Safely Cooking Meat

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tracy, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Some friends of mine want me to make sure to cook their steaks dead just to make sure that I've killed any bacteria on them. I'm tired of overcooking a beautiful steak just because of a food-borne fear. I think that a nice steak, done the way I like it, really is worth dying for and so that's how I'm now preparing them (at least mine).

    I've heard that as long as it's not a ground beef, that I don't have to stress too much about surface germs and can cook it to my preference. Is this true?
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Within limits, you are on the right track. Surface bacteria are taken care of readily with exposure to direct heat for a "short while" whether it be a frying pan or grill or propane torch. The problem arises with disease causing microbes that could be within the meat itself, and there are some found there. Case in point are trichina that is found in pork. In wayback times, the rule of thumb was 165 deg F in the center of the meat for (I think it was) 5 minutes. However, I saw something recently indicating 160 for a "short time" will do.

    Anything ground has to be hot, period, and well done is not a bad plan. Obviously, it is all surface, all the time, and all the way thru.

    Further deponent sayeth otherwise, sear your steak and eat it purple if that's what you like. But sterilize the fork you use to flip it lest you poke bugs into it.
  3. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I'm gonna die.

    That's it.

    But I'll be happy ..... ;)
  4. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Sorry, but I'm with them. I want my steak to be DONE, not still bleeding. When I cook my steaks they are still juicy and tender - and cooked all the way through.

    I sear them, then move to medium heat and cook until done. Then allow the meat to "rest" off the grill for about 5 min.

    But that's just me and the wife, our best friends like their steaks still mooing.
  5. RaymondPeter

    RaymondPeter Simple Man

    That is correct!

    With any cut piece of beef you only need to get the SURFACE temp up to 160 to kill off the bacteria.

    Now... Ground beef should reach an INTERNAL temp of 160 to kill the bacteria.

    Why the difference? With ground beef all the bacteria that was on the outside only of the beef are now mixed into the meat.

    Unfortunately most people refuse to believe this after years of being told by mom, school health and cooking classes, and the media/news that if a steak isn't cooked "well done" then it is unsafe.
  6. CBMS

    CBMS Looking for a safe place

    Gotta love the Blue Steaks :D
  7. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    I like my beef brown outside and light pink inside.

    My buddy's wife is of the "Slap in on, flip it twice, pull it off" mentality. It hasn't killed her yet... [boozingbuddies]
  8. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I tell them to "Walk it thru the kitchen on the way to the table..."

    Been eating it that way for decades....Hasn't killed me yet.

    But I do have a friend that died from eating a raw oyster...does that count??
  9. Byte

    Byte Monkey+++

    Me too, CRC. I always ask for my prime rib from the center. Pass it over the grill on the way to the plate...just so's it's warm! Yummy!

    We marinade our steaks for the grill in a mix of olive oil, garlic, and secret spices all night. Hit it with the meat mallet a few times to open it up. (unless you drain them well your grill will get messy; oh keep a squirt bottle handy, there will be flames!) We only cook them long enough to brown the and red in the center. Have done this for years and it hasn't killed a one of us yet!

  10. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    My former husband used to say that if it didn't Moo when the steak knife hit the surface, it was overdone. I'm a medium rare kind of gal myself.
  11. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

  12. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    With beef, chicken or pork the rule of thumb is just to temp it to 160 F. We actually have time and temperature tables where food can be cooked at lower internal temps for certain amount of periods of time. This table is referred to Appendix A. (

    Appendix A

    Compliance Guidelines For Meeting Lethality Performance Standards For Certain Meat And Poultry Products


    Establishments producing ready-to-eat roast beef, cooked beef and corned beef products and certain ready-to-eat poultry products are required by FSIS to meet the lethality performance standards for the reduction of Salmonella contained in §§ 318.17(a)(1) and 381.150(a)(1) of the meat and poultry inspection regulations. Further, FSIS requires meat and poultry establishments, if they are not operating under a HACCP plan, to demonstrate how their processes meet these lethality performance standards within a written process schedule validated for efficacy by a process authority (§§ 318.17(2)(b)and (c) and 381.150 (2)(c) and (d)).
    To assist establishments in meeting the lethality requirements, FSIS is issuing these compliance guidelines, which are based upon the time/temperature requirements contained in previous regulations. Establishments may choose to employ these guidelines as their process schedules. FSIS considers these guidelines, if followed precisely, to be validated process schedules, since they contain processing methods already accepted by the Agency as effective.
    Also within these guidelines, FSIS has provided discussion regarding disposition of product following heating deviations and advice for the development of customized procedures for meeting the lethality performance standards.
    Guidelines for Cooked Beef, Roast Beef, and Cooked Corned Beef

    1. Cooked beef and roast beef, including sectioned and formed roasts, chunked and formed roasts, and cooked corned beef can be prepared using one of the following time and temperature combinations to meet either a 6.5-log<SUB>10</SUB> or 7-log<SUB>10</SUB> reduction of Salmonella. The stated temperature is the minimum that must be achieved and maintained in all parts of each piece of meat for a least the stated time:

