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What is the general concensus as to the safety of cooking food this way?

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by cowboycook1n, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. cowboycook1n

    cowboycook1n Newbie

    Hi Yall...... Im fairly new to this forum, and I dont have alot of time really to devote to this website or this manner of cooking, but i find it all very interesting, not to mention all those q views messing with my taste buds! But my wife is insisting this is not a healthy way to cook & prepare food. She seems mainly worried about using the seasoned wood chips, as I guess theres still some discrepency about that. I dont have time to research that, and shes not computer savvy.... but im getting itchn to try this and start buyin some major aresenol to do this! Can some good person out there explain this to us, esp her?  Im sure some of you men can relate to this dilemna.

    I look forward to any help you can send along my (our) way.

  2. danielh

    danielh Meat Mopper

    I really wouldn't be worried about cooking over a fire.  How many thousands of years have people been eating this way??

    Cooking at these low temps, I do occasionally worry about getting some of these big cuts of meat through the 40-140* danger zone in 4 hours like the USDA recommends.  Especially when cooking for big groups of people.  But I've never had a problem yet.  Thats the biggest thing you really have to watch.
  3. cowboycook1n

    cowboycook1n Newbie

    Thanks Daniel, I think shes more worried about the "smoking" aspect, carcinogens from that and the burnt outer skin and stuff and that seeping into the meat, (heck if it even does that) not so much cookin over a flame. But thats a great point too, about getting those huge pieces cooked thru. I doubt we'd be cooking up massive meals like that, but never say never. With all the help here who knows.
  4. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    It's all a matter of personal preference:

    The only thing I worry about is (as DanielH said) getting through the danger zone, which I understand has changed from [40˚ to 140˚ in 4 hours] to [40˚ to 135˚ in 4 hours] if you probed or injected the meat.

    As far as any nitrates or carcinogens, and stuff like that caused by smoking, my Dr doesn't seem to worry about that.

    If you cure & smoke Bacon & such, as long as you go by strict guidelines----No problem in my opinion.

    It's your decision, but I would say there are a lot worse things in our lives to worry about.

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  5. Tell your wife she is right...There are carcinogenic compounds in wood smoke, and burned fats (regardless of cooking method) ~~ If you plan to eat this type of food 3 times a day, 7 days a week for the next 40 years then your risk will be pretty high for developing some form of cancer.... However, If you only plan to eat like this in moderation then your risk factor will be very, very low!! ....Odds are greater she'll be run over by a 18 wheeler or struck by lightening. ~~~ My friend,  nobody is gonna get out of here alive....The object is not to walk across the finish line, but to slide across full speed with a rib in one hand, and a piece of Pecan Pie in the other saying..... Yeeeeeeee!! Haaaaa...What a helluva ride!!!!!

    Have Fun and Enjoy!!!!
    banacanin and mysticpatsfan like this.
  6. athabaskar

    athabaskar Smoking Fanatic

    I'm with the Cob. It's all about quality of life, not quantity. Everything is here to be enjoyed in moderation. If you stuff enough of anything down a rats face eventually it will get a cancer. I'd rather live happy than die afraid.
  7. northern greenhorn

    northern greenhorn Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    All of the above is true but, I'm willing to bet that you'd have more health issues from eating fast food 3 times a week, then you'd have from the same amount of smoked meats, plus it taste a helluva lot better. 
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    .... also your not going to get the "carcinogens from that and the burnt outer skin and stuff and that seeping into the meat", smoking is not using high heat - smoking is generally done between 200° and 250°.
  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I think that smoking is a really good and healthy way to prepare many of the dishes we do here. Now I'm a fatter kid now that I have almost quit working and started to smoke and cooking more foods of the not so healthy but really darn tastey versions. Now the food we all make here is really tastey and alot of the fat is cooked out of the meat too. We could be doing this in the oven while letting the meat sit in a nice pool of it's own fat and greases. But grilling and smoking is much more healthier then the oven and on top of the stove anyhow. 
  10. richoso1

    richoso1 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bubba, welcome to the SMF. I'm not going to move your thread to roll call, this may give others a chance to chime in on your situation.

    Maybe you can do a littler research on some well know Q celebs and the way they BBQ. Also consider mentioning how many of the big/great Q joints have not been shut down for health reasons.I would not be concerned about the general consensus, I would concentrate on given facts. It's all good my friend.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  11. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    I won't cook with margarine.

    I can't cook with MSG.

    I think Cool Whip should be banned.

    But you will have to pry my smoker from my cold dead hands. ;)

    You gotta weigh the risks vs rewards and make your choices accordingly. Everything in moderation. I like bacon. I don't eat it every day.

    I got a real giggle from a "wife-of-my-husband's-friend" who tried to tell me how unhealthy my food choices are. Mind you, she owns her own tanning bed, smokes a half a pack a day and drives without her seatbelt.

    I think I'll be here to tell her grandkids the story. Who knows if she will be.. ;)


  12. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I look at it different. First I follow the food code to stay safe.

