make the correct application.
I'm smoking a pork butt right now. That probe was first hit with ammonia rinsed, and then put in a pot of boiling water to test for accuracy, the pot is turned off and cools while I finish prep the butt. It is then inserted, straight from the pot.
As for who knows when or what happens to those probes at competition, that wasn't the point to try and analyze food handling at bbq competitons. That comment is tongue in cheek, with a bit of wake up and smell the coffee.
I'm sure there have been a few judges end up on the john the next day because of careless handling.... one of the bad parts about being a judge I'd say.
Point is... there are specific guidelines for safe food preparation and handling. I don't think anyone here is being a Howie Mandell... just passin on good solid information. What each person practices is up to that individual and they need to make the call on that...
So the probe is very clean. But what if the outside of the meat has bacteria growing on it? You have then pushed it into the meat.
Unless you've butchered and processed the animal yourself, you have no idea really what it's temperature history is. You assume it was properly refrigerated and handled but you don't really know. So waiting to insert the probe seems like pretty cheap insurance to me.
Of course I guess you could swab the outside of the meat with tequila.
Point well taken, except I'm cooking that old shoe until it is nice and tender and 200º. Now that takes care of about 99.5% of the lil boggers. If there happens to be one those that can withstand most heat, then there isn't much that would change that outcome. When you know that is happening just let Mikey eat it.
PS I'm not trying to win any argument here, I am no authority don't claim to be, even though the Q competition comment is made in fun, it is a legitimate observation.
there are two facts in play, here. the first is that everyone at these competitions is cooking their meat far above 160 degrees. the second is that i haven't seen any headlines of team members or judges dropping like flies.
as someone in the insurance business, i can assure you that if there were a real and life-threatening danger from barbecue (which is the oldest form of cooking in the world), these events wouldn't be happening very often, if at all. every small-town ribfest straight up to the memphis-in-may orgy wouldn't be able to afford the insurance, waiver or no waiver. how many teams show up for the american royal in kansas city? 500? averaging 4 members to a team? plus another 500 judges?
a case can be made for BBQ joints, because they have to be FDA compliant to be in business (unfortunately, the average, minimum-wage, high-school-aged employee probably doesn't take the time to read all 700 pages - which is exactly the reason why i prefer to handle my own barbecue), but when you throw BBQ competitions, including official, unofficial, formal, informal etc. into the mix, you're going to find that statistic sticking out like a sore thumb.
having said all this, i will agree wholeheartedly that there is no reason NOT to be as safe as possible. i don't think anyone is going to recommend rolling a butt around in the dirt, then scraping the probe through a cat litter box before inserting it into the meat (gross, i know, but hopefully the point is made). what some of us are saying is that it is entirely possible to OVERTHINK this stuff and that is exactly what is going on in some of these discussions.
safe? absolutely! FDA guidelines? you bet, if you decide they work best for you! but get all the information, read it for yourself, and then make your own decisions - don't let someone else, ANYONE else, do your thinking for you. do the homework.
bottom line - we're cooking meat here, not building the space shuttle.
another bottom line - if it ain't fun, then there ain't much point, and there isn't much fun to be had living in fear of something that is dead at 160 degrees - nor is there any point.
i cant believe were arguing over when to probe meat? come on i'm paranoid but that's just ridiculous, i will take my chances, anyone with me? live a little.
aw, shucks, pandy - this ain't no argument, it's a lively discussion! if you want to see an argument, just go to a hunting forum and ask which is best, a .270 or a .30/06!