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Help! I just poured my marinade on cut up chicken and realized it wasn’t totally cooled! I stirred it well and then immediately put it in the fridge! Is my meat okay?

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  • Could you add more detail about what you've done and why you think it might be dangerous? In particular it's not clear if the chicken is raw, what temperature it was and what's in your marinade.
    – dbmag9
    Jan 30, 2023 at 7:19

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If your chicken is raw, pouring warm liquid on top of it, and then storing it, could be risky. It comes down to time and temperature. How warm was the marinade? How cold was the chicken? How cold is the refrigerator? How quickly were you able to get the chicken and marinade below 40F (4C)? You may not be able to answer these questions. The warmer the mixture and the longer it takes to get below 40F (4C), the less time it will take for bacterial growth to reach unsafe levels. In the absence of specific times and temperatures, this is probably as specific as we can get. Many people might suggest to risk it, but my knowledge of food safety suggests there is potential for a problem here.

If this happens in the future, simply cook the chicken immediately.

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  • Is it any worse than it being fully cooked and then being refrigerated? If I make a dish like coq au Vin, it comes out piping hot, and yet most of that chicken and liquid will wind up in the refrigerator. Does the fact that it's raw in the OP's question make it more risky? Jan 31, 2023 at 1:04
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    @PeterMoore there is always a risk with food in the danger zone, so you should always cool your leftover food as quickly as possible. However, you have to assume raw chicken has pathogens that have not yet been destroyed by cooking. So, yes...it is more risky.
    – moscafj
    Jan 31, 2023 at 11:15
  • Interesting! Such a complex and important topic that is so poorly understood by most. Thanks! Jan 31, 2023 at 11:38
  • If I recall the food safety rules used on this site correctly, the critical time for chicken in the danger zone would be 6 hours. Of course we can't compute the exact time it would take for the chicken to cool down in the fridge, but I can't see any scenario when putting the marinated chicken in the fridge right away that would get anywhere close to 6 hours. We can't be sure whether it is more like 10 minutes or more close to 1 hour but it is not 6 hours.
    – quarague
    Feb 3, 2023 at 13:14
  • @quarague not sure where you came up with 6 hours. As far as I am aware, that exceeds an unsafe time in the danger zone by 4 hours. Again, temperature is critical. Warmer temperatures shorten the time. If you have supporting evidence for 6 hours, I would like to see it.
    – moscafj
    Feb 3, 2023 at 13:54

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