    But with regard to the diet liers whom want to stop people from eating good food.  It changes depending on what the fad is they are trying to get the money to study, and even if they are correct.......

    What do you get?

    Asumming you are half way healthy with good life genes you get an average extra time on earth of 1.7 years.  NOW...

    The 1.7 years is not as a child playing baseball and fishin'

    It is not as a teenage skinny dipping with the neighbor girl in the creek

    Not as a young adult trying to rule the world

    Not as a young parent enjoying raising your children

    Not as an older parent watching you kids become successful adults

    Not as a grand parent watching the next generation come up

    Not as a elderly couple traveling together to see and explore things with the kids raised and grand children doing well


    You get 1.7 years of extra time wearing adult diapers not knowing who you are or why you are in this hospital type place...

    Thank you just the same..... I will just eat what I want (in moderation) and check out of this big round blue hotel on time! 
  13. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Ok can I stop laughing now - I love this post - tanning bed and half a pack a day - I think you just found my ex wife [​IMG]

    I agree with ya - pick your poisen or poisens in my case

    Princess, thanks for the giggle see ya at the smoker with some bacon and sausage
  14. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I'm with BBally 100% on this one.  Being a cancer survivor, my outlook has radically changed to one of: enjoy it now, before it's too late.  Everything in moderation, of course.
    princess likes this.
  15. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Remember that meat isn't the only thing that goes in our smokers.  Onion, zucs, squash, shrooms, taters, the list is endless for vegies that do great in a smoker.  Smoked fish and cold smoked cheese are also great as accoutrements or as main dishes.  Address her health concerns by doing a great variety of vegetables placed on the smoker till tender, brushed with olive oil, a bit of good sea salt and fresh pepper.  Include this in your meal along with a nice piece of trimmed brisket, chicken breast, pork loin or other lean meat.  Not only are the veges good for you they make for a beautiful plate.
  16. chainsaw

    chainsaw Smoking Fanatic

    Agree with Princess we used margarine for years, now it is not in the house. Anything flies won't light on can't be food IMO

    Also good comments on veggies & other non-meat smoked1
  17. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Your old lady must have a stress free and smooth life if she's gonna lose sleep over eating smoked meat. I smoke, bbq or grill darn near everything I cook.
    mysticpatsfan likes this.
  18. ravenclan

    ravenclan Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    well i have ate some type of smoked food from the time i was one year old till now and i am 43 years young !!

    no cancer yet !

    of course I am Alaskan Indian and my Grandparents and the rest of my tribe have smoked fish and meat to live for the past 1000's of years and both of my grandparents lived till their both in there 90's both of them did pass away but just from old age !!
  19. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't the slightest clue why I didn't reply to this thread earlier, as I had caught it flowing through the active pages when it was a younger thread. I am now sensing some dejavu for some odd reason...you know, like I've already written about this somewhere, maybe here, but I'm not sure? Maybe on another similar thread?

    Anyway, keeping as simple and to the point as I know how, the most significant health issues I can think of related to cooking methods for meats or other foods are:

    1) meat drippings/juices which contact a hot enough surface to cause burning or smoking of those drippings...very bad for you;

    2) adding fats in order to cook the food...relatively bad for you, depending on the type of fat used;

    3) (this is from a study I found a link to and read here in a thread awhile back, not sure where it is now) cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 170* or greater;

    The most common sources I can think of for the above mentioned issues are:

    1) frying, or grilling the food over an open flame or other high heat source such as electric grills, or, charcoal/propane/gas fired grilling, or in the case of fast food burger joints flame broiling/griddle frying;

    2) stir-frying with a wok, pan frying or deep fat frying;

    3) cooking any meats to well-done or above (pulled pork/beef/chicken).

    As you can see, there are many other methods of cooking other than the low & slow as employed with smoking which are much less healthy ways to bring food to the table. We are a family who truly enjoys outdoor cooked foods, and my guess is that a very high majority of the members of SMF, and their families alike, are in the same rankings. We eat a pretty well balanced mix of smoked, grilled, fried, roasted, and baked foods. This doesn't happen by plan, it's just how things work out. I cook a few meals when I'm on days off, smoked or grilled...my daughters cook a few meals each week, being fried, roasted or baked...my wife cooks with the same methods as my daughters, but there's always a mix of something different every day. Here again, I'm sure the majority of others here do the same. That's the key to life in general, IMO: everything in moderation, and I do mean everything.

    The amounts of carcinogens contained in the smoke (when proper use of the smoker is utilized) which we use to flavor our foods, well, it's pretty negligible quantities. If you want to see some nasty stuff that can put you into a hurt bag, just buy processed and packaged foods, and eat nothing but that for a couple years. Anyone game for that challenge? Any takers?

    Very intereresting observation and analogy. You put this into a perspective which I find very easy to see. It's a refreshing look, for sure.

    Smoke on, I say!

  20. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    I quit tobacco and started hickory. Mid life crisis I guess. [​IMG]