With the arrival of the summer season, it is time to fire up the grill. If grilling is a regular part of your summer routine, then it is even more important that you “grill safe” and prevent hazards to your health which could occur.
A possible hazard is known as carcinogens. “Carcinogens”, are cancer causing agents. The danger comes as meat burns (charrs). As it burns, it creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which can potentially damage a person’s DNA when consumed.
Although is sounds scary, with a few tweaks and tricks you can not only make barbecuing safe for you and your family but even healthier than usual. Here are some tips to help you do that.
Marinate your meat to reduce carcinogens
Many studies have shown that marinated meat contains 50 to 80% less carcinogens. The reason it works is not abundantly clear to scientists. In may be the marinades create a protective barrier between the meat’s proteins and the heat of the grill. Marinades containing herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, garlic, mint as well as Vitamin C appear to be the most effective in lowering the formation of carcinogens.
Keep your grill clean
Keep your grill clean by scrubbing with a brush before and after grilling food. Scrubbing keeps the buildup of carcinogens left on the grill grates to a minimum and makes your food taste much better.
Leaner cuts of meat have less fat so there is less chance of the fat dripping to cause a flare up. Lean cuts of meat include “loin, round, flank, boneless and skinless.
Lower the temperature and use a drip tray
The drip tray will catch fat drippings and decrease flare ups. Place aluminum foil on the grill to reduce flare ups even more. Try cooking your meat in “tin foil packets” containing veggies for added moisture and flavour.
Keep thick, heavy sauces to a minimum
In lab testing, thick heavy barbecue sauces tripled the amounts of HCAs present.
Grill up veggies and fruit
Fruits and veggies do not create the harmful chemicals when cooked, so grill away. Veggies and fruits contain antioxidants which fight free radical damage. Need a hand in the kitchen? Take advantage of Renee’s Personalized Meal and Menu planning service to take the overwhelm out of nutrition planning for yourself or family.