Question: Crock Pot Question

April 5, 2010
Don't shoot me if you don't like crockpots. But I have a lot of recipes for a crockpot that take 7-8 hours and that's OK if you are around in the day. But my wife and I LOVE Sunday dinner after church. so about 12-12:30. That means a start around 4AM. I have a timer that could handle that task, but how about leaving stuff in a crock pot for about 5 hours before it starts to heat. How bad of an idea is this?


Chris Paulk's picture

From the USDA;"
The "Danger Zone" (40 °F-140 °F)
Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 ° and 140 °F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. This range of temperatures is often called the "Danger Zone." That's why the Meat and Poultry Hotline advises consumers to never leave food out of refrigeration over 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90 °F, food should not be left out more than 1 hour."

Curt's picture

Is your crock pot a solid unit or is the 'pot' part seperate from the jacket/warming unit? If so put your meal into the 'pot', place it in your fridge and set your alarm clock for 4:30, get up, turn the crock pot on, then go back to bed. It will take you less than 1 minute and if you only open one eye you will go back to sleep faster.

Gabriel Cross's picture

I agree with Curtis. Good food sometimes requires some sacrifice. My oldest brother prepares the most amazing feasts on holidays, and rarely sleeps at anything like regular hours for the two days before.

Even if your crock pot is one unit, you could have the meat prepared and marinating in a separate container and transfer it to the crock pot.

One last idea, however, if the juice or marinade that you are cooking in is acidic, like vinegar or citrus juice, or if it is very salty, like a brine, then the bacteria will not be able to grow and you could have the food out for much longer than is strictly recommended.