After a long week of travel, many of our clients like to fire up their grills on the weekends to have a relaxing barbecue meal with family and friends. Since grilling season is upon us, we’d like to remind you of some tips to help make your grilling experience a little safer.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), there is no clear research showing that grilling meats link to an increased cancer risk. However, cooking meats at high temperatures, as you do when grilling, can lead to two main types of potentially cancer-causing substances:
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), found in flames, can rise and adhere to meat on an open fire
- Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form in meat when animal proteins react to the intense heat of the grill.
Recently, the AICR highlighted 3 Grilling Guidelines that we’d like to share with you:
- Shorten grilling time: If you have a large portion of meat to grill, partially cook it in a microwave or oven first. Then immediately place the partially cooked meat on your preheated grill. You can also cut your portion of meat into smaller portions before grilling. Remember to avoid charring your meat as well-done meat contains the most HCAs.
- Trim the fat: Trimming the fat off of meat before placing it on the grill can reduce flame flare-ups and charring (trimming the fat also helps to keep calories and saturated fat intake controlled). Another tip is to cook meat in the center of the grill and flip the meat frequently.
- Grill vegetables instead of meats: A diet rich in plant foods is associated with a lower risk of cancers as well as heart disease. So, consider using your grill mainly for grilling vegetables of all different colors (and fruit too!) as these foods produce no HCAs. You can cook most vegetables on the grill (except for most leafy greens, cucumbers, celery and a few others!). Cut larger vegetables into smaller pieces and for smaller vegetables, use kabobs (you can also wrap vegetables in foil packets and then place on the grill). Coat the vegetables with oil or marinate them before putting them on the grill. Just keep a close eye on the vegetables as they grill since grilling times vary widely depending on the vegetables you choose.