Left raw meat out overnighthelp!

Midland, TX(Zone 8a)

Last night when I got home from the grocery store, I put the bag with the meat--a beef roast and a large package of chicken thighs--on the dining room table to transfer to the back refrigerator. I finished bringing the groceries in and then forgot to follow through with putting the meat up. It had been sitting out at room temp for ~16 hours when I discovered it (including transit time from the grocery case). If I use it right away, is it still good, or do I chuck it all? The chicken thighs were to be used for making stock and then freezing. Please help--don't want any risk of making someone sick. ~pen

Hemet, CA(Zone 9b)

What I would do is freeze it first to kill any possible germys. When I was young some 50 + years ago we always left things on the counter overnight to defrost. Don't remember getting sick from that. Also if you cook the "death" out of your meat you should have no problems. My profession was a cook for 25 years. My opinion is that it is safe as I described. The health Dept probably would not agree.

Olympia, WA

I would definitely wash down the chicken thighs to remove any surface critters - something I pretty much do with any chicken or parts thereof.
Yes - freeze the beef.

I think you will be OK.
I marvel that any members of my family survived - my mother stored the left over - already cooked turkey, complete with dressing still housed in there, in a cold laundry room.

This message was edited Nov 17, 2012 4:39 PM

Midland, TX(Zone 8a)

Thank-you wanna and dillan. I froze the beef and went ahead and stewed the chicken. I boiled it 2 hours and then discarded the chicken, strained the stock, quick cooled it and put in the freezer. I had a small bowl of the stock before freezing, and I did not get sick. The chicken looked and smelled fresh before I cooked it. I think I'll be OK. From now on, meat goes in the fridge before I put up any groceries! ~pen

Hemet, CA(Zone 9b)

Makes my heart happy to be helpful!
Happy Thanksgiving and may God Bless!!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Whatcha' gonna make with that stock? I'm looking for a good chicken noodle soup recipe.


Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Oh, I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago. bought a nice 4 pound boneless pork loin to cut into chops...........forgot it in the grocery bag overnight. Our house is quite warm, so i didn't want to take any chances. The barn cats got a veritable feast. LOL

Olympia, WA

For me it wasn't quite so costly - but I had a gallon of milk along with all the rest - in the back of my pickup. By the time I packed everything into the house, I was too tired to even note the milk was not there. Next day, I missed it and reasoned that the store forgot to "give it to me" - as it was on my receipt. Called them up - and they gave me a new one. Egh - felt SO stupid when I found the milk a couple days later - where it had rolled behind some other items that were permanent residents of truck.

Midland, TX(Zone 8a)

Linda, I always keep frozen chicken stock in the freezer--but this particular batch is for making dressing and gravy for Turkey Day. I usually use turkey legs for this, but the silly store had no turkey parts at all.

Here's my chicken noodle soup recipe--haven't made it in a long time, but now you've got me in the mood. I usually add some carrot slices as well and a good sprinkle of parsley near the end. ~ pen

6 servings

4 C chicken stock
2 C diced cooked chicken
C sliced celery
C sliced green onion
tsp salt
tsp poultry seasoning
tsp pepper
2 C uncooked noodles
2 T flour
2 C milk

Add chicken, celery, onion and seasoning to stock. Bring to boil.
Add noodles. Cover and cook until noodles are almost tender (5-10 min).
Mix flour with small amount of milk until smooth. Add remaining milk. Stir unto soup. Cook to desired thickness.

Midland, TX(Zone 8a)

Just to follow up and let you know I served my family dressing and gravy made with my abused chicken thighs, and no one got sick. I think the tell was that it still smelled so fresh before I cooked it. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. ~pen

McKinney, TX(Zone 8a)

The nose knows - leaving meat out like you did usually does not spoil immediately. When in doubt give it the nose test. Spoilage gives off a bad odor rather quickly.

