This weekend is the unofficial start of summer. Even though this Memorial Day we will be at our daughter’s wedding, my wife Jan and I love this kickoff-for-summer weekend. First of all, it reminds us to take time to remember those who have served and sacrificed to defend our nation. And, as it is for all of you, part of that honoring has traditionally brought us together on outdoor decks and patios to reconnect with family and friends—and enjoy food on the barbecue.
Safe Grilling Tips
While grilling is a great, healthy way to enjoy your food -- there is a right and wrong way to grill. As many of you know by now, safe grilling tips should include limiting—or better yet eliminating—charcoal grilling. That’s because charcoal releases carcinogenic agents, called PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (heterocyclic amines), as fat drips off the meat and onto charcoal.
But even with a gas grill, you can end up with advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in your food that act like harmful free radicals in your body, creating oxidative stress and resulting in premature aging. With that, here are my 6 safe grilling tips:
1) Grilling Tip #1: Before cooking, make sure you remove all food particles on your grill so you avoid eating any burned skin or fat.
2) Grilling Tip #2: Partially cooking your meats before putting them on the grill helps to reduce the time they are exposed to the high heat.
3) Grilling Tip #3: Piercing your meat with a fork results in juices and fat falling on the flame creating flare-ups that can cause carcinogens to form.
4) Grilling Tip #4: Marinades that contain vinegar or lemon juice help to speed up cooking and reduce the amount of time your meat spends on the grill. Plus, a marinade consisting of 10% plain soy sauce and 1% sugar has been found to cut the production of COPs (carcinogenic compounds) by more than 60%.
5) Grilling Tip #5: Place the chicken bone side down to ensure that the bone, not the meat, absorbs a lot of the heat from the grill. Just take the chicken meat off the bone, and remove the skin (which protects it from the high heat) before eating.
6) Grilling Tip #6: Some foods, like fish, can fall apart on the grill so you may be tempted to use foil. But beware. Just like cooking with aluminum cookware, foil can leach aluminum into your food and contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s. Instead of using foil, I cook fish skin side down and peel the meat off before serving.
Now It's Your Turn: What are your favorite healthy grilling tips?
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