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AnnaK2tu

Problem with BBQ/Sous Vide.. is it safe to eat?

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I work in a kitchen, where some of my colleagues don´t take me seriously.. mainly because I´m a self-thought woman who doesn´t have a lot of experience and who has spent most of the time making desserts. Let´s be honest.. when it comes to BBQ, even I am really sceptical about myself. But I have a problem with one of the dishes they´re serving to customers. Please.. tell me, they´re doing things correctly.

 

It´s all about boneless pork chops. It comes in frozen, they thaw it, cut into portions and put it in a marinade for about a day (I´m not really sure whats in it, because it all happens kilometers away, but it contains papain and white onions and it´s salt free, because with brine they "can´t control the saltiness of the finished product"). And then they grill/smoke them on Kamado Joe´s .. 120C for about an hour and afterwards seal them in a vacuum bag when meat is still really hot, "because it gives the juiciest results!". Two pieces of grill striped meat together with marinated onion in the middle. And what about cooling the meat down? They don´t need to do so, because "the meat has to cool down to +16C within 6 hours, so it´s perfectly safe!" .. but after a day or two they admitted, that they have improved the cooling down process.. by using dry ice. 

This meat (about 25 kg at a time) arrives in our restaurant still warm and tightly packed in a thermo box, and it´s then placed in a fridge with a temperature about 9C or above (an old machine and a hot summer, what are you going to do). And stays there until water bath.. for some pieces it can take up to a week or more. And it´s okay, because they are totally sure that its shelf life is at least 16 days.  

It´s served as BBQ pork chop.. before service they set up water bath to temperature 90C and put some of the bags in, leaving it often too crowded. Meat has to be there at least 45 minutes.. up to 4 hours or even longer... and when the long awaited customer order arrives? They cut the bag open, place it upon roasted potatoes and pour it over with a large amount of sauce. 

 

Do you think this process might be flawed? Or it´s just me? I´ve tasted the end result and felt deeply sorry for the creature who had to die for it.

But.. but.. is it actually safe to eat? For example.. I know botulism is really rare, but in this case is it possible? I´ve voiced my concerns, but mostly to deaf ears. Am I really so mistaken? 

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90 C is way too hot for any meat to be nicely done. That'd be leather

 

 it shouldn't arrive warm and packed in a box that's popped in a fridge...plenty of time to grow stuff.

 

so yes, its flawed.

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I'm sorry but your place sounds like somewhere I'd seriously avoid.  Apart from the blatant health risks, if I want a BBQd pork chop  I don't want something that has been tortured for days by people who throw at it every bit of random pseudo-technique they misread about.

 

Take pork chop (bone-in please) and BBQ/grill the damned thing. Serve. Deal done!

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Nothing to be proud of there.    Shaking head in disbelief.  

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I wouldn't feel so bad that they don't pay attention to you, because clearly they haven't paid attention to anyone else who knows anything. 

 

As gfweb said, it sounds like the results would be just awful, so it's hard to imagine there would be too many customers in danger of getting sick.

 

But for the unfortunate few, the meat is being held way too long at dangerous temperatures, where toxin-producing bacteria can thrive. After its bagged theres even a danger of spore-producing bacteria becoming activated. The toxins produced by these bacteria aren't going to be deactivated by the 90C sous-vide bath ... that will only serve to turn the meat gray and tough and bad tasting.

 

Where does this "cool to 16C in 6 hours" come from? That's bizarre. Health codes just about everywhere say that if food spends more than 4 hours between 4°C and 40°C you have to throw it out. This is a bit too conservative ... the danger zone should be rewritten as 4°C to 55°C, with longer safe-holding times at the low end of the range. But no matter what, your coworkers' numbers are whackadoodle.

 

edited to add: How are they passing inspections with that 9°C fridge?


Edited by paulraphael (log)
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In addition to what everyone else has posted, which has the benefit of being true, this ought to be addressed:

 

On 7/18/2018 at 9:40 PM, AnnaK2tu said:

 it´s salt free, because with brine they "can´t control the saltiness of the finished product

 

This is ignorant, if you really care about salt levels. Regardless of whether you like the end result of the technique or not, brining -- especially equilibrium brining -- is pretty much the only way to precisely control the amount of salt in a finished product.

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Still trying to get past BBQ. Thats not BBQ, thats partially grilled meats.

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On 7/22/2018 at 11:26 AM, FeChef said:

Still trying to get past BBQ. Thats not BBQ, thats partially grilled meats.

 

That's charitable in this case. 

 

Nevertheless, people make exceptional BBQ by sous-viding the meat, partially drying the surface, and then smoking it. Or in some cases changing the order of operations.

 

You can have semantic and taxonomic arguments all day long (as BBQ fanatics love to do). But when it's done well the results kick ass by any conventional BBQ standards—besides lack of a visible smoke ring, which doesn't mean anything. Nathan Myhrvold advocates for this technique, and he's been a member of a champion BBQ team. 

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Mea culpa but is this even a real situation? It makes zero sense from all aspects aside of the obvious food safety one. 

 

 The OP hasn’t responded. This smells of rotten meat in more than one way. 

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9 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

 

You can have semantic and taxonomic arguments all day long (as BBQ fanatics love to do). But when it's done well the results kick ass by any conventional BBQ standards—besides lack of a visible smoke ring, which doesn't mean anything. Nathan Myhrvold advocates for this technique, and he's been a member of a champion BBQ team. 

 

Interesting contrast between sous vide and BBQ practitioners. 

 

SV cooks talk about results and BBQ guys argue about technique. 

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

 

SV cooks talk about results and BBQ guys argue about technique. 

 

To be fair, that guy at BBQ Bible was all about results. No idea what other BBQ people think of him, though ...

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I´m still here, but have been busy with fighting with co-workers and with changing restaurants. 

 

Thank you all for responding, you have been a huge moral support. I have only two work days to go and then I´m finished with this. But the moral dilemma remains.. I have talked with the owners and the kitchen staff connected with it, and nothing.. no change. The end product is so bad that large amount of servers  try to have a moment with customers to try to convince them to choose something else from the menu. Because let´s be honest.. this restaurant has been really popular for almost three years, I dare to say that we serve about 300-400 customers a day. At least. And we´re in the Nordic White Guide. Soon I´m gone, but what if someone actually gets sick because of it? Or dies? 

 

And I have had some cooking related conversations with the guys. Yes, they have been to the culinary school here in Estonia, but lets be honest.. the quality of this education is really questionable. And I´m pretty sure, they don´t read cookbooks or try to educate themselves. For example when I tried to convince them, that they´re cooking methods might me off and mentioned the word "collagen", I got the response: "Nono! There´s no collagen left! We kill it with grilling and high heat!" Cool, good for you.. but it´s not a bacteria. 

And when I recommended using banana leaves for a street food fair and mentioned a fact that you actually don´t eat the leaf itself? They automatically assumed that banana leaves are made of plastic..

 

I do love the place and I like how the owners have given kitchen staff the liberty to do whatever they like menu wise. It´s awesome! Until the system fails and does it so badly. I have only two days to go, three more cooks have about two weeks left. And the solution? BBQ guys remain and are composing a new kitchen team.. with young people fresh out of the culinary school, younger the better. 

 

And the meat that has been in the sous vide water bath and at the end of the day is still there? It´s ok to take it out and put it back with the rest of the meat packages.. maybe tomorrow. 

 

.. moral dilemma remains. And it´s eating me alive. 

 

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If there is a government agency that inspects restaurants...they'd be the ones to talk to

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