As for defrosting, I suggest not leaving meat on the counter to defrost overnight. It defrosts too fast, and the cells burst resulting in a much drier meat when cooked, especially in the better cuts. Lower quality cuts like stew meat and various roasts for example it may not make too much difference. Defrost in fridge for best results, or I often put it in a relatively sized ice chest with a frozen water bottle or two. I put my frozen turkeys in an ice chest and cover it with newspaper 2-4 days ahead of time, turning it over occasionally. They never fit in the fridge anyway.

A relative who was a lifelong butcher said the secret trick to dry aged beef is two fold. Cold storage with the ability to raise and lower the temperature by 1 degree over a 24 hour period, in a padlocked meat locker. The lock was to insure that no one could accidentally open the door and disturb the temperature in the locker! :>)

For years we used to hang deer in the shade for as long as two days when the temps in South Texas were in the seventies, and never had any spoilage. Then again, most rancidity occurs first in the fat, not the meat.

Madras, OR

commercially butchered meat may well be contaminated, and as bacteria grows toxins can be produced. cooking it does not destroy toxins. most extension agents would likely say to toss it

Olympia, WA

Quote from nancynursez637 :
commercially butchered meat may well be contaminated, and as bacteria grows toxins can be produced. cooking it does not destroy toxins. most extension agents would likely say to toss it

Many toxins are protein and protein is altered by heating - witness what changes occur in a cooked egg. Best example is that if you boil veggies contaminated w/ botulism toxin, you will be safe. If you only warm them, too bad for you. E. coli bacteria is destroyed by heat, same with salmonella.

You are right about contamination - the entire E. coli event happened that way.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Staphlococcus toxins are not made safe by heating. Meat available in stores is becoming increasingly contaminated with antibiotic resistant strains such as Staph. aureus. If you provide an environment favorable to growing pathogens your risk of contamination due to handling and unintended surface contact increases. I believe this was an earlier discussion in the canning forum. Unless you are handling contaminates using sterile technique you are at risk for contracting pathogens. That's why most operating room instruments are now disposable as opposed to being autoclaved.

This message was edited Apr 13, 2013 7:03 PM

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Meat is not like it was 50 years ago. If you had left it out for 3 hours, I would say....iffy, but use it right away and make sure you cook it thorough. But 16 hours is a NO GO and while I guess this was an old post, I hope someone else will read this and know....THROW IT AWAY.

WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT. Never take a chance with commercial meat, ever, ever, ever.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I'd have thought with all the antibiotics and medically treated foods that livestock is fed, it would be otherwise.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

The problem with tainted meat in particular is it is contaminated with feces at the time of slaughter and handling. I see there has been much information in the news and on line since I last posted about the extent of our contaminated meat products and meat handling. In the mean time, and unfortunately, most cases of food poisoning today are traced to raw produce.

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

So tru Maypop...and it makes we farmers look like we use the same practices. I've seen workers in Central America and I can tell you........wash your produce.....even if it says it is triple washed.

When I was little, one of the things I loved to do was eat raw hamburger with salt. Mom would have some out for spaghetti that night and I'd sneak a "meatball sized ball or two". Yum. I would never, ever, ever do that with any meat I buy in the store, any store today. We raise our own beef, most of the time, and I've gotten so used to fully cooking meats that I even cook mine all the way.

You should google how long can you keep unfrozen meats, especially poultry, out at room temperature. Never mess with chicken....never, never, never. We have several chicken houses around us for commercial chicken and we can't even walk by them the ammonia is so strong :( And we eat that?

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Podster, I just read a study in the June Consumer Reports showing that while both conventional and organic meats harbor bacteria, the meats raised conventionally with a lot of antibiotics have populations of bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant and therefore cause health problems that are much harder to treat. They were focusing on turkey in the article, but it's probably similar for other meats as well.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks for sharing that. That is something I don't doubt!

Probably the worst kind of bacteria and would suspect that is why we are ending up with the staph, MSRA, sepsis issues these days.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Yup, MRSA was one of the strains mentioned.

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