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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 9)


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So, I had 2 nice batches of sous vide short ribs going -- 1 at 72 hours, 1 at 48 hours. When I left for work this morning, they were bubbling away and happy as can be. Some point during the day, the power went out, thus cancelling the timer and temperature setting on my Anova. The bath was lukewarm at best when I got home, and I started them back up again at 60 C - my question is what anyone thinks about the possibility that these have gone to garbage or if, because they were sealed, they might be ok -- I am going to follow through with the cooking, and see tomorrow night -- but any thoughts? Must be Karmic retribution for something....Thanks and take care.

Dan

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Technically, you would be advised to be conservative and throw them out but, as long as they were pasteurized, dropping the temperature shouldn't cause any issues if you're cooking it for another 20+ hours at 60C. I'd say throw it out if you see any puffing on the bag or if there's a weird smell if you open it. Otherwise, I'd wager that you'll be fine.

PS: I am a guy.

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It all depends on how long they had been cooking and it what temperature. If they had gotten above 145° or so for any measurable amount of time it should be okay otherwise they are very questionable. As mentioned by the PP as long as they don't smell when you open the bags in the bags don't puff up to go probably okay.

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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Harmful pathogens and resulting toxins cannot be seen or smelled.

You have no idea what the initial pathogen load was or how long the meat was at dangerous temperatures.

Even if the meat was pasteurized, pasteurization only reduces pathogens to safe levels, it doesn't completely eliminate them.

Pathogens multiply very fast at lukewarm temperatures.

It's not worth the risk.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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Would it make any difference that the short ribs were double bagged at 99.9% (twice)? I understand from what you are saying that these pathogens that already existed would also be doubled bagged...but I am simply wondering if that prevents the introduction, more effectively.

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That could actually increase the risk in terms of anaerobic pathogens.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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Here's a good short article by Harold McGee......Bending the Rules on Bacteria.

Pretty much the same risks apply to your situation.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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If they were above 132F for more then 2-4 hours i personally would eat it. Ive had a similar situation where a cooler sprung a leak and i had a pork butt in for 6 hours @ 155F and then 3-4 hours as low as 125F. Got the leak fixed and finished it off for another 24 hours back at 155F. I served this to 10-15 family members and nobody got sick.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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I am thinking that perhaps the best course of action is to change the dish, assuming the meat is still"good" - perhaps something that raises the temp to 190-200 for a few minutes...thanks for the responses btw, very helpful.

Edited by Unpopular Poet (log)
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I've had similar things happen, and I've asked similar questions here too. The answer is always to ask yourself if you want to risk your health for a few dollars worth of meat. I don't. So whenever I have had doubts I just chuck the bags. I don't like doing it but it means no worries.

It is important to know - as mentioned above - that the harmful bacteria do not affect the look, taste and smell of food in any way. You cannot smell or taste listeria, salmonella, ecoli, b cereus, clostridium etc etc. Conversely, there are many types of spoilage bacteria that can stink to high heaven but they won't harm you. Some types of lactobacillus will happily breed at temperatures over 63C. Recently I has a bag of pork belly start to puff up after 2 days at 58C. The bag inflated to the point I thought it would pop, so I took it outside and opened it to see what was going on inside. It smelt worse than one of my son's nappies - actually it smelt worse than a bin full of nappies that had been sitting in the sun for a week. It was smelly - spoilt beyond recovery - but it wasn't dangerous and I even tasted the meat to see what it was like, with no ill effects at all (the pork was not that bad, considering, but there was no way I would eat all of it).

I think about this a fair bit because about a year ago I got very bad food poisoning - bad as in collapse and call an ambulance bad. At the time, we were housesitting and all my sous vide and other modernist bits were packed up in boxes, so I could safely lay the blame at a chicken kebab I had for lunch. I was very sick for a week and didn't feel 100% for about a month. I have often wondered what the conversation with the paramedics and doctor would have been like if I had to explain that my lunch was salmon I had cooked at 45C, or beef cheeks cooked for 3 days at 60C etc etc I don't think they would have been very sympathetic and I probably wouldn't have been so sure myself.

I never want to be that sick again, so if I have to throw out a few bags now and again then so be it.

