Hamburger meat is a staple in many American diets, but how long can it sit out before it becomes unsafe to eat? The answer depends on a few factors, including the temperature of the room and how long the meat has been cooked. In general, hamburger meat can sit out at room temperature for up to two hours before it needs to be refrigerated.
After that point, bacteria begin to grow and the meat can become unsafe to eat. However, there are some ways to extend the amount of time that hamburger meat can safely sit out. If you keep the hamburger meat below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it will be safe to eat for up to four hours.
Additionally, if you cook the hamburger meat thoroughly before allowing it to cool, it will be safe to eat for up to six hours.
Here's How To Tell If Ground Beef Has Gone Bad
Most people don’t realize how quickly bacteria can grow on food that is left out at room temperature. For example, cooked hamburger meat can start to develop bacteria after just two hours sitting out on the counter. After four hours, that bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels, making the meat unsafe to eat.
That’s why it’s important to refrigerate any cooked meat as soon as possible and never let it sit out for more than two hours.
How Long Can Hamburger Meat Sit Out before It Goes Bad
Hamburger meat is safe to eat if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F and then left out no more than two hours. If the hamburger meat has not been cooked to at least 160 degrees F, it should be thrown away.
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According to the USDA, raw ground beef can be stored in your fridge for one to two days. After that, it should be frozen.
However, StillTasty says that ground beef can last in your fridge for three to four days if it’s fresh and properly wrapped.