Any way to save an undercooked roast, cooked in crock pot and then refrigerated overnight?

I cooked a small (grassfed beef) round roast in my tiny 1.5 quart crock pot last night. Put it in after work, probably around 7, on high. Checked it at midnight, and in my tired state I evidently didn't check well enough. It seemed done, so I put the liner containing the roast and its accompanying veggies in the refrigerator and went to bed. (I know you aren't supposed to refrigerate things in the liner---but it's only a 1.5 quart container, so it should cool quickly, right?) Went to have some roast for lunch today and discovered it is still quite pink inside. Not tender enough, either. I don't know what I was thinking not cutting into it last night. Can this roast be finished on the stove, or must I chuck the whole thing out?? I was hoping to get a couple meals out of this, so I'm quite chagrined.

  • Posted by: Empanada
  • February 12, 2013


Author Comment
Try to remember that time is never a true indication of doneness. You have to "temp" the food to be sure it is properly cooked. Recooking a roast should be fine. Stove top, oven, or back in crock pot for a few hours. Remember you are not roasting in a slow cooker. Like was said above, you are braising it. Beef, unlike some other meats, can be cooked longer. Putting hot food in the fridge to cool is not a great idea for anything. It warms the other foods in the fridge and can cause spoilage. To quick coo something Before putting in fridge, you can use an ice bath. The vegetables are more at risk for quickly forming bacteria than the meat. You should cool quickly and then wrap and put in fridge.
ChefOno February 16, 2013

Sorry about that, old habit. It's shorthand for "Original Poster".

And I guess I used IMHO above too ("In My Humble Opinion").

sexyLAMBCHOPx February 16, 2013
Silly question, but what does "OP" mean? The question asker?
ChefOno February 15, 2013

ChezHenry, respectfully, this is a discussion, not an argument, the purpose of which is for us all to learn.

Agreed one should *always* err on the side of caution when it comes to food safety. That does not mean USDA guidelines must be blindly followed verbatim if one understands the reasoning and science behind them.

Agreed it's not wise to put containers of hot food directly in the refrigerator but the OP already knows that and, considering the circumstances, what choice did she have? In doing so, she didn't endanger the roast, only the food already under refrigeration. The cooker insert cooled (slightly) more quickly than if she had "followed the rules". Next time I'd recommend transferring the contents to a not-scalding-hot container to reduce the thermal mass but that's about it.

Finally, the vegetables spent 5 hours in a cooker set on "high" and were undoubtedly well pasteurized. Mushy, but safe. To put it another way, except for the center of the hunk o' meat, we're just discussing common everyday leftovers. I've explained why the situation is perfectly safe. If you think my reasoning is wrong, please explain...

ChezHenry February 15, 2013
And finally, it's not just the Roast here! Its the vegetables, the cooking juices, the whole melange here, not just the outside of the Roast you are talking about. After the last go round on food safety, Food52 posted a great article. I propose they should post an entire section with knowledge, advice and techniques.
ChezHenry February 15, 2013
And I don't want to start an argument again here about food safety. Many, many people get sick from improper food handling. It is sound advice to err on the side of caution, and to promote healthy and knowledgeable info here, especially those of us who have training on the subject.
The cool down here is the major issue, it probably took 6-8 hours for this to get down to a temperature below the danger zone, an enormous amount of time for bacteria to take hold.
ChezHenry February 15, 2013
I too have a food handling certificate from NYC. The worst thing you actually did here was take hot food, in a hot liner and stuck it in your refrigerator. That is in addition to the fact that it was partially cooked - again it would be nice to know to what temp-but you were most likely still below 140 degrees, in the danger zone.
I concur that you should toss this, and not use it. Will you get sick? Who knows, maybe not. Can you get sick because of this handling? Definitely. And that's where everyone with professional knowledge on this board should side with-you shouldn't risk your health and those you're serving (I assume a roast is for more than 1 person and/or more than 1 meal).
ChefOno February 14, 2013

A partially cooked roast (the cut, not the technique) does not present any danger. Here's why: Bacteria present on the raw meat are only on the outside surface, there's no way for them to get deep inside. Pasteurization of the exterior surfaces happens pretty quickly during cooking, no matter what method is used. It's the same reason why it's safe to serve a rare steak. Any bacteria picked up during cooling / refrigeration will be likewise dispatched during the second cooking cycle.

Pierino's specification of 130F is correct IMHO despite the fact the USDA says 145 minimum. No chef could hold a job if he cooked everything to USDA specs. To be clear, though, you need to understand the issues before bending the rules.

Poultry is an entirely different matter as is ground meat.

chefsusie February 14, 2013
The USDA does not recommend partially cooked meats, poultry, be cooked again. Potential for bacterial issues is very real.

This link above clearly mentions partial cooking.

I'm sorry you have to toss your roast. :(

pierino February 14, 2013
The USDA, I'm sorry, tends to over-exaggerate certain risks, and I do have a food handler's certificate from my own state. That said, you can't actually "roast" anything in a crock pot or slow cooker. At best you are braising it, sometimes with excellent results. I knocked one out of the park this weekend. I agree with Ono and Sam on how best to repair it. It won't be perfect but it should still be edible. And by the way, pink in the middle doesn't mean raw. What matters is the internal temperature of the "roast". You probably want it to be about 130F with an instant read thermometer.
Empanada February 12, 2013
OK. Thanks for your input, Sam and ChefOno. For some reason my question got posted twice. Will try and figure out how to delete one of them.

Voted the Best Reply!

ChefOno February 12, 2013

I concur. Or back in the slow cooker.

Sam1148 February 12, 2013
Just finish it on the stove. I think it'll be fine.
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