Monday, December 14, 2009

Did You Grill Up some Floor Steak? Oh Snap!

Dear Tricia, If I drop a piece of steak on the floor, do I have to throw it away? Will it get you sick?

You know how sometimes you'll see a loud and crazy kitchen scene on TV or in a movie where the cook drops a steak on the floor and then puts it back on the plate and you think to yourself "Wow, I hope that doesn't really happen?" Well, unfortunately my friend, it does. It happens a whoooooole lot. I'm guessing its happened to you half a dozen times in your life so far, and you were none the wiser, were you? Here's why its not that bad: if the steak picked up any dangerous bacteria off the floor, most likely the cook is going to brush it off and put it back on the grill. The grill is running at about 450 degrees- hot enough to kill any bacteria that would potentially get you sick. Bacteria dies at high temperatures, so if a mysterious bacteria sticks around after being grilled on a 450 degree open flame, personally I'd like to shake its hand and find out what else it can do for me. Seriously, it would have to be like a super duper ninja bacteria to survive an open flame. And yeah, its gross if there's a piece of lint on the floor and it got on the steak and then you ate it, but hey... it happens. Lint won't make you sick, and most chefs don't want to throw away a perfectly good prime filet that's running him about 20 bucks a pound. Would you throw that away and start from scratch?
So, to answer your question, no it won't get you sick. If you've dropped it on the ground while it was raw, that's better because it'll spend more time cooking and killing anything potentially dangerous. If you dropped a cooked steak on the floor, just rinse it or brush it off and throw it back on the heat for a few seconds. Unless you have mono or some weird geriatric disease that makes your immune system nonexistent that they like to feature on the Maury Povich show, you're perfectly safe.

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