6 Safe Grilling Tips– What You Need to Know
Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., DACBN, MS, CFMP
A popular pastime is the backyard grilling of our favorite meats.
Although millions enjoy grilling, this article will present some downsides and recommended action steps to ensure a good grilling experience.
The Downside of Grilling
Regularly eating grilled meats carries potential cancer risks.
Grilling causes meat to form carcinogenic compounds known as heterocyclic amines or HCAs. These are associated with increased cancer risk. The longer you cook the meat, the more HCAs are produced. Charred meat is a sign that a fair amount of HCAs has developed.
Grilling Strategies that can Reduce Your Cancer Risk
1: Cut meat into smaller portions, so they cook more quickly and have a shorter exposure to high cooking temperatures
2: Grilling leaner meats with less fat reduces the flames and smoke containing harmful hydrocarbons
3: Flip frequently. Fewer HCAs are formed if you turn the meat over frequently while grilling
4: Marinate! Marinating meat, poultry, or fish for at least 30 minutes before grilling can decrease the formation of HCAs by creating a barrier between the meat and the flames and smoke.
5: Control the temperature. To avoid cooking meats at high temperatures, light the outside burner(s) and leave the center burner off. Cook the food in the center of the grill.
6: If you’re cooking on charcoal, select hardwoods instead of softwoods. Types of wood can influence HCA formation. Hardwoods, such as hickory and maple, burn at lower temperatures than softwoods, such as pine. Cooking with wood that burns at a lower temperature is desirable.
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