3 Big Barbecue Myths Debunked

Right now, we're going to debunk 3 myths that the barbecue community needs to know. Be a good Samaritan and spread the PSA by sharing this Food for Thought blog post with your friends and family.

"Barbecue Can Give You Cancer"

Smoked BBQ Pork Shoulder

One of the most common myths that critics love to use against a barbecue lover is "barbecue can give you cancer" or "charred food gives you cancer." This is not the case. What they're referring to when they make these claims is acrylamide, which is found in all kinds of food when they're cooked at high temperatures and become browned or charred.

Although critics say acrylamide is cancerous in large quantities, countless studies state that large quantity is "1,000 to 100,000 times the amount of acrylamide that a normal person would be exposed to," as stated by MD Anderson Cancer Center.

What does that mean? It means you'd have to intentionally eat an average of 49, 500 times of burnt food that a normal person would consume unintentionally to expose yourself to cancer. In summary, it's highly unlikely you'll ever get cancer as a result from eating barbecue. 

However, with that being said, we're not health professionals and we advise you to do your own research.

"Soak Your Woodchips"

This is one of the big topics that a lot of members within the barbecue community disagree on. Many resources, even highly respected barbecue community members, tell you to soak your woodchips in water before using them.

The theory: soaking your wood chips will help them burn slower and add more smoky flavour and preserve their longevity. 

This theory is a misconception - let us explain why. The dead woodchips are porous, like a sponge, and will absorb water into it. We all know that we cannot light water on fire, which is why you won't be able to get the soaked woodchips to burn steadily, even holding a lighter to them. So, when you see what looks like smoke coming out of the wood chips, what is it actually? That's right, it's water vapour. You're essentially boiling the water out of the woodchip - not burning the actual wood.

True North BBQ Wood Chips

So, instead of "smoking" your food with soaked woodchips, you're actually steaming them until the wood can actually catch fire. 

What's a solution to this? Don't soak your woodchips just to dry them out again. If you feel like woodchips don't last long enough, use wood chunks instead.

What's your opinion on soaking your woodchips? Let us know by clicking here.

"Time Tells All"

Although this might be true in life, it's not true in barbecue - except if you're like us and barbecue is your life, then time is a big fat liar. In all seriousness, how many times have you read a recipe that tells you to cook meat for a certain amount of time with the assumption that it'll be done afterward? People will also tell you that the rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is to cook it for 15 minutes per pound. Well, we wouldn't fully trust that. 

Instead of measuring by time, you should always - ALWAYS - measure by internal temperature. So no, we don't do 15 minutes per pound of turkey. We barbecue that bird until its internal temperature is 165°F - measured by a trustworthy instant read thermometer. Sure, a certain amount of time can be a good guideline of when to check the internal temperature - but we cannot stress enough that time lies, temperature doesn't.

BBQ Meat Thermometer


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