not another typical tar question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by terry remsik, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. terry remsik

    terry remsik Newbie

    I have seen a lot of questions asking how to get rid of tar build up in the smoker..however, i have yet to see one asking if its healthy to have tar in the meat or even if the tar gets into the meat.

    I have done some smoking and have had the smoke pentrate very well into the meat, however, due to recent readings its made me concerned about tar content in the foods i cook and eat.

    Can someone please elaborate on tar and smoking meat?  What woods are best to use with the least amount of tar residue?  Which woods are recomended ?

    The most basic i can ask is... is eating meat that is smoked safe for consuption?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I keep the smoke light for as long as I want, and have never had a problem. If you use heavy smoke, it will taste bitter, and if creosote forms, it will cause your tongue & possibly your lips to tingle or go numb. That is bad!!

    Burning things on a grill, even without smoke is bad. 

    We don't burn things when we smoke meat.

    I'm sure you can find places that say smoking meat is bad, but so is anything else you do or anything you eat.

  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    This has been going around for quite a while now and I think the best way to answer it is to say,  if you do too much of anything it will become bad for you.

    Normally it isn't the amount of tar that is questioned but the amount of carcinogens derived from the NO that forms the smoke ring.  I don't believe eating smoked food is any more unhealthy for you then any other way that you may cook the meat you are eating.  Fatty foods tend to be bad for us.

    I do not get tar on my food.  If you have condensates from the smoke chamber dripping on your food I would think the taste would be enough reason to give the smoker a good cleaning.  TBS  should not generate a lot of tar and creosote on your food,  thick white smoke is a different matter.  Thick white smoke makes bad BBQ.  A hot fire box rapidly burns off the oils and moisture in the wood and allows it to escape through the stack without hanging around and making your food taste bad.

    I'm interested to hear the other opinions of the group but if you want a reason to not eat smoked foods you may want to post your question in a vegetarian forum,  [​IMG]
  4. stmartin84

    stmartin84 Newbie

    I am not new to smoking, but have been out of the world of smoking for awhile now.  I bought a new Oklahoma Joe grill last week and have smoked several things on it.  My question is, I have this sticky goo, tar type suff on the top of the smoking chamber and on the vent pipe.  You say to clean the tar off.  My question is how do I clean the grill back to it's day 1 out of the box to get rid of all this DARN STICKY TAR!?!?!?!?
  5. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    You should not have a tar buildup at all. I have a 5 year old UDS and it has no tar. Never cleaned it except for occasionally brushing some dry peeling residue off the lid and sides. It sounds like you need to figure out what is causing this. Do you keep your top vents all the way open when smoking? Billowing white or brown smoke? Green wood? Not enough draft? Could be some reasons. Does your product taste bitter and make your whole mouth numb? You might want to see what modifications other members have done to that smoker to make it work right. Hope this helps.
  6. stmartin84

    stmartin84 Newbie

    Thanks for the reply.  I noticed this after a long smoke (15 hours).  I'm also new at this problem for the most part, I kept the vent open maybe 25% and I think that is the reason for the buildup.  I'm doing the mods this weekend, but I wonder if I should try to clean it all up first.  I also know that I need to keep that vent open almost all the way now and control the temp with the vent in the firebox.  I am getting greyish colored smoke.  Food tastes great, really good, no numbing at all.  Neighbor loved the food and he knows his foods.  I'm just trying to figure out how to remove this grime and goo and start fresh.
  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    My guess is you get more tar walking 5 blocks down a busy street than you will ever eat. Or just being in any city in the USA for any period of time. I would not spend my time worrying about such things. But that is just me. I drink, eat smoked food, hang out around camp fires...etc... If I quit all that I am sure an airplane would crash through my roof and kill me anyway.
  8. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Maybe start with white vinegar and hot water with a little dawn dish soap mixed in. I clean windows for a living and this is what I use for smoke damage removal with the addition of ammonia. You may not want ammonia in your smoker though. Let me know how it works out. Plenty of rags. Maybe go to a paint supply store and buy a big bag of painter rags so you can dispose of them.
    stmartin84 likes this.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Simple Green works well. The Goo is from the closed vent. Moister is mixing with the Smoke and condensing on the walls...JJ
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    The only thing I don't like about simple green is the after smell. It can last for a long long time. I wonder how well it would work in this application though. Have you used it inside your smoker JJ?
  11. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would cleaned my old smoker about 1-2 times a year..... I'd used a scraper attached to a handle and scrape off what I could, then run the smoker through the carwash afterwards to clean up any left overs....... SB
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yes but rinsed after with water. I ran with max heat for a hour, then added smoke to re-season...JJ
  13. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    thanks that is kind of what I thought after thinking about it for a bit.
  14. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The best way I have found to really clean the smoker back to close to new is a pressure washer but after using that you will need to fire it up to dry things before rust starts also re-season it
  15. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  16. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    Here is something you can read: Health Effects (Tronox).pdf

    By using a cold smoke generator equiped with a method of creosole condenser and electric heating for smoking, I basically do not have much problem with tar.

  17. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you have an Ok. Joe thats a pit, an off set, Pits are not made in my humble opinion to be clean as an oven. The more you build up the better it seals. Yes, you burn off and wire brush the grate prior to usage, but this is metal pit. I have 50 year old pits outside that have maybe been cleaned two or three times and then by sandblasting. AND it takes forever to get them making the same quality meat again after doing so.

    Man, its a pit ...... not some pressed metal oriental contraption. Its doesn't need cleaning unless you seriously screwed up. Hey, it happens.

    Just my opinion, and we all know what opinions are like, right?
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  18. radio

    radio Smoking Fanatic

    I would post a link, but it isn't allowed.  Do a Google search for "Lang the new how to start a fire" and open the you tube link. Ben Lang does an excellent tutorial on how to start the fire, but more importantly, he shows how to clean a heavy steel pit with nothing but water[​IMG]

    My New Braunfels will build up some tar even with running the stack wide open and I never have a problem.  Ben also talks about the condensation inside the smoker.  It runs down the sides of a cylindrical smoker, where in a rectangular one with a flat top, it would drip down on the racks and meat.  not good!

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