Bacteria Danger Zone
You must assume that all the meat will contain a number of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. The danger zone is any environment of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or more. This includes normal ambient temperatures. This is especially true outdoors, on picnics, camping and traveling. Bacteria can grow at an exponential rate, often doubling in just 20 minutes.
Freezing and Refrigerating Temperatures
The freezer temperature must be set to at least 0 degrees. The refrigerator should be set at 35 degrees. At zero degrees, all the bacteria will remain dormant, which means that they will not multiply. At 35 degrees, the bacteria will multiply. That's why you should never leave the meat in the fridge for more than two days. Keep a thermometer in the freezer and refrigerator and check the temperature often.
Careful When Thawing Frozen Beef
When defrosting frozen steaks or roasts, let them defrost in the refrigerator, which should be set to about 35 degrees. Depending on size, complete thawing may take 1 to 3 days. Do not thaw at room temperature. The meat will thaw from the outside-inside. Therefore, the outside could multiply bacteria, even if the inside is still frozen. Freezing causes the bacteria to become dormant.
That said, meat cooks better when it reaches room temperature. But never leave the meat at room temperature for more than an hour. If the ambient temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, never exceed one hour.
When Traveling or Camping
It is best to cook raw meat before leaving the house. Cool them and carry them in cold weather. At temperatures above 40 degrees, bacteria can settle and start to multiply. Always pack them in a cooler of good quality containing a lot of ice or gel. Always pack cooked meat in tightly closed plastic bags to prevent water absorption. When reheating on a campfire stove, heat the meat well so that the meat reaches a temperature that kills the bacteria.