Ok- really? That is a crazy question! We live in Texas where it is 90 in December. Of course we grill! Here is the thing though- you have to do it right or it is a recipe for disaster. Why is that?
A little thing called HCA’S or Heterocyclic Amines. These are a group of compounds that form when proteins, sugars and creatine in meat react at high temperatures. This occurs when we cook meats at 400 degrees and above. When heated, these compounds combine to form a potentially dangerous reaction that can lead to cancer, increase oxidative stress in the body and they may even be neurotoxic.
Talk about killing the party atmosphere Dana! But wait- I do have some tips to save the outdoor barbeque and make your body happy and healthy.
- Apply vitamin E directly to your meat- ground or larger cuts. Hint- grass fed beef is four times higher in vitamin E so quality does count.
- Marinate your meat prior to cooking with herbs, spices and aromatics. You can make a marinade or a dry rub. Make sure not to use a tomato based barbeque sauce to marinade as it doesn’t help decrease HCA’s. You can put it on after.
- Use Dark Beer as a marinade- this results in 90% les HCA’s.
- Cook meats at temps lower than 400 degrees, mound charcoal off to one side, flip meat frequently and cut off black char.
- Last- pair your meat with the right guest! Fermented foods like sauerkraut or Kimchi are good due to the fermentation/good bacteria present. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and brussel sprouts all contain compounds that inhibit the toxicity of HCA’s. Green tea, red wine, blackberries, red grapes, watermelon and spinach have all shown to reduce the toxicity of HCA’s
This piece was adapted from the original article found in the Natural Grocers monthly flyer titled Master the Art of Healthy Grilling by Heather Pratt MNT and Lindsay Wilson. Checkout Natural Grocers on West 7th in Ft worth, Tx.