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Help! Brisket held at 130 overnight by accident, still ok to continue?

I pulled a boned headed move.  I put in a 13lb brisket in the electric smoker overnight at 10pm, set the temp to 230, and forgot to change the probe setting from my last smoke.  that one was set to 130.  got up at 5am and discovered the mistake, and reset the probe temp to 190.  do I need to toss the brisket, or is it still safe to eat?


  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,764
    I'm no food eggspert but a couple of thoughts-the 40-140*F zone is to keep the general public safe.  Obviously 130 is quite close to the 140*F line so I doubt too much bacteria got going.  You may want to google food danger zone as there are a few charts to give you more info. 

    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,935
    If you were in food service, you would be obliged to pitch it. Altho' the guidelines have been refined, I believe the rule is still the food must be above 140 in no more than 4 hours.

    Here's the problem, as I understand it. Any pathogens on the surface reached a growth rate of zero around 126. At 130, they are dying off, but the rate is quite slow. Hours are needed to pasteurize the meat. The problem is how much toxin was produced by that point.

    Personally, having done sous vide at 133 for up to 3 days at a time, I'd chance it. But I would not offer it to anyone w. a weak immune system, such as children under 4 and elders over 70.
  • yeah, I'm on the fence on this one.  It's for a big Superbowl party I'm hosting.  No youngsters under 10 or elders over 65, but still....  

    thinking I'm probably going to have to chuck it, and head over to  the supermarket to pickup some chicken to grill.  dang it! 

    my fault for forgetting to check the probe temp.

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,935
    The maxim, "when in doubt, throw it out," is a very good recommendation.
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,064
    edited February 2014
    Or pick up butt or two that will honestly prolly blow your guests away even more. You can do a modified turbo cook and have them done before kickoff. I did one and was great.

    Stabilize your egg at 300 and cook it straight until reaches 170, then wrap with butcher paper, paper bag, or foil. Put it back on and pull it when it feels like buttttaaaahhhhhh
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • I'm betting you are good to go. The surface temp was over 140ºF as you were cooking at 230ºF. The surface is where the most bacteria is ready to do its multiply thing. By the time the IT was 130ºF the outside was above the 140ºF danger zone and the vast majority of the cooties were dead. There was little to no chance of airborne bacteria entering the egg, so cross contamination was virtually impossible. The final temp will be +190ºF and held for long enough the brisket will be "clean". 

    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • that's also a good point.  this is a very thick brisket, and the temp probe was in the very thickest part of the meat.
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    Welcome to the electric smoker forum. .. =))
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,064
    henapple said:

    Welcome to the electric smoker forum. .. =))

    I was wondering about the "electric smoker" part but didn't want to question. Lol
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • TerrebanditTerrebandit Posts: 1,718
    I would not be concerned because it is BEEF. If it was ground beef, I might be mildly concerned. If it was poultry or pork, it would be in the trash.
    Dave - Austin, TX
  • Yeah, I got a Large egg that'll I'll be doing ribs on later this morning for the game, but thought I'd post this question here too.  thanks for the quick responses.
  • Proceed as normal. Right before taking it off I would go nuclear and just sear the outside.

    Throwing it away is prolly better advice. :)
    Large BGE and Medium BGE
    36" Blackstone - Greensboro!

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    Lol jk broski. ..
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • henapple said:
    Welcome to the electric smoker forum. .. =))
    Good point. Eggers take the high road, well some of us do. We help anybody, and the more we've had to drink the more creative our suggestions become. Come to think of it an egg with a stoker is about the same as an electric smoker without a "cold" or low range. 
    Sous vide, electric smoker, it is all the same, very accurate temp control, that's why his brisket is good to keep. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • DMWDMW Posts: 12,463
    Now I'm wondering if anyone has converted their egg with a heating element and controller??
    My Facebook Page where I document my cooking
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle - XXL BGE - Akron Jr - BS SS36" Griddle
  • I used to use my egg for the long overnight smokes, but I'd still wake up throughout the night worrying about if the temps were holding.  I picked up a Cookshack a couple years ago to supplement the egg mainly for those overnight smokes.  The egg continues to be used for shorter/daytime smokes.  I've found the combination works out great for me.
  • The nagging doubt I have over this brisket isn't worth the heartburn (pun intended!).  I'm going to chuck it, and chalk it up to another learning experience. 

    Time to start warming up the egg now for the ribs to come.

  • Not worth taking the chance IMO. If you serve it then two words come to mind...full disclosure.

    Consider a Maverick for the alarm function.
    Gittin' there...
  • Kevin Yee said:

    The nagging doubt I have over this brisket isn't worth the heartburn (pun intended!).  I'm going to chuck it, and chalk it up to another learning experience. 

    Time to start warming up the egg now for the ribs to come.

    Too cautious Kevin, the Cookshack will have kept the temp at 130ºF in the meat, so all is good. Hope you have a dog, finish the cook and don't waste the meat. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • SkinnyVSkinnyV Posts: 3,394
    I'd keep it . tell my buddies in full disclosure what happens and I'm sure they'd take a stab at it along with me anyway.
    I've had fires go out on overnights and pushes on with the food and ate it.... Temps were hot enough IMO to be OK.
    Seattle, WA
  • Seems like half say toss it, and half say eat it.
  • No way I would toss it, if it was meatloaf maybe, but it's a solid piece of meat.  How many people eat steak in the 120-130 range?  It's fine, like mentioned above the outside of the meat would be well above the 140* mark. If you are serious about tossing it I'll be over to pick it up.
    I raise my kids, cook and golf.  When work gets in the way I'm pissed, I'm pissed off 48 weeks a year.
    Inbetween Iowa and Colorado, not close to anything remotely entertaining outside of football season. 
  • Kevin Yee said:
    Seems like half say toss it, and half say eat it.
    I'm on a side that have experienced severe food poisoning that lasted for days.
    Gittin' there...
  • If it was in a 230* environment the whole time it is perfectly OK. That is what I'm understanding. Did it get to 130* and shut off? Even if it did, it would have taken some time to get to 130* say 4 hours I think is reasonable in a 230* cooker. That takes you to 2:00 am and three hours in the danger zone...still OK.


    Caledon, ON


  • I set the smoker temp to 230. Once the meat hit 130 internal, the smoker temp automatically ramped down to keep the meat at 130 internal.
  • stantrbstantrb Posts: 156
    I always err on the side of abundant caution when I'm feeding other people.  Give one person food poisoning and you're done cooking for people.
    Minimax and a wood-fired oven.
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,690
    Solid cuts I.e brisket are different than ground meat. Any "baddies" are on the surface, not internal. I think you were OK
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • Thanks for all the comments/feedback.  In the end I decided to toss the brisket.  I didn't want to deal with the stress and uncertainty.  I told my guests what happened, and most said they would've ate it.  we had so much food that it was ok in the end anyway. 

    that was a horrible game though...

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,982
    back 12 years ago i got chewed out for asking this very same question, all the old timers on the forum were cooking butts at 220 dome temps and not watching meat internals at all. its pretty much impossible to get the internal of a big butt over 140 degrees in 6 or 7 hours with a dome temp of 220. the reason i got chewed out was the old timers were NOT watching internal temps early in the cook, just pit temps and they just didnt know better,BUT, no one was getting sick either
  • serve with strong beverages, they'll kill off anything that makes it into the stomach :-)
    Pentwater, MI
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