Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
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Topic: Suspicion that it has health risks (cancer) . . . . From: Don,
Subject: Re: Smoking to preserve meats/sausage
Thanks for interesting site. At the moment I'm just trying to find out about smoking, which is not common in UK home cooking. I like smoked meats, sausage, fish, but commercially available products here aregetting thin on the ground. So I'm looking to do it myself. One little point: some people have told me that the reason smoked food is no longer available is the suspicion that it has health risks (cancer). Any info/ comments?
Mankind has been cooking over wood coals since we learned how to use fire. If it caused cancer, the species would never have made it.
Meat cooked in smoke or over hot coals may present a couple of hazards, however. Burning wood gasses contain, among other things, benzene and phenols, which are known hazards to health. But meat cooked this way tastes bad so competent cooks use wood coals rather than wood for cooking.
Secondly, fat dripping from meat cooked directly over very hot coals is supposed to produce nitrosamines which are reputed to be hazardous to our health. If, for 40 years, you each day ate 400 lbs of meat cooked in this fashion, you could possibly develop cancer.
"Take the cash and let the credit go, Nor heed the rumble of a distant drum!" Omar Khayyam.