    Minimum Internal Minimum processing time in Temperature minutes or seconds after minimum temperature is reached Degrees Degrees 6.5-log<SUB>10</SUB> 7-log<SUB>10</SUB> Fahrenheit Centigrade Lethality Lethality 130 54.4 112 min. 121 min. 131 55.0 89 min. 97 min. 132 55.6 71 min. 77 min. 133 56.1 56 min. 62 min. 134 56.7 45 min. 47 min. 135 57.2 36 min. 37 min. 136 57.8 28 min. 32 min. 137 58.4 23 min. 24 min. 138 58.9 18 min. 19 min. 139 59.5 15 min. 15 min. 140 60.0 12 min. 12 min. 141 60.6 9 min. 10 min. 142 61.1 8 min. 8 min. 143 61.7 6 min. 6 min. 144 62.2 5 min. 5 min. 145 62.8 4 min.* 4 min.* 146 63.3 169 sec. 182 sec. 147 63.9 134 sec. 144 sec. 148 64.4 107 sec. 115 sec. 149 65.0 85 sec. 91 sec. 150 65.6 67 sec. 72 sec. 151 66.1 54 sec. 58 sec. 152 66.7 43 sec. 46 sec. 153 67.2 34 sec. 37 sec. 154 67.8 27 sec. 29 sec. 155 68.3 22 sec. 23 sec. 156 68.9 17 sec. 19 sec. 157 69.4 14 sec. 15 sec. 158 70.0 0 sec.** 0 sec.** 159 70.6 0 sec.** 0 sec.** 160 71.1 0 sec ** 0 sec.** </PRE>
    * <SMALL>Past regulations have listed the minimum processing time for roast beef cooked to 145°F as "Instantly." However, due to their large size, most of these roasts dwell at 145°F, or even at higher temperatures, for at least 4 minutes after the minimum internal temperature is reached. FSIS has revised this time/temperature table to reflect this and emphasizes that, to better ensure compliance with the performance standard, establishments should ensure a dwell time of at least 4 minutes if 145°F is the minimum internal temperature employed. </SMALL>
    **<SMALL>The required lethalities are achieved instantly when the internal temperature of a cooked meat product reaches 158°F or above.</SMALL>
    2. Cooked beef, including sectioned and formed roasts and chunked and formed roasts, and cooked corned beef should be moist cooked throughout the process or, in the case of roast beef or corned beef to be roasted, cooked as in paragraph (3) of this compliance guide. The moist cooking may be accomplished by placing the meat in a sealed, moisture impermeable bag, removing the excess air, and cooking; by completely immersing the meat, unbagged in water throughout the entire cooking process; or by using a sealed oven or steam injection to raise the relative humidity above 90 percent throughout the cooking process.

    3. Roast beef or corned beef to be roasted can be cooked by one of the following methods:
    • Heating roasts of 10 pounds or more in an oven maintained at 250 °F (121 °C) or higher throughout a process achieving one of the time/temperature combinations in (1) above;
    • Heating roasts of any size to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 °C) in an oven maintained at any temperature if the relative humidity of the oven is maintained either by continuously introducing steam for 50 percent of the cooking time or by use of a sealed oven for over 50 percent of the cooking time, or if the relative humidity of the oven is maintained at 90 percent or above for at least 25 percent of the total cooking time, but in no case less than 1 hour; or
    • Heating roasts of any size in an oven maintained at any temperature that will satisfy the internal temperature and time combinations of the above chart of this compliance guide if the relative humidity of the oven is maintained at 90 percent or above for at least 25 percent of the total cooking time, but in no case less than 1 hour. The relative humidity may be achieved be use of steam injection or sealed ovens capable of producing and maintaining the required relative humidity.
    4. Establishments producing cooked beef, roast beef, or cooked corned beef should have sufficient monitoring equipment, including recording devices, to assure that the time (accuracy assured within 1 minute), the temperature (accuracy assured within 1 °F), and relative humidity (accuracy assured within 5 percent) limits of these processes are being met. Data from the recording devices should be made available to FSIS program employees upon request.

    The one thing that most people overlook is the proper cooling of heat treated food products. This is referred to as Appendix B ( Proper cooling to eliminate spore forming bacteria such as clostridium perfrengens is very important. The basic rule of thumb is that you want the internal temperature of the food to be reduced from 120F to 55F in six hours or less.

    1. During cooling, the product's maximum internal temperature should not remain between 130°F and 80°F for more than 1.5 hours nor between 80°F and 40°F for more than 5 hours. This cooling rate can be applied universally to cooked products (e.g., partially cooked or fully cooked, intact or non-intact, meat or poultry) and is preferable to (2) below.
    2. Over the past several years, FSIS has allowed product to be cooled according to the following procedures, which are based upon older, less precise data: chilling should begin within 90 minutes after the cooking cycle is completed. All product should be chilled from 120°F (48°C) to 55°F (12.7°C) in no more than 6 hours. Chilling should then continue until the product reaches 40°F (4.4°C); the product should not be shipped until it reaches 40°F (4.4°C).
  13. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I am a firm believer in shaving their ass and chasing them by the fireplace, anything else is too done.
  14. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I knew I liked you.....I like to think of it as I'm building up a tolerance to all those super bugs....Kinda like all the allergy shots I had to take for 10 yrs when I was a kid.....(Had asthma...) They shot me full of what I was allergic to to build up my immunities...

    Kinda the same with meat.... ;)
  15. CBMS

    CBMS Looking for a safe place

    I do that too!
    Only I do that with booze...
  16. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    :shock: [footinmouth] :censored: [booze][stirpot] [troll]
  17. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Don't let em pick on you, and you'll go eat some real meat.[beer]
  18. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Now that I have given the degree to which the USDA considers it safe, when it comes to steak I pretty much go for medium rare. With burgers though I take no chances. 160F.
  19. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    The way God intended it.... :)

    And I haven't quit eating raw oysters either....
  20. QuietOne

    QuietOne Monkey++

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