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  • Writer's pictureElissa Strassman

4 Tips to Get the Most Out of your Grilling Experience, for Flavor and for Health

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Fire up the grill, and let’s enjoy the outside-it’s grilling season!

What are some of the first things that come to mind when you think about grilling?

For me, grilling relates to summer, fun, outdoor eating, and YUM!

Aside from all of the above, grilling can be a low-fat cooking method. It can also offer some additional perks, like less clean up, and, a less hot kitchen in the summer too.

To get the most out of your grilling experience when it comes to flavor and for health, see some of the tips below:

  • Go lean with your protein.

  • Use a marinade or rub for outstanding flavor and texture.

  • Time it right: use a thermometer. Not only does this ensure you are cooking foods to a safe temp to kill bacteria, it also keeps you from overcooking your food, which could lead to a dry and not so sumptuous bite (click here for a guide).

  • Expand your horizons when it comes to what you grill- fruits and vegetables are all awesome too!

Now, some people may have heard that grilling causes cancer, here is what we know:

  • Cooking meat, fish and poultry, at high temperatures (over 300 degrees Fahrenheit), with methods such as grilling, broiling, charbroiling, pan frying, or cooking directly over a flame, can produce two types of substances that are linked to cancer: HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).

  • HCAs form when proteins in meat, fish, and poultry react to high heat and/or are cooked for a long period time.

  • PAHs form when fat drips off of meat, fish, and poultry and creates smoke or flare-ups. The smoke carries the PAHs up toward the food, where they can stick to the surface.

  • Fruits and Vegetables, when cooked at high temperatures, do not contain or form HCAs, and may help in lowering cancer risk.

But did you know, by following all the tips above, those cancer risks can be reduced?

In addition, the American Institute of Cancer Research also recommends the following things we can do:

  • Pre-cook meat in the microwave, oven or stove, so less time is needed on the grill, and there is less exposure to the flame.

  • Trim any visible fat to reduce flare-ups and charring.

  • Cut meat into smaller pieces to help shorten the cooking time.

  • Cook in the center of the grill and flip often.

  • Cook over a low flame, for this can help reduce the amount of HCAs and PAHs produced, and help keep burning and charring to a minimum.

  • Cut off any charred/burned portions of the meat before eating.

For more information on the science and recommendations for reducing cancer risk when grilling, as well as a guide to safe internal cooking temperatures see below.

Happy grilling!


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