Fall is just around the corner, bringing with it picnics, barbeques and time spent cooking on the grill. If you’re a self-proclaimed gill-master, chances are you already started digging out your favorite grill tools and “Kiss the Cook” apron in preparation.
While it might not be possible for you to grill a more succulent steak or a more perfect, juicy burger, there are some ways to make your grilling less harmful. Read on to learn some tips and techniques to make your summer grill-out not only delicious but healthier.
Know the Risks
Recent research has discovered that there are some health risks associated with cooking meat and fish on the grill, including possible carcinogens. If your meal becomes overly charred, chances are the high heat your meat has been subjected to has produced heterocyclic amines, or HCA’s, which are carcinogenic compounds know to cause stomach, liver and colon cancers.
Grilling can also produce the carcinogen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH’s) as fat drips off the meat and onto your grill, surrounding the meat with the byproduct of singed fat. While it’s true that these compounds can make your summer BBQ a health hazard, there are some techniques to help avoid the unhealthy side of grilling.
Grill Veggies Instead
One of the best ways to avoid harmful chemicals in your meat is to grill veggies instead of meat. Vegetables actually have a built-in anti-cancer protection, making them a healthier and safer alternative to meat. However, you may want to wine and dine your guests with more than just grilled veggies. Luckily there are some ways to protect your meat from harmful chemicals.
Turn Down the Heat
One of the easiest ways to make sure your meat doesn’t get charred and crispy is to simply turn down the heat. By making sure that your grill is set to a temperature that will encourage a slower and more even cook, it will help prevent the release of those toxic chemicals.
Add a Marinade
Another way to protect your meat from carcinogenic chemicals is to marinade it before grilling. Bathing your fish, meat and chicken in a marinade made with vinegar, lemon juice or even beer or wine can help prevent your meat from forming HCA’s while it’s on the grill.
Trim the Fat
As the carcinogen PAH is formed when fat drips off of your meat, releasing the compound while it burns on the grill, reducing your risk for producing PAH is as easy as trimming the fat. Before your meat hits the grill, cut off any excessively fatty areas to prevent PAH production. Also, choosing to buy leaner meats can help to increase the safety of your cookout.
This summer choose to make your backyard barbeque both delicious and safe. By choosing to take precautionary steps to protect your meat from carcinogens, or not even grilling meat at all, you can make sure that you and your family are exposed to less of those harmful chemicals. So put on your apron, grab your favorite marinade and get grilling.