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Factor of safety

Firestarter21Firestarter21 Posts: 309
edited 2:26PM in EggHead Forum
In other aspects of life, we have a factors of safety figured into the equation....
I have heard that the "danger zone" for meat is 40-140. Surely that is a general rule that people live by, but I doubt meat literally runs a risk of growing bacteria as soon as it hits 40, or until it hits exactly 140. So is there a factor of safety figured into the danger zone for meat? Am I even right about the danger zone? Figured someone here may have an idea about the answer to my question.


  • BrocBroc Posts: 1,398
    I'm not an expert -- but the 40 - 140 rule is oft quoted. Obviously, there must be a time zone, as well as a temp zone.

    For example, we leave meat out to come to room temp... for an hour or so...

    What about two hours? Three?

    ~ B :ermm:
  • I'm sorry, I didn't mention that I have always heard 40-140 for more than 4 hours.
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,703
    Some say that 2 hours, and not 4, should be the rule...
  • The more I googled, the more I found that 2 hrs is a common theme. Have you actually heard of anyone on the forum getting sick anyhow? I feel confident my fire never went below 150 at grate temp. The only thing is, my butts weren't completely thawed out. There weren't rock solid in the middle, but my guru did read 132 when I stuck it in the meat. It climbed up to 40 within about an hour, not to mention I had a little temp spike for the first hour and was cooking closer to 290. This post and my recent post "to foil or not to foil" are kind of running together. Just seeing what you guys thought. And not to mention the neighbors always rag on me about the egg and this is the unveiling meal that I will break them in with, I would hate to here they and their small kids ended up with something nasty.
  • I use 4, 40 and 140. I guess the numbers are easy to remember, but except for my looks, I've never made anyone sick yet.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Well, as has been pointed out here by stike and a couple others in years gone by, common sense is your friend in this situation.

    Four hours at 40 degrees is not nearly as dangerous as 4 hours at 130*. The warmer the meat the more the beer flows at the bacteria party if you get my drift.

    And, although I am no food scientist, I will say that when placing a salt covered meat in a warm, smoky environment will mitigate risks. Bacteria do not like salt, nor do they like the resultant pH of that smoky environment. Furthermore, if you are using a cut of meat that has not been compromised by internal cuts or bone removal, then surface temperature of the meat is going to be your main concern, not internal meat temperature.

    Make sense?
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Barrett - read my post. It should put your mind at ease.

    The internal temperature is not your concern here.

    Email me or call me if you have questions. I'll be available all day - cooking ribs and drinking beers.
  • Thanks Fidel, you are reassuring me of everything this morning. I agree that it is mostly just common sense and things will go fine. I just still get a bit nervous when feeding 20 people. Hope you have a great day and enjoy your cooking, I know it will be tasty!
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