I pulled an all nighter with a pork shoulder

It started out with a craving for southern style pulled pork.  I made it one time before on the bbq a while back before I had perfected my techniques.  In partners with a friend we set out to find a nice piece of pork. We could not find a pork butt so we settled for a 9# shoulder.

I dried rubbed and planned on it hitting the grill first thing in the AM.  Okay, so it is Sunday and there was some over sleeping.  The offset smoker grill was  fired up a little behind schedule (like 11 AM behind schedule).  Stoking fire with hickory and charcoal all day.  A quick temp check at 5pm  still 120 degrees…okay so we plan something else for dinner.  8 pm – 130 degrees.  Hmmm…this baby is heading to the house.  10pm – 160 degrees.  Finally 12pm I have success at 185 degrees.  Wrap in foil and let rest for an hour then pull.

Hold on here…this girl needs her beauty sleep.  Of course with food safety in  mind, I decide to place in small oven with pilot light burning and go for some shut eye.  Check temp at 2 AM still above 165 degrees. Perfect.  Back for
some more shut eye.  Up at 6 am and it is still 145 degrees and it is time for some pulling. Break this baby down, put it in refrigeration and back for some more beauty sleep.  (yes it was under 70 degrees, lol)

Lunch time here I come…heat the pork with the addition of the thin sauce and perfection…Yes I pulled an all nighter with a pig but it was worth it.  Lesson learned: Don’t sleep in and don’t get a 9# shoulder if you plan on eating it that night.

Follow up on What is in my food?

I spoke with the Somerset County inspector today and she indicated she visited establishment and feels confident that they have adequate plans and procedures in place to prevent cross contamination.  I am not feeling warm and fuzzy.

I started thinking about other owners and the expense of training staff in the full manager certification.  I feel very strongly about proper training and I want to give everyone no matter how big or small the opportunity to have a professional training their staff in good personal hygiene, preventing cross contamination, learning how to take proper temperatures and how to properly clean and sanitize all kitchen surfaces.

We are offering a 2 1/2 hour training on August 29th.  This is perfect for line workers, prep cooks or any other staff member that you do not want to pay to attend the full two day training.  A certificate of completion will be given at end of class.  We also offer private classes in the Food Handler or Food Manager course.   Visit :http://www.marylandfoodhandler.com/private-food-safety-classes.php for more information on classes and why you should train your staff.

There is what in my food?

During a relaxing vacation camping near Crisfield, MD, we decided to treat ourselves to a night out to dinner. We selected a kitschy little place with a small menu but we had been there before and it had just what we wanted in a casual environment. I ordered a combo platter that included a good selection. My choices were fish sandwich, scallops, breaded oysters and steamed shrimp. After ordering at the front counter we selected our seat inside the air conditioned out building.

The waitress serves our food and I look at my platter….wait…is that? Do I see a raw shrimp on top of my steamed shrimp? Yes, I do. GASP. I call the waitress over and she doesn’t seem to concerned but takes my platter away. About 2 minutes later she reappears with what seems to be the same platter with the raw shrimp removed. She explains “The cook said the shrimp must have fallen on your platter when they were putting new shrimp in the steamer” The look on my face must have told the story, she asked quite curse, “Is there something else wrong?” I am going to end the story there and let you make your own conclusion.

I believe this type of disregard and lack of understanding of food safety can be corrected through proper training. They should have never been allowing raw food in the general area of cooked food and especially carry raw food over top of cooked food.. This is basic cross contamination. In addition to this error in food safety, they did not understand the risk associated with the error! This was confirmed when they didn’t even try to hide the fact that the brought out the same platter with the raw food removed.

Only 5 jurisdictions in Maryland require a certified food manager on duty at all times. If this restaurant had someone on duty trained they would not have lost a repeat customer. Required or not – TRAIN YOUR STAFF IN FOOD SAFETY!

Food Recalls – where do you get your information?

It seems like everyday there is a new recall being issued.  Often the recall is a low risk and more precautionary than anything.  However, there have been many important recalls  in recent weeks that went unmentioned on my local news here in Baltimore, MD.

Whether you are in a commercial setting or you are a home cook you need to be informed of current recalls.  There are many sources for staying current with recalls.  The best is straight from the FDA http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm  .  I also like the recalls.gov app for my smart phone.   Of course, when I see a recall I think needs mentioning I will post it on my Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/MarylandFoodHandler and on twitter https://twitter.com/smf_foodsafety

Stay food safe and stay informed!

Single use gloves: A false sense of security or good food safety practice?

You order a sandwich the food handler prepares your sandwich in front of you.   Which scenario makes you feel better about what you are about to consume ?

  1. Worker puts single use gloves on, then prepares your sandwich using gloved hands to touch bread and tongs to select meat and toppings.
  2. Worker washes hands, selects your bread, meat and toppings using hands.
  3. Worker selects your bread with hands then uses same tongs to select meat and toppings.