Safe Smoking

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by eman, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Food safety Must be a smokers #1 priority!!!

     If you have ever had true food poisoning you will understand why we preach about this subject and why some of us may go overboard about this in some folks opinions.

     It's bad enough if i make myself sick. But to make my family and friends sick because i did something wrong and was to scared or proud or  embarassed to ask for help or was to cheap to throw out an exspensive piece of meat is INEXCUSABLE!

     What may make me ill for a day or two could kill someone with a weak immune system.

      When i smoke i usually fill up my MES 40' . usually between $50 and $100 worth of meat depending on what i'm smoking.

     There is a post here somewhere  where i did 50lbs+ of meat .

     I knew that i had done everything right but i loaded the mes w/ cold meat and my recovery time was so slow that i was worried about the 4 hr safe zone.

     I had allready resolved myself to the fact that i would either have to go to the oven or toss the whole batch.

     Luckily i reached the 140 barrier w/ about 15 min to spare.

     Could i have gone  5 hrs to reach 140 and been ok??

    Maybe. But i won't risk my or anyone elses health  on maybe.

     Time for me to get off my soapbox.  Flame on.
    ddave likes this.
  2. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well said. Better safe than sorry.
  3. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Amen to that, brother. [​IMG]

    Having had true food poisoning thanks to a moronic family member who thought her spinach dip would be fine mixed up at home then transported in the back seat of a car for the 3 hour trip to my house, I can attest to the fact that it is no fun.

  4. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One aspect that is often overlooked is surface and utensil sanitation.  You need to use sanitizer on everything.  What is sanitizer?  Something as simple as clorox at 4 ppm (parts per million) to a gallon of water.  From the Clorox® site:

    To sanitize plastic cutting boards, wash or rinse with liquid dishwashing detergent and water. Then soak in a solution using 1 tablespoon of Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water. Let stand 2 minutes, then air dry.
    To sanitize wooden cutting boards, use approximately 3 tablespoons of Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water to create a sanitizing solution. Wash, wipe, or rinse with dishwashing detergent and water, then apply solution. Let stand

    2 minutes. Rinse with a solution of 1 tablespoon of Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water. Do not rinse or soak overnight.

    For cleaning cloths:

    Sanitize sponges and dishcloths daily in the sink using ¾ cup Clorox® Regular-Bleach to a gallon of water. Let soak 5 minutes. Rinse and dry.

    Always read and follow precautions and usage directions before using cleaning products. Always store cleaning products out of reach of children.

    Cross contamination of surfaces is a great way to get sick; cutting up a chicken on a board, then just rinsing off and preparing a fresh salad on it and you're in for troubled times.   Beef juice from a package on the counter, wiping off with a used dishcloth that's full of bacteria and then cutting up some cheese on the same spot and everyone is sick who is a cheddarhead. 

    Keep a bucket (like a margarine tub) with hot water and a teaspoon of Clorox® and a cleaning rag in it when preparing food, wiping and sanitizing in between processes, or use ready-made sanitizing solutions available from Clorox® and other companies - wipes, sprays, liquids, dissolvables, etc. 

    In a meat room, you can gain a whole extra day of shelf life of your product if you do two things:  1) sanitize cutting boards and machines in between products (cut beef first, sanitize, then pork, sanitize, then chicken last (7 times the bacteria count), sanitize) and tear down and sanitize twice a day; once at lunch time and once at end of cutting.  if I had three meatcutters and myself, 2 would go to lunch while two sanitized, then the other 2 would go to lunch when the first two got back.  We improved our case life and product freshness overwhelmingly well on that program.  And, there was no time wasted doing it because it cut our rewraps down to a third every morning, saving us the time to use to sanitize.  If a steak had a 3 day shelf life by the second day it would lose it's bloom.  Under this program it could stay out an extra day, it's freshness lengthened because of a much lower bacteria count.  Case looked better, rewraps reduced providing more sales and profits, we could cut a little extra for night fill so we gained more missed sales and profits went up and customers (the most important point!) were happier!

    Keep your customers (family and friends) happier with great sanitation habits!
  5. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    great post pops.........i have seen more chances of people getting sick from food contact surfaces than the food it self.
  6. Great Advice Guys. [​IMG]
  7. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well, all I can say is that since joining this site, my food handling technique has vastly improved.  I thought I was very careful before but now it's much better.

    One question, more of an observation to insure I've got this right.  This is for my personal home use only, not commercial.

    On plastic boards, first:  Wash with detergent and hot water.

    Rinse off soap. 

    Soak in a solution of 1TBS Chlorox / gallon of water for 2 minutes then air dry.

    Is the 2 minutes the minimum time but could be longer or is it mandatory of ONLY 2 minutes, then air dry.

    Always wondered about the what to do after the sanitize wipe.

    Usually I process the meats after a shopping trip and consequently have several different types of meat, i.e. poultry, pork, beef, and salmon if on sale or the boat is in.

