I left pork chop on counter to defrost for about two hours. Then read shouldn't do that cuz of bacteria so put in fridge. Are they unsafe to cook?
Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Hard call. Were they completely defrosted?
Here's what the USDA says:
There are three safe ways to defrost pork: in the refrigerator, in cold water (in an airtight or leak-proof bag) and in the microwave. Never defrost on the counter or in other locations.
It's best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. After defrosting raw pork by this method, it will be safe in the refrigerator 3 to 5 days before cooking. During this time, if you decide not to use the pork, you can safely refreeze it without cooking it first.
When microwave-defrosting pork, plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present wouldn't have been destroyed. Foods defrosted in the microwave or by the cold water method should be cooked before refreezing because they potentially may have been held at temperatures above 40 °F.
It is safe to cook frozen pork in the oven, on the stove or grill without defrosting it first; the cooking time may be about 50% longer. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Do not cook frozen pork in a slow cooker.
I'd say in general if you are eating it yourself, and there is no chance of poisoning anyone else, cook away.
Seriously, the max time anything should be left out while the whole thing is above 40 degrees is 2 hours (presumably why drbabs asked if the whole thing was defrosted). On the other hand, it is not likely that in this relatively short period of time for anything to "grow" on your pork chop. Make sure it doesn't smell funny. Also, just make sure to sear the outside and thoroughly cook it (above 140 degrees) and you'll be fine.
These aren't food safety practices up to restaurant standards, but at home I'm sure nothing bad will happen.
As a tip on defrosting, wrap your protein in plastic wrap and leave it under a slow drip of cold water. The laws of thermodynamics make this a speedy way to defrost stuff, even if it is frozen solid. (Yeah, doesn't seem like it would work, but it does.)
My rule of thumb is to partially defrost on the counter (I guess in direct contradiction to USDA suggestions) and then defrost in the fridge. I figure (perhaps wrongly, but so far I have survived) that it the chops are cooked to an internal temperature of 160-170, all is well.
I think that you are fine. If you are in a sweltering hot climate, you may not want to use the pork chop. I do think that people can be overly paranoid when it comes to food safety. I am not saying that you can ignore all rules, but we have cooked and eaten many things that some "experts" would have said to trash, and, we have not killed anyone (yet). I have also read that when you cook something up to a certain temperature, you kill the bacteria you were afraid of to begin with.
I know it's not recommended, but I do it all the time and I haven't made anyone sick yet.
I learned in my Master Food Preservation class that the maximum amount of time a food can be between 40-140 degrees is four hours. I've gone beyond that and been fine, although it's not the best practice. FantasticMrFox has the right idea. I'd also rinse the chops thoroughly, then pat very dry, before searing. I only cook pork to an internal temp of 140 so that it doesn't dry out; sometimes 135 since the temp will continue to rise once it's out of the pan/oven. Keep that in mind, too.
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