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chef jimmyj

Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined May 12, 2011
What's a lot? I would no want to eat Smoked Food every day in big amounts. I still love it but, a couple times a week is plenty. To answer your question...Smoked food, nothing I have read indicates an issue and there are countries like Iceland that survive the winter on smoked food. Smoked/Cured meat, Yes there are studies that indicate that Nitrites in Cured meats like Ham, Bacon and Hot Dogs can form carcinogens in your stomach. But if you eat a salad with your un-cured meats the risks are just as high, as many leafy Greens and other Vegetables contain significant levels of Nitrites as well.

 I'm thinking, if I drive my car a lot, I could get in an accident. If I cross the street a lot, I could get hit by a car. Just like many things in life Moderation is going to be the safest...JJ

mr t 59874

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 9, 2011
You can read good and bad into almost anything.  I would suggest you do research on the subject and decide for yourself.



Master of the Pit
Joined Jun 23, 2011
I don't worry much about it!

All things in moderation, including moderation! :biggrin:

Everything we eat is potentially harmful to our health, there isn't a single food that doesn't have some sort of issue!!!!!!

Carcinogenic aflatoxin in grains such as corn, sorghum, pearl millet, rice, and wheat
Oilseeds such as peanuts, soybeans, sunflower seeds, and cottonseeds, etc.

The toxin ergot in rye and other grains.

Goitrogen toxins in soybeans (and soybean products such as tofu), pine nuts, peanuts, millet, strawberries, pears, peaches, spinach, bamboo shoots, radishes, horseradish, and vegetables in the genus Brassica (bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, canola, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabagas, and turnips.

Carcinogenic hydrazines in shiitake and the white button mushrooms.

Toxic lectins in many seeds, grains and legumes.

Phytates in soybeans, whole wheat and rye.

Toxic psoralens in celery, parsley and parsnips.

Toxic solanines in tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

Trypsin in soybeans.

Phytoestrogens in legumes,

Nitrates in green leafy vegetables.

Carcinogenic nitrosamines in beer, non-fat dry milk and mushrooms.

And on and on and on........

Feel better now??? :biggrin:



Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Nov 24, 2011
I remember reading about a study they did out at UCLA in the 1970's.  They sterilized silver dimes (yep the 10 cent dime) and surgically implanted them into lab rats.  Seems that all of them developed cancer.  So does that mean dimes are a carcinogenic?

Point is you have to talk any study in context.  How many times has the government said one thing and come back and revised it later when more information became available.  That smoke and carcinogenic thing also came out in the 70's if I recall correctly.  Plus how you smoke meat and over what fuel source has a lot to do with it also.  I don't think chimney starters and lump charcoal were the source of fuel used back when those studies were made.  I'm sure there are no strange chemicals in lighter fluid right......

On a factual basis, PAH and HCA's are formed when cooking meat at high temps.  The primary factor is fat dripping and vaporizing at very high temps, which is generally not what is happening in a smoker.   The studies I've seen generally talk about charred meat and not low and slow smoked meat.

From www.cancer.gov:
 [h2]Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk[/h2]
[h4]Key Points[/h4]
  • Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat, including beef, pork, fish, and poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame.
  • The formation of HCAs and PAHs is influenced by the type of meat, the cooking time, the cooking temperature, and the cooking method.
  • Exposure to high levels of HCAs and PAHs can cause cancer in animals; however, whether such exposure causes cancer in humans is unclear.
  • Currently, no Federal guidelines address consumption levels of HCAs and PAHs formed in meat.
  • HCA and PAH formation can be reduced by avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface, reducing the cooking time, and using a microwave oven to partially cook meat before exposing it to high temperatures.
  • Ongoing studies are investigating the associations between meat intake, meat cooking methods, and cancer risk.
  1. [h4]  [/h4]
    What are heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and how are they formed in cooked meats?

    Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat, including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame (1). In laboratory experiments, HCAs and PAHs have been found to be mutagenic—that is, they cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer.

    HCAs are formed when amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), sugars, and creatine (a substance found in muscle) react at high temperatures. PAHs are formed when fat and juices from meat grilled directly over an open fire drip onto the fire, causing flames. These flames contain PAHs that then adhere to the surface of the meat. PAHs can also be formed during other food preparation processes, such as smoking of meats (1).

    HCAs are not found in significant amounts in foods other than meat cooked at high temperatures. PAHs can be found in other charred foods, as well as in cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes.
  2. [h4]  [/h4]
    What factors influence the formation of HCA and PAH in cooked meats?

