Originally Posted by jet
Is bacon that shelf stable?
Without getting too technical, cooked bacon would be safe for 4 hours or so but it would have to be cooked at least "medium" for lack of a better word.
The reason is due to something in food safety called water activity or Aw. This is a measure of how much "free water" a food has, that is water that is not tied up in other food molecuels.
Bacteria need this free water to grow. The Aw scale is 0 to 1. Anything below .86 is considered safe at room temperature. Cooked bacon's Aw is less than .86, as the free water is driven out during cooking.
The other factor in determining if a food will be safe at room temperatur is ph, which is a measure of the level of acidity or alkalynity. the ph scale goes from 0 to 14 with 7 being nuetral. Foods with a ph level below 7 are acid, and foods with a ph below 4.6 are acidic enough to not support bacterial growth.
Either factor is protective. For example, many breads have a ph of around 6, but a water activity below 8.5, so it is safe at room temperature. Most fruits
have higher Aw but ph below 4.6.
Of course, if you whip out your sammy and a piece of litmus paper, people might think you're nuts.
(by the way, nuts are safe...low Aw