Summertime and outdoor cooking are a memory making duo!
And with the Long Weekend upon us, it is likely that grilling is a part of the plan.
But eating food prepared by cooking over an open flame can expose you to carcinogens.
When you expose your meat and fish to high heat and open flames it creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs). And the smoke that results from fat that drips and burns on the grill contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Both of these chemicals have been linked to various types of cancer.
So, my intention is not to be a buzz kill here but to give you some tips to help you reduce the formation of these chemicals and keep you healthy!
10 Tips For Healthier BBQing
- Clean any char that has built up on your grill before you start cooking
- Lower the temperature and cook for a longer period of time
- Choose leaner cuts of meat
- Grill small portions. This reduces the time on the grill
- Remove skin and fat to reduce the dripping that leads to fire flares
- Avoid placing your food directly over the fire
- Grill on cedar planks
- Have a spray bottle filled with water handy to douse fire flare-ups
- Include fruits and veggies! BBQing isn’t just for meat. In fact some of my favourite grilled food has nothing to do with meat at all. You can grill all kinds of veggies on the grill. And for desert how about grilled pineapple with cinnamon (a family favourite). Or grilled peaches. Just yummy!
10. Marinate your food and include heaps of herbs. This ups the flavour and limits the formation of carcinogens. Studies have found that adding herbs and spices such as rosemary, basil, mint and thyme to beef reduces the formation of HCAs
To help you along with this last point, here are some ingredients that you can mix and match to create a tasty marinade that you can use for your next shindig!
Marinade Mix and Matching Ingredients
Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Sesame Oil
Lemon, Lime, Orange
Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt, Black Pepper,
Cayenne Pepper, Smoked Paprika
Garlic, Ginger, Onion, Parsley, Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme
**Mix well the ingredients of choice and marinade for at least one hour
Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk
Marinades Reduce Heterocyclic Amines from Primitive Food Preparation Techniques
To Block The Carcinogens, Add A Touch Of Rosemary When Grilling Meats
2 Replies to “10 Tips For Healthier BBQing”
Thanks for the tips. I like your suggestions for using herbs and spices. I enjoy citrus marinades on my fish and meats. We use a Weber barbecue for its excellent low temp cooking. Very few flare ups or charred foods. I’m a particular fan of grilled vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, asparagus, onions.
Me too! I love especially love onions on the BBQ!
Thanks for your comments!