I'm working on iteration number 4 zillion in my effort to create really good Denver area Green Chile (see post http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/782583 ) ... the elusive orange-green wonderfulness that fills breakfast burritos with love and heat.
ANYWAY.. I found some pork sirloin chunks in the "manager clearance" section of my local groc shop. $2 something a pound and I can hack them into smaller bits for my sauce/stew.. and of course I grumble to myself that it's the treated "moist and tender" pork product and not natural pork which is getting damn hard to find in the big stores. ANYWAY
So I didn't get to the Green Chile project right away.. and several days past.. in fact.. 5 probably.. I uncover the shrink wrap this morning and yes.. it's got that sort-of-greenish glint that it's turning.. and you can smell some moderate sour.. nothing horrifying or vomit inducing.. but .. Captain.. she's listing.. and she's going down soon! All hands on deck!
Super cautious cook (eg: American) throws this out without a second thought. I've cooked "sort of questionable" meat before without incident.. so I'm inclined to roll the dice again. And this is just for me- I make my GC very very hot so there's no danger of family members (read: German wife) wanting a bite. It's my bed to lie in. And vomit in I suppose.
I've cooked it.. I've yet to taste the stew but it smells GREAT and it smelled like good pork when it was just pork browning in fat earlier. I'm not super worried.
That said- I've got an open mind and have much to learn... Since my pork was obviously turning.. what sort of bacteria / mold / etc.. was growing on it most likely? If that's not answerable... What's next? My limited knowledge tells me that the microbes will cause an off taste in my meat even when cooked.. and that if they lived there long enough they would create toxins that exist post cooking that will cause illness even if cooked at 200deg for eternity.
What ARE these toxins? Why doesn't cooking kill them? And before you ask- yes- I've done a little Google-research first and have yet to find anything that explains the results of bacteria feeding on meat and leaving behind a trail of poison. EVERYTHING I can find is some form of "cook everything thoroughly or you'll die".