    I would presume that you also need to treat your utinsels (knives, etc) with the same diligence.  Now I see the need (and the excuse) to keep extra knives ready for the next process.  Always wondered why my step-father had so many similiar knives in his kit.  He's a retired Meat Cutter for Safeway.

    An aside to EMAN:  I fully agree with your desire to increase food saftey awareness.  The one thing that drives me up the wall is wandering through stores like Costco, with the food demonstraters hanging out on each corner, handing out samples, watching someone pick up a sample then put it back.  Or some village idiot sneezes on the display and the demonstrater does nothing about it.  I absolutely refuse to touch any of that stuff.  Talk about a breeding ground for possible food poisoning.  Yes, I know the demonstraters have been certified by the local health department, but some of the food just sits around.  Now, I'll get off my soapbox.  And yes, I've suffered the consequences of poor food handling.  Ain't no way I care to repeat that.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  8. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member


     i have to agree w/ you on the food demos.

     I won't eat from any of them .

     i watched one at a local place that alot of us shop at open cooler door that everyone touched to show someone the product with her gloved hand and then serve the sample w/ the same hand.
  9. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The two minutes is the minimum time, but much longer is not doing anything more.  Also, lay out on a CLEAN surface to air dry too!

  10. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As always, Pops comes in with the real dope.

    Don't get carried away with the bleach, cause it can cause problems to humans, cutting boards and knife handles.  Use it like Pops said and you will be fine.  A little hand washing goes a long way.  I used to work in hospitals.  80% of hospital (nosocomial) infections could have been prevented with simple hand washing.

    The main reason food safety is so extra important to us is that we cook at low temperatures.  With a little common sense, that need not be a problem.  Assuming that our kitchen, counters, cutting boards, knives, and hands are clean that is. Oh, don't forget that nasty sponge or wash rag?  Dump them in the microwave every night until they show some steam.  Just my two cents.
  11. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    One thing I don't do is use sponges or wash cloths around food prep.  Paper towels and a good scrub brush that gets treated when appropriate.  Unpowdered Nitrile gloves are used religiously and swapped out when shifting between meat groups.

    Great advice and deeply appreciated, although unknowingly by the recipients of our smoking efforts.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  12. Thanks Bob and Pops,

    That topic is something people tend to overlook when dealing with food preperation, myself included. I often stop in the middle of prep time and do a safety check to make sure that I have not overlooked anything in the rush of things. It doesn't take much for bacteria to do its thing and ruin a good meal. I hope everyone reads this and takes heed to those simple rules of cleanliness.

  13. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    After reading Pops comment about prep sanitation .I have one thing to add.

     I use the semi disposable flexable plastic cutting boards on top of my teflon board.

     They are available in multiple colors 2 to 5 in a pakage.

       Notice the comment about colors?  I use different colors for different meats / poultry.

     I do use the clorox mix to sanitize after washing but since i only use green for poultry pink for beef and clear for pork i have removed the chance of cross contamination.
  14. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Ok, you brought it it's time to pay the piper.  Where can I find some of these semi disposable flexible plastic cutting boards?  In my little town, there's not much chance, similar to that snowball in a very hot place.  Got a link perhaps.  This is something I definitely would like to acquire since I cross meat groups quite frequently.
  15. May be a stupid question, but what is the 4 hour safe zone?  From what I can tell, it sounds like the meat needs to get to 140 degrees within 4 hours of being out of the frig to avoid food poisoning? 
  16. Ok, I'd like to add my 2 cents. Mise en place. (Everything in it's place.) Being prepared for what you will be working with will keep you from having to go back to get something from the fridge or cabinet in a rush and forgetting what you touched or contaminated. Spice jars are another breeding zone. People touch the meat then grab the spice container then the meat. Then later they put the spice up in the cabinet at room temp. Always put spices in small glass bowls and use  what you touch and throw out any extra. And even as a last check wipe all your sauces in jars and spices with sanitize wipe's or Pop's clorox mixture.

    I have been there with the group of once bitten, and swear I will not let that happen to me again.

    Thanks for all the great info and advise.
  17. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I usually get them at wal mart but have found a flea market that has someone selling cheap imported kitchen ware and they have them cheaper than wally world.
  18. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

     you  are right about the  140/deg.  rule To avoid a higher risk of food bourne illness.

     We have folks here that do not go by it and don't believe in it . But ,I don't think that i want to risk it. The FDA doesn't just grab numbers and times out of thin air.
  19. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    As if I needed an excuse to go shopping, now I have a good one.  Thanks.

    Good mention about the spice containers.  I transfer what ever I'm going to use into plastic shaker cups that have a snap-on lid with holes punched in it.  I have several now just for this purpose.
  20. Wow I have gained a ton of knowledge fro this thread. Anybody think about making ti a sitcky?

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