Safer grilling

It’s BBQ season and I love char-grilled meat as much as anyone. But barbequed meat has long been linked to health risks. So here are a few simple tricks from the New York Times can help you avoid the health worries and still enjoy backyard cooking.

The problem with grilling is that it creates two types of risky chemical reactions. Fat drippings create smoke that is filled with carcinogenic particles. When the smoke envelopes the food, it transfers those particles onto the surface of the meat. And when meat, chicken and fish are grilled at high temperatures for long periods of time, compounds inside the food react and create other toxic substances.

Here are four simple steps to make grilled meat safer.

1. Pre-cook in the microwave. By pre-cooking meat a little, you reduce the amount of time it sits on the grill. Microwaving also releases certain compounds so they won’t react on the grill. Just one minute of microwaving a burger before you put it on the grill will do it.

2. Go heavy on the marinades. Marinades don’t just make food taste good. Studies show using a marinade helps blunt the heat so fewer toxic compounds are formed.

3. Add broccoli. Consuming cruciferous vegetables like broccoli changes the way the body metabolizes certain chemicals associated with grilling.

4. Avoid well-done meats. Numerous studies have linked well-done meat with various health problems. Tell the chef you want it medium or rare.

I hate to be a killjoy, but why not take a few simple steps to reduce cancer-causing compounds in our food?

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