|Learning how to grill safely (and I’m not talking salmonella) will keep you healthier in the long term.
Do you ever have things that you’d like to be good at but can’t be bothered to try?
That’s my relationship with the barbecue. I would like to be good at grilling because I love the taste and the very idea of food cooked outside over a flame. Even better, a propane barbecue is more eco-friendly than the oven and there’s a lot to be said for getting out of the kitchen on a hot summer day.
Still the kitchen is my cooking comfort zone although I know I’m in the minority as grilling becomes more and more popular and gas barbecues get more elaborate, Green Eggs get more prevalent and even smokers can be found at Canadian Tire.
Whether you grill a lot or a little, learning how to grill safely (and I’m not talking salmonella) will keep you healthier in the long term.
Here’s something to think about as you slice into your steak:
Grilling meats at high temperatures creates compounds that have been linked to a number of cancers. These heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form in the charred bits on food and also in the fatty juices on your meat. Other carcinogens (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs) form in the fatty smoke from flare ups and attach themselves to your food.
Of course this all becomes more of a worry if you eat a lot of barbecued food. As well, grilling processed meats like hotdogs and sausages is even more of a concern since there are already carcinogens in these foods.
9 Tips for Healthy Green Grilling:
- Grill more fish, lean chicken, vegetables and fruit. Fish and lean chicken cooks more quickly and at lower temperatures. Grilled vegetables and fruit let you enjoy the barbecue flavour without the worry.
- Choose lean red meat and remove fatty bits from meat before it goes on the grill, choose smaller cuts of red meat that will cook more quickly or make kabobs and cook your red meat slowly at lower temperatures.
- Vinegar and lemon-based marinades help inhibit the development of HCA’s.
- Partially cooking your meat before it goes in the grill will mean that it will spend less time over the flame but will still give you that great barbecue flavour.
- Try cooking chicken on indirect heat. It’s a bit like using your barbecue like an oven and ensures that drippings don’t fall on flames so don’t create smoke.
- Choose ceramic coated or stainless steel grill baskets instead of Teflon coated grilling accessories since Teflon comes with a whole other set of worries when exposed to high temperatures.
- Keep your grill clean so old grease doesn’t cause flare ups and keep a spray bottle handy to douse any flames.
- If you like to barbecue with charcoal buy natural wood briquettes that state they’re free of free of coal, fillers and chemicals.
- And finally, don’t forget to turn off the gas when you’re finished cooking.