Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Dangers of Grilling

High-heat cooking methods such as grilling and broiling cause meat, poultry, and fish to form potentially carcinogenic chemicals, especially if charring occurs. In addition, when fat drips on hot coals (or any heat source), other possible carcinogens are formed and are deposited on the meat by the rising smoke and flames.

This doesn't mean that you should never eat barbecued meat--just not every day. , consider these steps to reduce the risks.

* Pick low-fat meats, or at least trim all visible fat, to reduce flare-ups.
* Marinate meats before grilling them. This can reduce the potential carcinogens by more than 90%. Use vinegar, vegetable oil, herbs, and spices.
* To reduce grilling time, particularly for thick cuts of meat, partially precook the meat (in the oven or microwave), then finish on the grill.
* Don't place the heat source directly under the meat. For instance, put coals slightly to the side so that fat doesn't drip on them.
* Place aluminum foil or a metal pan between the meat and the coals to catch the dripping fat.
* If dripping fat creates a lot of smoke, remove the meat briefly or reduce the heat.
* Don't use mesquite: this softwood produces very high heat.
* Scrape off charred parts of meat.


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