Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical I was pan frying some chicken thighs and they got blackened. Dangerous to eat?

  1. Jul 27, 2012 #1
    I started cooking some chicken, forget for about 10 minutes, come back, and the underside is quite blackened. Only the bottom layer though. Most of it is cooked "normally".

    Is it bad to eat this?

    What sort of chemicals might form, and what will these do to your body?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2012 #2

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, eating pan-fried chicken is bad for you. You should take off the skin and bake them.
     
  4. Jul 27, 2012 #3

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    The son-in-law of dear friends died this year of pancreatic cancer (60% higher risk from eating burned meat regularly) which developed quickly and was not treatable. In his 40s, leaving wife and pre-teen kids. It made pancreatic cancer real to me.

    The risk is small. But it is much higher if you eat burned meat like often BBQ or pan-fry or you specify "extra-well-done" burgers etc.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/04/22/us-cancer-pancreatic-meat-idUSTRE53K5QI20090422

    No one but you can balance pleasure vs risk, for yourself. I don't claim to be a cautious person either. But maybe you should read the articles about burned meat. Here's a "science daily" article:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090421154327.htm
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  5. Jul 27, 2012 #4

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    You asked about what chemicals. I'm not expert, other people here could be more informative, but for starters there are the HCA group of chemicals (some of which are good! or harmless!).

    But others are carcinogen. when you cook meat at high temperature it makes HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and probably some of the bad ones included.

    I don't know much about it. FWIW here's a wikipedia article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterocyclic_amine

    It shows a picture of one of the nice HCAs, actually a vitamin. But it also shows a picture of some slightly charred BBQ and says no don't eat this.

    The people who did the pancreatic cancer study say if you barbecue CUT OFF the charred part and just eat the rest. You could do that with the chicken thighs if just the bottom was burned. they also suggest, if you want, microwave the meat first to get it almost cooked, then pour off the melted fat and juice and stuff and take the almost cooked meat out to the pit and grill it a bit just for the good bbq taste, you know with the sauce and all that. sounds complicated, not in the primitive spirit of real guys at the smoking altar, but that's what I saw they were suggesting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2012
  6. Jul 27, 2012 #5

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yes. Very bad for you.

    Send them over here; I will dispose of them for you.

    Also, any of your hickory sauce too.

    Maybe some fries on the side would be nice...
     
  7. Jul 27, 2012 #6

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    So 208 cases of diagnosed pancreas cancer out of 62000 subjects, with 80 of those, or 0.13% being the normal occurance, and 128, or 0.21% being the occurance rate for those who ate charred meat? That's a difference of 0.08%. Not exactly horrific odds.

    I would rather sacrifice frequency for quality. Have what I like how I like but far less often than I might have in the past. BBQ steaks are a good example of that. We only have it a four or five times over the summer now tops, maybe less some years. And we rarely BBQ in the winter anymore. 20 years ago it was a weekly thing at a minimum during the summer with frequent winter BBQs of all kinds.
     
  8. Jul 27, 2012 #7

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Slow smoking is fine. It's only high heat scorching that is dangerous. If you don't let the flames scorch the meat, you run less risk. Regular BBQ should be ok because the point is not to burn the meat. I'll see if I can find the study. Just remember, burned=bad.
     
  9. Jul 27, 2012 #8

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yeah but let's keep it in perspective. Like other forms of contaminants, it's a cumulative health risk.

    A burned piece of meat is not "bad" for you. Having burned meat as a habit is cause for concern.
     
  10. Jul 27, 2012 #9

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yeah, some people tend to freak out whenever they find out that something is a carcinogen. But I wonder, is this why most people do not like the taste of burned food? I know I cannot stand the taste of anything that is burned.
     
  11. Jul 28, 2012 #10

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Ah, I guess you didn't read my post on BBQ modification for properly cooking a steak. :biggrin: I have modified mine and use both wood and gas to maximize the exposure to the flame. In addition to a second lower grate for the wood, the baffles over the burners were removed. You can't cook a steak properly without a flame to sear the meat [just can't get enough heat]. I would rather go without than eat a poorly cooked steak!

    I had to laugh when I thought about it after making that post. Classic engineer!

    How to cook a steak:
    1) Redesign BBQ
    2) Defeat safeties
    3) Keep emergency fire extinguisers at the ready...
     
  12. Jul 28, 2012 #11

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I loved some burnt foods. In fact I started a thread on it once not that long ago. Tsu and I used to fight over who got the burnt chicken skin when we'd BBQ. :biggrin:

    Why is it I like all the bad things? Oh well, moderation.
     
  13. Jul 30, 2012 #12
    Thanks! I think this is the answer to my question.
     
  14. Jul 30, 2012 #13

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  15. Jul 30, 2012 #14

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  16. Jul 30, 2012 #15

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  17. Aug 12, 2012 #16
    Beats eating undercooked meat!

    I had no idea there were any risks associated with this at all, so thank you.

    Can I ask a stupid question?

    What about eating burned toast?
     
  18. Aug 12, 2012 #17
    toast is ok since it only applies to proteins. You are right, people should eat more "cooked" foods. Maybe people will listen more the next time there is a spinach ecoli out break
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: I was pan frying some chicken thighs and they got blackened. Dangerous to eat?
  1. Some bugs safe to eat? (Replies: 38)

Loading...