Fridge Knowledge – the Brisket

Today I have decided to take the plunge and see if this beef brisket is still good after being in a 60 degree refrigerator for two days before being transferred to the 34 degree fridge.

The brisket was smoked in a smoker for 15 hours, then allowed to rest for an hour or so while I nibbled on it during the Cowboys game. I put it into the fridge not realizing the fan wasn’t working properly and therefore not cooling properly. It was in there for 24 hours before I realized the problem. I ate a piece that day and was fine. I put a cheap, old appliance thermometer in the fridge to discover that the temp was approximately 60 degrees. Things are cool-ish, but not cold. It was another 24 hours before I had room in the (separate) refrigerator drawer for the remainder of the brisket. In retrospect I should have put the whole thing in the freezer as soon as I realized, but it had been an exhausting couple of days and I just wasn’t on top of my game. Plus I was a bit exasperated since I just bought this fridge in May.

Well I did put a chunk in the freezer at the same time I put the other portion in the refrigerator drawer. The part that I am eating today has been in the working part of the fridge for roughly 2 days (I put it there at about 2:00 on Tuesday, it is 11:00 on Thursday), in addition to the two days it spent in the 60 degree section. It’s been 15 minutes since I ate a few pieces and so far all is well. I am also eating some pickled jalapeno/olive/carrot/celery in oil concoction.

Have a Great Day!


How Well Does Smoking Preserve Meat?

The issue, I smoked a brisket Saturday night, put it in the fridge on Sunday. The fridge seemed warmer than normal (it was fine on Friday night). I made sure all of the doors were shut last night, nothing blocking the vents, and turned it to the lowest temp (33). This morning it is definitely not cooling like it should.

The brisket was covered in a rub (not much salt though) and allowed to rest in the fridge for 15 hours. I smoked it for I guess around 14-15 hours. Since it is still sitting in my barely cool fridge, has the meat gone bad?

From the USDA web site: “Pathogenic bacteria can grow rapidly in the "Danger Zone," the temperature range between 40 and 140 °F, but they do not generally affect the taste, smell, or appearance of a food. Foods held at temperatures above 40 °F for more than 2 hours should not be consumed.” Bacteria growth starts tripling around the 40 degree mark. Now I know they are ultra-extreme conservative when it comes to this type of thing, they claim uncooked ground beef should be thrown away after 2 days, this is not the case based on my experience. It is a good starting point.

Wikipedia states that “A number of wood smoke compounds act as preservatives. Phenol and other phenolic compounds in wood smoke are both antioxidants, which slow rancidification of animal fats, and antimicrobials, which slow bacterial growth. Other antimicrobials in wood smoke include formaldehyde, acetic acid, and other organic acids, which give wood smoke a low pH—about 2.5.” “Smoke is an antimicrobial and antioxidant, but smoke alone is insufficient for preserving food in practice, unless combined with another preservation method. The main problem is the smoke compounds adhere only to the outer surfaces of the food; smoke does not actually penetrate far into meat or fish.” “In the past, smoking was a useful preservation tool, in combination with other techniques, most commonly salt-curing or drying.”

It is important to remember that cooked (as opposed to hard smoked) meat is not suitable for long term storage and must be stored in a refrigerator or freezer or else eaten within a few days. – Based on this info, it seems the meat should be ok to eat today, but not beyond.

[tags Fridge Knowledge, Meat, Smoked Meat, Preservation, Still Edible, Safe to Eat}

Have a Great Day!