Danger Zone Questions/Concerns

  • This question is relative to imitation bacon but could apply to anything that is cured. I’ve read about the dreaded DANGER ZONE of 40-140, and an associated 4 hour rule. When making imitation bacon where the recommended smoker temp is 170 after two one-hour periods of even lower temps, it would seem that there is little doubt that ground meat is going to spend more time in the danger zone than 4 hours to reach 140. Now, it finishes off at 160 at some point, so despite it being in the danger zone for quite awhile, does the 160 finish temp make it safe again? My imitation bacon contains pork and venison, no poultry. Does the curing process negate the risks of the danger zone timeframe? I’d like to know more. I’m not too concerned because we will fully cook the venison bacon again, well above 160, but would like to increase my knowledge. Thanks!

  • Regular Contributors Team Grey Sous Vide Canning Dry Cured Sausage Masterbuilt Power User Meat Hack Winner Veteran

    Walton’s Imitation Bacon seasoning unit comes with a sure cure packet and Imitation Bacon #2 already has sure cure mixed in
    If instructions are followed sure cure makes the slow temp rise safe

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    folsomwest What glen says is correct, as long as the seasoning is used as directed the “danger zone” isn’t going to be an issue as the cure will protect the meat and keep you safe. Now, one thing to remember is even if you do cook it to 160 after if the meat spoiled before you did that it might make it “safe” but you can’t cook the spoil out of the meat, Now, use cure and you are okay on this!

  • Thanks for the info. Agreed, you can’t cook the spoil out. In the tons of meat I’ve smoked, cured or grilled—I’ve never had any spoil ‘on the rack’–granted I’ve wrecked some, but never had it spoil. What brought this to mind was ground meat. I do a lot of pork butts and whole muscle meat that spends a fair amount of time the danger zone despite my efforts to get it through there within 4 hours but the smoke and heat on the outside is probably high enough to avoid it growing–IT, where little bacteris is to begin with, spends quite a bit of time there. Ground meat though, well let’s just say I am particularly cautious with. Again, thanks for the reassurance.

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