Safe Grilling for Summer

Photo: Another Pint Please When summer finally settles in, no on wants to be stuck inside slaving over a hot stove. However, the popularity of grilling outdoors has recently suffered a backlash due to recent research revealing that foods cooked over a hot grill may become contaminated with carcinogens. This doesn't mean you have to give up barbecue forever. Follow these four tips to minimize carcinogenic agents and enjoy grilled foods that are delicious and safe.

Photo: dkjd

Clean the grill. Scrub your grill with a brush designated for cleaning the gunk off of grill gates. This will ensure that you do not get any left over food particles that might contain toxins and enhance the flavor of your sustenance.

Marinate your meat. When Kansas State University researchers marinated steak and grilled it on a gas grill, they found a 57 to 88 percent reduction in carcinogens. The reason this method works so well to protect foods that are exposed to open fire is unclear. The theory is that marinating foods before they are put on the grill forms a protective barrier between the surface of the meat and the heat from the grill. Another way to reduce the risk associated with charred meats is to use fats like grapeseed or canola oil that can be heated to a high temperature without smoking.

Keep grilling time to a minimum. Keep toxins at bay by cooking foods fast on the grill. Do this by slicing meats into cubes for Shish Kebabs or choosing options that do not require a long cooking time, such as fish, shrimp, or vegetables.

Work the grill. Knowing which foods need direct or indirect heat is crucial for ensuring that all meats are cooked to a safe temperature and that carcinogens do not form in or around them. Direct heat means putting the fare directly over the heat source, in this case the fire. Indirect heat is when food is placed away from the flames. Use the first method to cook large pieces of meat, or when you want to create a sear. Apply the second technique when preparing foods that require a long cooking time.

For more stories by Tawnya Manion:

Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Healthy Bones for a Young Life

Keep Your Brain in Tip Top Shape

The Best Foods for Beautiful Skin