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I've had similar things happen, and I've asked similar questions here too. The answer is always to ask yourself if you want to risk your health for a few dollars worth of meat. I don't. So whenever I have had doubts I just chuck the bags. I don't like doing it but it means no worries.

It is important to know - as mentioned above - that the harmful bacteria do not affect the look, taste and smell of food in any way. You cannot smell or taste listeria, salmonella, ecoli, b cereus, clostridium etc etc. Conversely, there are many types of spoilage bacteria that can stink to high heaven but they won't harm you. Some types of lactobacillus will happily breed at temperatures over 63C. Recently I has a bag of pork belly start to puff up after 2 days at 58C. The bag inflated to the point I thought it would pop, so I took it outside and opened it to see what was going on inside. It smelt worse than one of my son's nappies - actually it smelt worse than a bin full of nappies that had been sitting in the sun for a week. It was smelly - spoilt beyond recovery - but it wasn't dangerous and I even tasted the meat to see what it was like, with no ill effects at all (the pork was not that bad, considering, but there was no way I would eat all of it).

I think about this a fair bit because about a year ago I got very bad food poisoning - bad as in collapse and call an ambulance bad. At the time, we were housesitting and all my sous vide and other modernist bits were packed up in boxes, so I could safely lay the blame at a chicken kebab I had for lunch. I was very sick for a week and didn't feel 100% for about a month. I have often wondered what the conversation with the paramedics and doctor would have been like if I had to explain that my lunch was salmon I had cooked at 45C, or beef cheeks cooked for 3 days at 60C etc etc I don't think they would have been very sympathetic and I probably wouldn't have been so sure myself.

I never want to be that sick again, so if I have to throw out a few bags now and again then so be it.

I had some beef short ribs come out of after 48 hours at 133F that smelled like doo doo, but there was no way in hell i was taste testing that $hit...lol I dont know if i should applaud you, or wonder if you have issue in the closet.

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Anyone know where to get a diffuser for Iwatani torch?

would be interested in this one aswell!

There is a lot of interest for torch diffusers. It's just a matter of who will bring one to market first...

http://www.cookingissues.com/2013/03/17/patent-pending/

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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well you wont kill what's in the middle of the mass. then there are those thorny spores.

chances are you wont die. chances. it also worth noting who is going to eat the stuff? very small children? pregnant women ? old folks? immune compromised folks on chemotherapy?

etc?

so go ahead and enjoy it. if you dont fit the above. we dont hear from you we know what happened. just dont pass it around.

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I'd throw it out without even opening for a sniff. Not worth it. Besides, when I sniff on something thinking it might be bad it WILL smell bad to me, no matter how perfect it is.

Think of it as a customer, if you were in a restaurant and heard this happened, would you order the dish anyway?

  • Like 1

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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its not that difficult to decide.

1) you do, and no one else

2) you don't

if your are torn, then eat up!

I say this with respect. and if you do well, it has no relevance on other similar problems.

each SV bag is an experiment. lesions learned with each bag

keep track then your are on your own personal way.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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My situation for the evening is that 2 friends, both healthy males (and educated cooks and eaters), are coming over for dinner. I think we will be making a game time decision together. If I do get botulism, I should go out and play the lotto, because 15% of about 150 cases a year (in the US)...or 22.5 cases, come from food. It won't be my final decision though -- it will be the diners. I will pick up some extra steaks and let them decide. I do appreciate everyone's input though -- this discussion has definitely given me pause to think about the different types of pathogens and spores. Damn spores.

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Could be the weight loss program I have been looking for. I am definitely torn on this one.

I had a student who was a very healthy Marine. Very fit. He disappeared for about a month and came back like a pallid and gray skeleton. Salmonella.

There is no comparison to lotto. This is like standing in an open field during a lightning storm with a metal pole. Hardly anyone is struck by lightning, after all...

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So I ended up hedging my bets....prime bone in ribeyes were on sale at my butcher. So...suffice to say, I think that maybe the $14 worth of short ribs will be going to waste...In the end, I was perfectly happy to eat the short ribs myself, but I decided that if one of my friends did get sick, I would feel horrible and would probably be weary of doing these short ribs again. Now, if one of these guys drinks too much bourbon, it is his fault. Thank you everyone for your assistance here -- I am still going to open up the bags and check out the final product. Consistency test more than anything else. Atleast it won't have been a total waste....Everyone take care and be well!

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