I put an 8pound Boston butt in the crock pot last night to cook. Crock pot got hot I went to bed. Sometime during the night the crock pot turned off. Everything was cold. Is it safe to cook and eat?
No, it is not safe to eat. Roasts, chops, or steaks should be cooked to a minimum of 145(F)degrees to insure food safety. Of course, people regularly eat steaks that are still bloody with no ill effects. But, if pathogens have been allowed to accumulate due to time/temperature abuse or cross-contamination, one may become seriously ill by eating undercooked meats. Note that these negative conditions do not have to have occurred in your home. The roast may have been dropped onto the butchering floor and kicked around a few times before being sent on to your local meat seller. Then, allow a good long time in a bacterial spa environment, such as a crock pot that was temporarily heated up, then switched off, and you have a very good recipe for serious gastro-intestinal fireworks. Additionally, cooking to the correct temperature afterwards is still no guarantee against ill effects. Besides the normal infection-type illnesses from allowing bacteria to multiply, there are toxicity illnesses from toxins produced by the bacteria. And, the bad news is, toxins aren't ameliorated by cooking. Rat poison would not be safe to drink, no matter how well you cooked it. Worse news is that the elderly, infants, and people with weakened immune systems may even die from this. So, despite the high cost of meat, throwing it out is a bargain compared with doctor visits or missed work, due to eating unsafe food.