Hi, friends! This post is being republished from 2014, I always like going through old blog posts so I can find photos like this:
The funny part is we literally upgraded our grill to a gas grill last week, yep we’ve been rocking with that awesome coal grill since 2014. I will say that I loved our old grill, it did the job we wanted it too, but this new grill I can operate on my own without supervision, so that’s always a plus since I have a food blog and all. Although, I will say I never describe it like that ever. I know that I post 2-3 new recipes per a week, but I still consider a lifestyle blog. Mostly because I hardly ever talk about the recipe I posted. #easilydistracted
Today I’m going to try and stay on topic for ten seconds. Let’s talk about heterocyclic amines (HCAs) or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). I know, right. You are like hetero-o-ah-poly what? Girl, I feel you. Here is what you need to know, these are potentially carcinogenic compounds created when meat (and chicken or fish) is cooked using a high-temperature method such as pan frying or over an open flame (see above for clarification of open flame). What does potentially carcinogenic mean? It basically means that researchers suspect a link based on animal studies and population studies, but nothing has been proven yet. Since I wrote this post in 2014, there has been a significant influx of research continuing to suggest potential negative impacts on our health. (More Info). Lucky for us there are a few easy ways to reduce their formation and your exposure to them to these harmful compounds.
10 Healthy Grilling Tips
- Choose lean cuts of meats, chicken, and fish. The PAHs and HACs are created when the fat drips onto the flames.
- Trim excess fat and skin from meat and chicken. See above.
- Marinate meat in mixtures of oil, vinegar, herbs, spices and even beer! This reduces the formation of carcinogenic compounds.
- Pre-cook meat/ thaw in the microwave instead of on the grill to reduce the amount of time it is grilled for.
- For meats or chicken, cut into smaller cubes so that it will cook faster.
- Flip meat very frequently.
- Avoid exposure to flames by placing items over tin foil.
- Remove charred pieces of meat and avoid using drippings for gravy.
- Grill veggies to add cancer-fighting phytochemicals (veggies don’t form HCAs or PAHs)–> like the grilled Brussels Sprouts below!
- Clean the grill in between use.
- Chemicals Cooked in High Temperatures and Cancer Risk (National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet)