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Aledo Green DreggonAledo Green Dreggon Posts: 134
edited 2:16PM in EggHead Forum
Quote from Knauf "the smoke ring forms only at the beginning of the cook, when the meat (surface) temp is under 140 or so. after 140, the chemical reaction (from nitric acid forming from the smoke and reacting with myoglobin in the meat)no longer occurs. this chemical reaction turns the meat pink/red, and is pretty much the same reaction that causes nitrites in ham, bacon, dry-cured sausage, etc. to turn pink."

So how safe is food cooked in the egg for pregnant ladies? Aren't nitrates and nitrites(not sure what the difference is) bad for the fetus? Does it make any difference if only using lump and not adding any chips or chunks for smoke?


  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Nitrates and nitrites both have some health risk associated with their use. Common commercial and home uses are in cured products like cured and smoked hams, sausages, bacon or turkey. Tenderquick is a common name brand from Morton's, the generic name of curing salts is pink salt. I'm not sure how the nitrates from smoking fall into the equation as far as assessing risk.

    On a similar subject, research indicates that potential carcinogens (substances that can cause cancer) are present in grilled foods. Fat that drips onto the flames creates smoke that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's)that are potential carcinogens.

    The crust that forms on meats cooked at high temperatures (such as from grilling, or even frying and broiling meat) includes compounds that researchers say are "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." The compounds are known as HCAs, or heterocyclic amines. Some research has shown that eating more HCAs increases your risk for several cancers, including colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreas, breast, and prostate cancers.

    If you start doing research on this be advised that in many circles "grilling and "barbecuing" are considered one in the same, so the terms may be used interchangeably in articles etc. There is some support that foods we know as barbecue, which are cooked at lower temperatures may be healthier than grilled foods.

    I saved a great forum post from Jim Minion that I will share here. I generally like to read his opinion on things and have learned quite a bit from doing so.

    We have all heard grilling can be harmful but here are some ways to cut the effects and allows us to eat grilled foods we love.

    Marinate before grilling. It can reduce HCA formation in meat and fish by up to 99 percent. Herbs are helpful, too. Rosemary, garlic and sage may block the formation of both HCAs and PAHs in and on the food. Add the seasonings to light marinades or as ingredients to other dishes you serve with your grilled foods. A citrus or olive oil marinade can also counteract HCA buildup.

    Think small. Smaller cuts spend less time over the flame than big slabs of meat. Flip them frequently, too. Turning meat over every minute greatly reduces HCAs. Use tongs to turn foods. “Puncturing meats with a fork may cause juices to flow and drip on to the coals”.

    Avoid overcooking foods. The longer you grill your meat, the more the carcinogens develop.

    Partner grilled items with cancer fighters. Antioxidants and other phytonutrients in fruits (apples, grapes and berries), vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, onions) and even tea can stall or stop the chemicals' effects in the body.

    There is no need to stop eating grilled food just modify our process.

    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Thank you. I will bookmark this one for reference.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,875
    Please note also that there are a fair number of vegetables that have nitrates. For instance, spinach, carrots and beets.

    I came across a regulation that limited nitrates added to cured foods to 1.8 grams per pound. I don't know, however, how rubbed and smoked meats compare to completely cured meats like ham.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172

    Not beets..... :silly:
  • gdenby,

    I remember that there was a ratio of time and teperature that had to do with the development of the nitrites. That is that long exposure to low heat is less of an issue than to high temperature. Conversely, short exposure to high temp doesnt allow the time for as much buildup. Either way, the egg should be way out in front of any other type of barbeque.



    Caledon, ON


  • I don't plan to avoid them, just want to be sure my wife and kid are safe for the next few months.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    that quote's from me....


    nitrates and nitrites are being assailed and defended on all sides. for example, cures prevent food spoilage, whaich is why they are used in ham and bacon and dry-cured foods.

    that's why a hunk of prosciutto can hang all the time in the deli, for example.

    talk to a doc if you aren't sure.

    but most folks equivocate. they stay clear of nitrates, but drink alcohol, caffiene, etc.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i'd bet too that the thing people should really consider when grilling isn't that they are creating dangerous byproducts by grilling over high heat, but that they are often eating way more than they should.

    heart disease is something you can work to prevent...

    if someone is fifty pounds overweight and worried about cancer from their grill, they really don't understand how to assess risk :laugh:
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428

    Oh no......Double whammy for 'ol thirdeye. I'm guilty of grilling and drinking at the same time. I wonder if I should switch to a bottle with a small opening so none of those pesky nitrates get in my drink?
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Sorry about the misquote. I actually don't drink caffeine, and rarely drink carbonated beverages. Never smoked, and believe it or not I have never tasted beer. I have cooked with it, but can't get past the smell to try it straight. I do have a bottle of vodka in the kitchen that is 3-4 years old that gets used 1 shot at a time in spaghetti sauce. My concern here is my wife is in her first trimester with our 3rd kid, I just got the egg, and I don't want to bombard the baby with something that could potentially be harmful. Better to error on the side of caution. First child allergy free, second child allergic to nearly everything we have ever had her tested for, so we are pretty cautious about outside influences at this stage.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i just meant it was mine, not so much as "THAT'S MY QUOTE!!!"

    i'm no authority on that stuff, so i also wanted to make sure Knauf wasn't being quoted as saying something that might be wrong either.

    i didn't mean to say it that way, it sounded more off-hand in my head :blush:

    i say if it makes you uncomfortable, steer clear. no harm in it.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    the danger in drinking alcohol and eating grilled food isn't from the booze and the cancer stuff, it's from falling shat-farked into the fire!

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • bubba timbubba tim Posts: 3,216
    Hey Wayne,
    Great info but ya know, I am in my mid 50s, Nam vet, and just don't worry about that stuff. I live! When the big guy says time up, then it is time up. You don't get to debate it. Live well, eat well, die proud!
    SEE YOU IN FLORIDA, March 14th and 15th 2014 You must master temp, smoke, and time to achive moisture, taste, and texture! Visit for BRISKET HELP
  • I didn't feel scolded. I just talk too much and give out too much information generally.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597

    i'm sure that most here would say that about me
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    I with you bro, no worries here either.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
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