    The formation of HCAs and PAHs varies by meat type, cooking method, and “doneness” level (rare, medium, or well done). Whatever the type of meat, however, meats cooked at high temperatures, especially above 300ºF (as in grilling or pan frying), or that are cooked for a long time tend to form more HCAs. For example, well done, grilled, or barbecued chicken and steak all have high concentrations of HCAs. Cooking methods that expose meat to smoke or charring contribute to PAH formation (2).

    HCAs and PAHs become capable of damaging DNA only after they are metabolized by specific enzymes in the body, a process called “bioactivation.” Studies have found that the activity of these enzymes, which can differ among people, may be relevant to cancer risks associated with exposure to these compounds (35).
  3. [h4]  [/h4]
    What evidence is there that HCAs and PAHs in cooked meats may increase cancer risk?

    Studies have shown that exposure to HCAs and PAHs can cause cancer in animal models (6). In many experiments, rodents fed a diet supplemented with HCAs developed tumors of the breast, colon, liver, skin, lung, prostate, and other organs (712). Rodents fed PAHs also developed cancers, including leukemia and tumors of the gastrointestinal tract and lungs (13). However, the doses of HCAs and PAHs used in these studies were very high—equivalent to thousands of times the doses that a person would consume in a normal diet.

    Population studies have not established a definitive link between HCA and PAH exposure from cooked meats and cancer in humans. One difficulty with conducting such studies is that it can be difficult to determine the exact level of HCA and/or PAH exposure a person gets from cooked meats. Although dietary questionnaires can provide good estimates, they may not capture all the detail about cooking techniques that is necessary to determine HCA and PAH exposure levels. In addition, individual variation in the activity of enzymes that metabolize HCAs and PAHs may result in exposure differences, even among people who ingest (take in) the same amount of these compounds. Also, people may have been exposed to PAHs from other environmental sources, such as pollution and tobacco smoke.

    Nevertheless, numerous epidemiologic studies have used detailed questionnaires to examine participants’ meat consumption and meat cooking methods to estimate HCA and PAH exposures. Researchers found that high consumption of well-done, fried, or barbecued meats was associated with increased risks of colorectal (14), pancreatic (15, 16), and prostate (17, 18) cancer.
  4. [h4]  [/h4]
    Do guidelines exist for the consumption of food containing HCAs and PAHs?

    Currently, no Federal guidelines address the consumption of foods containing HCAs and PAHs. The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research issued a report in 2007 with dietary guidelines that recommended limiting the consumption of red and processed (including smoked) meats; however, no recommendations were provided for HCA and PAH levels in meat (19).
  5. [h4]  [/h4]
    Are there ways to reduce HCA and PAH formation in cooked meats?

    Even though no specific guidelines for HCA/PAH consumption exist, concerned individuals can reduce their exposure by using several cooking methods:
    • Avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times (especially at high temperatures) can help reduce HCA and PAH formation (20).
    • Using a microwave oven to cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures can also substantially reduce HCA formation by reducing the time that meat must be in contact with high heat to finish cooking (20).
    • Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often (20).
    • Removing charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings can also reduce HCA and PAH exposure (20).
  6. [h4]  [/h4]
    What research is being conducted on the relationship between the consumption of HCAs and PAHs and cancer risk in humans?

    Researchers in the United States are currently investigating the association between meat intake, meat cooking methods, and cancer risk. Ongoing studies include the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (14, 21), the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II (22), the Multiethnic Cohort (23), and studies from Harvard University (24). Similar research in a European population is being conducted in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study (25).
Last edited:

cruiser rod

Smoke Blower
Thread starter
Joined Jul 18, 2013
Thanks guys, one thing I read here that was posted is the carcinogens that are found in charred meats are were probably the scare really came from. I didn't want to scare anyone with this post I was just curious how high or what the risk might be if any. The comment was made to me by someone that really cares for me. Now I can intelligently respond back to them with good information. Thanks again!


Meat Mopper
Joined Jan 24, 2011
would common sense not be the first and fore most to anyhting in life???


RIP. Gone but never forgotten.
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 4, 2013
 I read here that was posted is the carcinogens that are found in charred meats are were probably the scare really came from.
First we don't burn out meat, not on purpose.

We can hire some white lab rats and force feed them with ALL of Woodcutters ham, and see if they die. If they do die can we get that happily satisfied contented smile off their faces?

AND if it does, isn't chared food like charcoal, isn't charcoal good for your renal system? Lets all eat smoked meats a pee easier.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Joined Sep 12, 2009
Yes can be very dangerous if you're smoking cigarettes while waiting for the meat to be ready.


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