MYTH: Barbecue smoke isn’t bad for you REALITY: Inhaling any kind of smoke is bad for your lungs
“It’s an instinctive thing to turn away from smoke, yet at barbecues people stand over it and breathe it in,” says Alison. “It’s very difficult for our lungs to expel heavy particles that we inhale – we have to cough them up again. Just think how greasy and dirty the extractor fan of an oven is – that’s what we’re inhaling if we stand over a barbecue.”
Mitun adds, “Smoke released when burning charcoal and wood produce hydrocarbons that can aggravate heart and lung problems. Fat also drips from the meat in to the charcoal which increases the volume of
smoke and these carcinogens get deposited on the meat.”
What to do
1 Place your grill downwind of your guests’ dining area.
2 Get the fire blazing and keep feeding the flames until the coals are red hot. Then let it die down before cooking anything. This may take up to two hours, but be patient as it will lead to less smoke.
3 If the barbecue starts flaring up, dampen it down.
4 Use lean meat like chicken, and cut as much fat as possible off the other meats to reduce smoke.