I grill almost every single piece of meat that enters my body. LOVE grilled meats! But I have to admit that unless done right it’s not the healthiest way to prepare meats.
Heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other not-so-good chemicals are produced when we grill at high temperatures. When our meats get that tasty-good blackened/charred look that is just not ideal. The smoke that occurs from juices and marinades dripping on the flames/coals also not good.
However, there are ways to reduce risk and make grilling meats healthier:
- Partially cook the meat (microwave or bake) before you grill it so it’s grilled for a shorter time
- Turn the meat frequently so it doesn’t get charred/blackened
- Marinades with vinegar and lemon “protect” the meat. Sugar-based marinades that increase charring – not so good and should be used at the last stage so it doesn’t char/blacken.
- Use smaller/thinner cuts so they cook quicker
- Choose leaner cuts of meat – the less fat the less smoke
- Cook completely but at a lower grill temperature
The risks associated with grilling meats are not the same for grilling veggies or fruits – or so it’s believed currently. So feel free to grill your veggies or fruits.
I also believe that carcinogen/cancer risks associated with grilling are almost the LEAST of our worries. Don’t stand outside in the sun for 2 hours grilling with no sunblock! Don’t smoke a cigarette while worrying about charred meat. Try to refrain from chugging down a full case of beer while grilling. When you get done grilling your meat avoid the condiments and garnishes with 376 ingredients per container. In other words – don’t be a one-health hit wonder. “I grill my meats the proper way …. but I drink like a fish, slather my burger in fat-free mayo, I got sunburned all to heck, pass the cheese, white buns and are the french fries done yet? … that’s healthy right?”
Feel free to Google your heart out on this subject. You’ll find a lot out there but what I have above is a nice cliff-notes summary of what you’ll find.