6 Ways to Have a Healthier Barbecue
Bring on the barbecue
And it's not an insignificant amount. One study found that people who consume well-done meat—grilled, barbecued, pan fried, or broiled—on a regular basis were 60% more likely to get pancreatic cancer. Longer cooking times might also increase the risk of stomach, lung, and breast cancer.
But you don't have to give up your burgers just yet. Read how to make grilling safer and follow our 6 tips to making safe grilled fare.
Related video: 5 Healthy Grilling Strategies
Use a marinade
Certain spices are packed with antioxidants that will help to eliminate HCAs in the grilling process. One study showed that adding spices, such as thyme, sage, and garlic, can reduce the amount of total HCAs by 60% compared to the control.
Rosemary may be especially potent. A recent study found that high concentrations of rosemary extracts may reduce HCAs by up to 90% in some cases. Get inspired by these marinated meals.
At your next barbecue, don’t forget beer and wine…for your marinade. We know red wine is full of antioxidants, and this can carry over in your marinades.
Marinating beef in red wine for six hours before grilling decreased the amount of carcinogens—40% fewer than in beef that wasn’t marinated—according to a study by the University of Porto in Portugal.
This same study found similar positive effects using beer, and participants gave the beer-marinated beef top marks for quality. Here’s a delicious red wine marinade, or try these beer-battered fish tacos.
Turn down the heat
Allow some extra time, and try to cook your meat below 325°F, which is the temperature at which HCAs begin to form.
To ensure that you’re meeting the minimum cooking temperatures, invest in a meat thermometer, and make sure your burgers have an internal temperature of 160°F. Here are other minimum cooking temperatures.
Precook food in the microwave
Less is more when it comes to marinating
Play it on the safe side by aiming to marinate your meat for no more than a few hours. Marinades don’t soak deep into the meat, so there’s not a lot of flavor advantage to an overnight marinade. And brushing a little extra sauce on the meat shortly before serving could give you an extra boost of antioxidants.