Since summer is here, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about grilling and how to do it safely. Every spring, our cooking teacher Pamela reminds us in class about how dangerous grilling can be and shares some tips on how to minimize its negative effects. Below are some important tips and facts from her blog and a couple of my favorite grilling recipes.
When you grill animal protein, two chemical groups are formed that are associated with breast, pancreatic and colon cancers. The first are Heterocyclic Amines - HCA’s - which are formed when meat or protein is subjected to high heat or flames. Second, when hot fat hits the heat source, smoke causes the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - PAH’s - which also end up on your grilled meat. But that’s not all - the person doing the grilling is also subjecting himself to breathing in all that toxic smoke.
No matter how many facts I give you about the negative consequences of grilling, I know you’re going to do it anyway. So I feel obligated to arm you with some information that can at least help you prevent many of carcinogens from forming so that you can grill more safely and responsibly.
-Cook at medium or low heat, instead of high.
- -Get liquored up. Using a marinade, which contains wine, beer, vinegar, pomegranate or citrus juice, such as lemon, has been shown to be effective at reducing HCA formation.
- -Garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme all contain cancer-fighters that reduce harmful chemicals formed with high heat.
- -Add cherries, blueberries or Vitamin E to your ground meat.
- -Use an untreated cedar plank for fish. It’s always good to have a buffer.
- -Bigger is NOT better. Grill thinner cuts of meat to reduce cooking time or grill meats until rare, rather than well-done.
- -Choose grass-fed meats, which provide extra cancer-fighting Vitamin E, Conjugated Linoleic Acid, and Omega-3 fats while being lower in inflammatory Omega-6 fats.
- -Trim excess fat from meats before grilling.
- -Use a gas grill with lava rocks instead of charcoal.
- -Never eat charred or blackened meat.
- -Cook half on the grill and finish in the oven or vice-versa.
- -Eat foods rich in antioxidants with your grilled meats, like vegetables!
- So with those warnings in mind, I want to share my two favorite recipes from Pamela for a great summer dinner – Chopped Grilled Vegetable Salad and Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs with Chimichurri Sauce. XXJKE