Summertime Barbecue and Grilling FAQs
Q: I love to grill but hear that grilled meats can cause cancer. Is this true?
A: Grilling (cooking food quickly over very hot heat) in the summer is a quick, cool (yes, cool – grill is outside instead of a hot stove inside), and tasty method of cooking that provides a lot of variety in summer meats, fish and veggies. Yet, research shows that meat that is cooked at high temperatures can release heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs are the carcinogenic chemicals formed from cooking meat.
Q: Can I reduce the amount of HCAs when I grill?
A: Yes, you can barbecue instead of grilling the meat. Reduce the heat and increase the cooking time. Two, you can partially cook meat in the microwave to reduce the amount of time it is on the grill.
Q: To save money, I bought a less expensive steak to grill. How can I cook it so it’s juicy and tasty?
A: First, marinate, marinate, marinate. And, use tongs instead of piercing meat when turning. Third, if using salt do so only after the steak is cooked. These tips keep the natural juices in the meat. Steak cuts that are inexpensive and great for grilling are round steaks and sirloin tip. Juicer cuts that do not require a marinade are those that end in loin (like tenderloin, sirloin) as well as rib eye and T-bone steak.
Q: Okay, I’m sold – how do I marinate meats?
A: Marinating meat tenderizes and improves the flavor of all meat and fish. Find a marinade recipe with ingredients that appeal to you and toss beef, pork or chicken in the marinade – let it sit for 20 minutes or even overnight. Fish on the other hand begins to ‘cook’ with the marinade so its soaking time is no more than 20 minutes.
Also, if you enjoy basting your meat with the marinade, make up extra. Using the same marinade can cross contaminate bacteria on your meat. Keeping food poisoning at bay creates a fun day!
Lemon Rosemary Marinade
3-4 large lemons, squeezed
½ c. fresh rosemary
¼ c. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
5-6 garlic cloves,minced
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Wash lemons very well then cut in half to squeeze the juice. Toss all ingredients including the lemon halves into a large glass bowl. Add boneless chicken breasts or thighs and marinate for 4 hours or more.