Parades, grilling and get togethers are a familiar part of the fabric of an American summer. It’s Americana personified. Using the safest grilling techniques ensures success with your food and your parties. Here are a few grilling tips to follow:
There has been a concern about the aromatic pydrocarbons (PHAs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs)(June Oxygen Magazine) which are known carcinogens, a compound linked to cancer. Limiting your exposure to these compounds makes your grilling safer for everyone. The carcinogens are produced when fat drips into the coals and smokes back up into the food. What can you do to reduce your risks?
1. Maintain and clean your grill regularly. Change the brickettes and clean the grill top often. Check the connection to gas if you use a gas grill.
2. Choosing leaner cuts of meat will help reduce the dripping, therefore, the smoking that produces the carbons.
3. Avoid charring meats. It raises the chemical content. Partially pre-cook meats in microwave or oven. Then when you grill it, it imparts the flavor, but doesn’t remain on the grill for as long.
4. Marinates help add flavor to meats, seafood and vegetables but limit the oils in the marinate, which have been shown to reduce the formation of harmful components.
5. Try cooking seafood versus meats. They are known to have fewer HCAs.
6. Turn your meat frequently. According to the Nutrition Action letter, turning meat every minute, cuts the HCAs by 75-95% because the surface temperature stays lower.
7. Grill veggies! Veggie burgers or vegetables generate fewer to no HCAs. Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts may help the liver’s detoxification of HCAs (Nutrition Review 63).
Grilling can be a wonderful opportunity for sharing great foods, laughs and time together, so enjoy safely.