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I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot today and then put all of the veggies/herbs in to make stock from the bones. I just realized I forgot to turn it on for the stock and it's 5.5 hours later. Is it be unsafe to make the stock at this point?

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  • A couple questions for clarification. I assume you cooked the chicken in water or broth first (meaning the crock pot was hot when the chicken finished cooking)? What did you do next? Did the chicken spend any part of that 5.5 hours still hot in the crock pot or did you remove everything to cool? Basically, can you elaborate on the steps you took and what was hot and what was cooled during the process and how long those steps took - I think the safety can be better assessed knowing how much time the components spent in temperature transition. Nov 22, 2014 at 9:31

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Bone broth is supposed to be cool when you add the vinegar to it. And then it's supposed to sit up for a half hour or so in order to let the vinegar draw the minerals, etc., out of the bone. So really at the time of this writing you've let the stock, which has already had all potentially harmful micro-organisms neutralized by way of boiling, sit up for just a few additional hours. On top of that, in order to make a good poultry bone broth you're going to bring it all to a boil again and let it simmer for another 24 hours. There's no chance anything bad is going to survive that onslaught. And there's no way mere stock, fresh off its cool down cycle, has had a chance to take in any new micro-organisms capable of forming the kinds of toxins which aren't resistant to such treatment. You're fine. And hats off for going paleo!

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By saying that the stock hasn't had a chance to take in any new micro-organisms capable of forming the kinds of toxins which aren't resistant to such treatment, this really is to acknowledge that some micro-organisms cannot be destroyed by boiling and, as pathogens, are the by-products of bacterial growth; since your stock has not had the time/opportunity to engender or accommodate bacterial growth, (thus the term new), there can be no reason to anticipate a consequent whose known antecedent is lacking. No new bacteria, no possibility of new toxins ...unless introduced from some flukish or otherwise uncommon manner of uncarefulness, (a cat's paw?), which would be a whole other matter. It is almost always possible to imagine contingencies which, for their very particulars, disallow of what would normally be sound advice.

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    Here observing the occasion of a down vote, please know that I would welcome as a courtesy any clarification as to what might be incorrect and am sure it may also help other readers to avoid confusion who, upon seeing a down vote, find themselves unclear on what might be incorrect too. Nov 22, 2014 at 10:27
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    I am not the downvoter, but I suspect the -1 is because you have not described any of the risks inherent in having food at the temperature danger zone for several hours. There are some things reboiling can't fix (like build-up of toxic waste matter from some types of bacteria). Nov 22, 2014 at 13:21
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    Also not the down voter have just upped it for you. I'd hazard a guess at a member of the 'if in doubt throw it out' brigade is responsible.
    – Doug
    Nov 22, 2014 at 14:42
  • This seems to make a lot of assumptions about the OP's process.
    – SourDoh
    Nov 22, 2014 at 20:25
  • @sourd'oh, if you would be willing to take time to describe any of what you have in mind I would be glad to modify my answer in such a way as to make sure it more fully reconciles with the principles of reason. Nov 22, 2014 at 22:39

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