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A shooter's sandwich is intended to be eaten a long time after it is made. I understand that it originated, pre-refrigeration, as a meal that could be prepared the night before and taken on a hunt the next day. This recipe recommends keeping it in a cool place for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.

I am wondering how safe it is.

Could I prepare it late on Dec 30th, refrigerate it overnight, and then take on a camping trip for New Year's Eve, and still enjoy it (as a hangover cure) on New Year's Day, 36 hours after cooking it, without risking my stomach (as well as my liver)?

Or is that just looking for trouble?

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Probably an absurdly good sandwich, but there's no reason to let it sit out unrefrigerated for six hours. I wouldn't eat it if you did. But if it sat under the weights in a fridge? I'm all over it. –  Carey Gregory Jan 30 '13 at 7:30
    
Wow. I got a Popular Question badge for this question's 1000 views, and a total of ZERO votes! –  Oddthinking May 28 '13 at 14:47
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See also: cooking.stackexchange.com/tags/food-safety/info –  SAJ14SAJ May 28 '13 at 15:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The shooter's sandwich you linked involves cooked mushrooms and fried steaks. In contemporary food safety practice, this is not shelf-stable at all. It can be held 3-5 days in the fridge, or up to 2 hours at room temperature.

I can imagine that hunters did take it on longer trips historically. They lived in a time when mild food poisoning (symptoms limited to bloating and light diarrhoe) was commonplace, and the average person experienced it as often as the common cold, if not a bit more frequently. More serious types of foodborne illness were less frequent, but still appeared with some regularity in a given population.

There are two reasons we don't eat this way today. First, our standard of living is higher. We have the possibility to drastically reduce our risk of food-borne illness by choosing nutritious shelf-stable food for situations we need it, and we have much higher expectations of our own quality of life, including the expectation that the chance of getting bloating from a sandwich should be close to zero, not close to 10%. Second, our meat today well may have much more pathogen contamination than in the past. If you slaughter one healthy animal in your small farm, the worst you get spread over the meat are some E. coli from inside its own guts, and normal E. coli don't cause too bad symptoms (mutations can be very dangerous, but they are also exceedingly rare). Today, animals are penned together by the thousands, exchanging exotic pathogens while still alive, and then are slaughtered and eviscerated in efficient conveyor-like manner, so that if one cow had some unpleasant bacteria from somewhere, they will probably cross-contaminate the steaks from hundreds of other cows slaughtered in the same shift.

Bottom line: It is absolutely not safe. You are free to decide to take the risk and eat it, but by the usual standards in the food industry, this is an unacceptably high risk, and it is foolish to take it.

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Very interesting. Looks like I will not only be crossing it off my New Year's plans, but will no longer be following this recipe when preparing it. Thank you. –  Oddthinking Dec 26 '12 at 13:04
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The recipe looks delicious. Just refrigerate it at the step where it says "don't refrigerate" and you should be fine. You can even warm it up to room temperature by taking it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to cut and serve it. Just don't leave it out all night. –  Kate Gregory Dec 26 '12 at 15:10
    
The sealing of the hot mushroom mix between two pieces of also-hot food gives me a slight case of the heebie-jeebies. That'll take a lot longer to cool than it probably should. I'd suggest cooling it open-faced for maxiumum safety. (For my own personal consumption, however, I'd probably follow the recipe as written.) @Oddthinking –  Josh Caswell Dec 27 '12 at 7:55
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I would take the view that the mushroom mix is sterilised by the heat, then kept from airborne pathogens by the bread and greaseproof wrapping. What's left is whatever pathogens are in the bread, and in the meat -- most of the bugs in steaks are on the surface, and that's been well cooked. I would eat this the next day. I would serve it to friends and family. I wouldn't keep it unrefrigerated for an extra day. It would not, however, meet commercial food safety regulations. –  slim Jan 28 '13 at 14:26
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@slim Nothing in that sandwich has been sterilized. –  Carey Gregory Jan 30 '13 at 7:32

First let me point out that most of these ingredients that people would consider "dangerous" if left out, have all been cooked in this recipe. The most likely place that any bacterium would be introduced is using unwashed hands to pluck the bread from the loaf. I have made this myself, let the sandwich flatten overnight, refrigerated for 24 hours, then taken out on a hiking trip, where it provided me lunch for the following week stored in a zip=lock bag in my back-pack.

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Thanks to the other answers above and the food-safety info linked to in a comment, I can point out that the cooking process has pasteurised, NOT sterilised the food. There are still living microbes in the food. –  Oddthinking Oct 9 '13 at 11:44

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