Smoking Or Grilling – Which Is Healthier?

Smoking Or Grilling – Which Is Healthier?

Nowadays, we are all trying to stay healthy by sticking to a good diet and exercise program, but when it comes to making our food healthier, it can sometimes get incredibly difficult and confusing to know the best method to cook your food.

This is no exception when we are talking about meat. We know it’s vital to cook meat thoroughly to avoid food poisoning, but cooking the meat using the correct method is also important.

Choosing the right method can seriously affect how healthy your food is – so you might be considering smoking or grilling your meat. But which method is healthier?

This guide will take a look at the information surrounding these cooking methods, answering your burning questions and hopefully giving you some extra bits of information you might not have known before!

What Do We Know?

As with anything, understanding balance is essential. The key to a healthy diet is not only consistency, but moderation.

It’s totally fine to treat yourself from time to time and the human body can recover from most things pretty quickly – this includes less healthy meals!

Studies have suggested that the healthiest choice between smoking and grilling meats is smoking. This is due to the cooking process, whereby smoking meats will involve a much lower temperature.

This is important because grilling meats involves a much higher temperature and can react with the animal fat when the flames reach the meat which has some health risks.

There are still risks when it comes to smoking through things like artificial smoke flavoring – but these risks are much smaller, particularly when enjoyed as part of a healthy diet in moderation.

Does This Mean Both Methods Are Bad For You?

There are few things in life that have no risk. Both of these cooking methods have their own potential health risks, but grilling meats undoubtedly has more risks than smoking meats.

When you’re grilling meats, there are two main problems that could arise. When the meat is reached by fire on something like a grill – a compound known as heterocyclic amines are expelled.

If a human is subjected to exposure to this compound, there is a risk that their DNA can be affected and this can lead to cancer. Similarly, a person’s DNA can be impacted by the resulting “smoke” that is created when the fat drips onto something like coal.

Being subjected to this smoke can be dangerous, so it’s better to grill in very ventilated areas like outside in your yard. Studies suggest that a person that is subjected to these compounds may develop cancerous tumors in places like their prostate, breasts and lungs.

Of course, these risks do not appear when smoking meats, as the method is much slower and generally a different way to cook the meat.

Artificial smoke flavorings can potentially have a carcinogenic effect which can also be dangerous in large numbers. However, if you consume a moderate to small amount of smoked meat – you are likely to be okay.

But Smoking Meat Makes Me Sick?

But Smoking Meat Makes Me Sick?

There are a variety of other reasons why this might be the case. Here are some common reasons for why you might be getting sick after consuming smoked meats.

The Meat Has Gone Bad

This might sound obvious, but it can sometimes be difficult to know if your meat is still okay to be eaten – and when it’s barbecue time, sometimes leaving meat out too long in high temperatures can quickly spoil the meat.

As a rule of thumb, if you notice the meat has changed color or has an offensive smell, you should dispose of the meat. Before having leftovers, if your meat has been cooked to the correct temperature, you should consume it as quickly as possible.

Later, store the meat safely in the refrigerator or freezer using airtight containers or wraps.

If you have consumed meat that has gone bad – you might notice other symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness

If you are concerned that you might have eaten spoiled meat, try to rest and drink plenty of water. You should also inform your doctor as quickly as possible.

You Overdid It

You wouldn’t be alone if this is your problem – perfectly smoked meat tastes amazing, and we can sometimes overdo it and eat way too much. Overeating can lead to some sickness symptoms, but it shouldn’t last too long assuming you lay off the food for a while!

You Didn’t Cook It Properly

Incorrect temperatures when you’re cooking meat can cause food poisoning. Always ensure you are using a meat thermometer when smoking your meat!

If you have food poisoning, you might notice vomiting and diarrhea, along with flu-like symptoms such as muscle pains and weakness.


It’s possible that you’re allergic to the artificial smoke flavorings. Try to change that up first and always ensure you’re checking the label to see if there’s anything you might be allergic to in the ingredients.

Gastrointestinal Complications

Many people live with conditions like acid reflux, IBS and frequent constipation. Eating red meat can complicate these conditions, particularly when you’re consuming too much of it.

Speak with your doctor if you notice your condition gets worse after eating smoked meats and always take steps prior to eating if you have one of these conditions (such as getting some antacids).

The Bottom Line

Smoking is the healthiest method of cooking between that and grilling due to the possibility of complications and the risks of developing cancer.

However, it’s important to remain healthy and enjoy a balanced diet – so enjoying meat in moderation through whichever method you choose is the best way to remain safe.

If you have noticed consistent sickness symptoms from eating smoked meats, there might be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed, so always get medical advice if you have concerns.

Annie Plummer
Scroll to Top