We’ve all been there, you go to check your fridge for your bacon, only to find it sitting on the counter. While bacon is a cured meat, there are different curing processes depending on what type of bacon you have purchased.
Unfortunately, many types of bacon that you find readily available in your local grocery store should not be eaten if left out overnight. Otherwise, you run the risk of food-borne illnesses.
Bacon Left Out Overnight?
When it comes to eating bacon that has been left out overnight, the safety of consuming it depends on the preparation process. You can eat certain types of bacon that have been left out overnight, but it is very important to understand the difference between popular types of bacon. If your bacon is regular grocery store bacon that you usually find in the deli aisle, and you accidentally leave it out overnight, it should be discarded immediately. There is no temperature that is high enough to kill the bacteria. However, if you have unsliced and cured bacon, you can leave it out for a number of days and it will still be safe to eat.
How Is Bacon Prepared?
There are two common ways that bacon is prepared. There is bacon that is prepared for sale in grocery stores in the refrigerated deli aisle.
There is also bacon that is prepared in the traditional method. When bacon is prepared to be sold in grocery stores, it is heated quickly in a conventional oven. This is to kill bacteria, but significantly reduces the timing of the process.
The traditional method of curing bacon has it smoked for hours. When bacon is prepared this way, it has a longer shelf-life than its grocery store counterpart.
How Long Can Bacon Be Left Out?
If you have bacon that has been vacuum-sealed and you purchase it at the grocery store, leaving it out overnight will make it unsafe to consume. If your bacon has been out of the refrigerator for more than four hours, it’s best to toss it. Bacteria begin to grow on raw meat at a rapid rate once it reaches room temperature.
Rather than risking food-borne illnesses, tossing packaged bacon is the safest route.
When it comes to bacon that has been cured traditionally, it can be left out for longer without refrigeration.
The traditional method of curing bacon is dry-cured bacon. Dry-cured bacon is created by a process where it is left out for days. Because of the dry rub and the cut of pork, this prevents spoilage.
Bacon that is prepared in this fashion can be left out for days. You purchase it before it has been sliced. Once you’ve sliced the bacon, you should eat it within four days.
Can You Leave Cooked Bacon Out?
When it comes to meats, oftentimes we assume that cooked meats can be left out for longer periods. This, however, is a myth. If you leave the cooked bacon out for longer than four hours, you should toss it in the bin.
Bacteria begin to grow rapidly on meat products. If you keep your cooked bacon overnight without refrigeration, you run the risk of food-borne illnesses.
There is bacon that you can find in the grocery store that is dry packaged. This bacon, while processed, is made to last without refrigeration for a while.
However, even with this bacon, once you open the packaging you should refrigerate it. Otherwise, once the vaccine seal is broken, bacteria growth will begin.
How Do You Tell If Bacon Is Spoiled
Pork can lead to listeria once it has spoiled. This is a serious illness that you want to avoid. If your bacon has been left out of the refrigerator, there are some tell-tale signs that your bacon has spoiled.
The first test always smells. Your bacon should have little to no smell, unless it has an additive, such as maple flavoring. If your bacon has a strong or sour odor, you should toss it in the bin.
You can also tell if bacon has spoiled by the texture. If you feel your bacon and it has a slimy texture, it has spoiled. Once bacteria begin to grow, it forms a slimy or thick texture. If you notice this texture, you should toss your bacon. Once bacteria have begun to grow at this point, it is dangerous to consume.
Conclusion to Bacon Left Out Overnight?
If you leave bacon out overnight, as a general rule, you should toss it. If you have bacon that you’ve picked up at the grocery store near the deli aisle, your bacon cannot be left out overnight and still be safe to consume.
The same goes for cooked bacon. Bacteria will begin to grow on both. If the bacon has been prepared in the traditional way, it can be left out overnight. Traditional bacon can be left out without refrigeration for a few days without spoiling.
Frequently Asked Questions About Leaving Bacon That Was Left Out Overnight?
Why shouldn’t you eat bacon that has been left out overnight?
When it comes to food, bacteria growth starts more rapidly than we may think. After two hours of being exposed to room temperature, bacteria begin to grow. Meat, especially, is prone to growing bacteria that are harmful if consumed. Leaving bacon out overnight can be dangerous to your health.
Is there a safe way to leave bacon out overnight?
If you have bacon that has been prepared in the traditional method, you can safely leave it out overnight. It will last longer without refrigeration if you have not sliced it. Otherwise, you can leave it out for a few days without spoilage.
At what temperature does bacon spoil?
Bacon will spoil if it reaches room temperature. Once it reaches room temperature, bacteria growth begins. When it comes to meat, this accelerates rapidly. If your bacon has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours, it is hard to determine if it is still safe or not. If your bacon has been left out at room temperature, or above, the best decision is to toss it.
Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)
Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.