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Grilling chicken on the rotisserie with galvanized steel wire to wrap it -- can it hurt you?

(-----) 2006

Q. My husband and I just purchased our first rotisserie for our grill. YEAH! Normally he does the grilling, but due to time, I began it. Well after pulling the skin off the chicken so it would be more "healthy" I proceeded to put it on the skewer. It wasn't holding on like I would have hoped. Since my husband had just purchased some galvanized steel for a project on our dog kennel, I thought, "hey, steel can with stand the heat, I'll use some of that wire he just got. He won't need it all." I didn't know what "galvanized" meant, still don't. But when he came home and I told him what I did, he said, "NO don't use galvanized, that can make you sick!" Do we eat the chicken or throw it away? :(

Lori Morford
homemaker - Albuquerque, New Mexico USA


A. The only answer, Lori, is to not use things for purposes for which they weren't intended ... and the manufacturer didn't intend for you to wrap chicken in their galvanized wire. You probably wouldn't even know what country the wire was made in, nor anything about what processes may have been used.

"Galvanized" means dipped in molten zinc, which probably won't hurt you in such moderation (zinc is actually a vital nutrient not a toxin, but too much of it can dissolve into food); plus you really can't be confident that only zinc was involved and that there are no other hazardous chemicals on it.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


thumbs up signThanks, Ted,

I tell my children that ALL the time. DUH!

Lori Morford
- Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA


A. Zinc is used to galvanize steel in order to prevent corrosion. Galvanized steel wire is not recommended for applications exceeding 392° F, therefore not recommended for cooking because the oil in the chicken can easily exceed 392° even if the appliance or open grill is set or monitored at a lower ambient temp. For temperatures above 392° the Zn can peel at the intermetallic layer. Even though Zn is an important nutrient, excessive Zn can be harmful, not to mention unappetizing.

blake kneedler
Blake Kneedler
Feather Hollow Eng. - Stockton, California

April 13, 2012

Q. I have discovered that galvanized pipe should not be used for a rotisserie, but I was wondering if black pipe would be any safer to use in a food application. I am trying to avoid the high cost of stainless steel. I would appreciate any advice. Jeff

Jeff Bushman
- Massillon, Ohio USA

April 14, 2012

A. Hi, Jeff. Although a small amount of rust probably won't hurt you, black pipe has no corrosion resistance at all if not painted and will rust away, and if it is painted you shouldn't eat off of it. Aluminum would probably be okay if stainless steel is prohibitive, and commercial parts that are nickel plated or ceramic coated would be fine. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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