I've made duck confit many times before and used it fresh. This time, though, I'd like to try to age it in the fridge a bit to see if I notice a difference.
To do this I've purchased some earthenware pots. I will salt the duck legs for 24 hours in the fridge. Then I will remove excess salt, and place them in a 230F oven, completely submerged in fat, for about 4 hours.
It seems safe to assume that all of the duck will spend at least 2-3 hours near boiling temperature. It follows that this would effectively sterilize it. This got me thinking... If I were to leave it in the oven, undisturbed in a now sterilized oven, to cool until the fat solidifies and then simply leave it in my unfinished basement (which is constantly around 60-65F) how could bacteria realistically get a foothold and create unsafe food? I come across many posts claiming this is not food safe, but none of them explain any vector for spoilage and it seems you have to take them at face value to "be safe".
To be clear I'm not advocating for being lax on food safety, I'm just curious about the science behind why this could be hazardous.