Ground beef left out overnight - quick advice needed
Due to (what I am assuming was) a miscommunication with my mother, who lives with us, about 3 lbs. of thawing beef chuck was left out overnight on our counter top. We don't have our heat on yet, so it was in the low 60's F, around 17*C all night long. When I smell the beef, it smells fine. It probably completely thawed to the core late last night, so it was sitting thawed on the counter top for about 5 - 8 hours.
My gut reaction is to not waste... cook the heck out of it and use for spaghetti sauce or something. I don't want to kill my family, though. What would you do?
Well, the sanitation rules say to throw it away. I grew up with meat thawed in the sink overnight every night. No one died from that. If you stuck it in the fridge immediately when you found it out, and cook it to death when you cook it, I would bet it will be ok. But then there are those rules. You do what you are comfortable with.
Your nose and tongue are powerful weapons. If it smells OK, cook it up now. Once cooked totally take a small taste - how's it taste? If it passes the smell and taste test, I'd eat it as meat sauce or chili or some such item (giving it a double cooking). Freeze the extra.
I do feel better safe than sorry and I am sure we have all been there done that at one time or other. It was not too long ago that due to a miss communication with my own brain that I left a great pot of homemade chicken noodle soup out on the counter. My dogs loved it.
I would have eaten it. Look at it this way, any food-poisoning specie of bacteria that couldhave started growing on the beef, would have been killed during the cooking process. In other words, dead Salmonella, e-coli, etc. do not give a person food poisoning. And if by chance, botulism toxin could have been produced overnight (which I doubt) it too would have been inactivated after being cooked at boiling temp for 10 minutes. The only way the hamburger could have hurt you is if you had eaten it raw or undercooked.
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I'd have eaten it, too, in the days pre current refrigeration, the whole earths population didnt drop dead from warm meat. Cooking kills bacteria. you'd have had more reason to be concerned if you made that spaghetti sauce and left it in an aluminum pot in the fridge..dont ask me how I know that. 20 years later and I still refuse to even consider using aluminum anything to cook with.