If Carlsberg Did Fashion
Outdoor grilling is a popular cooking method, primarily because of the wonderful taste it imparts on meats. It can also be a healthy alternative to other cooking methods, because some of the meat’s saturated fat content is reduced by the grilling process. However, grilling also presents a health risk. Two separate types of carcinogenic compounds are produced by high-temperature grilling.
• heterocyclic amines (HCAs)
HCAs form when a meat is directly exposed to a flame or very high-temperature surface. The creatine-rich meat juices react with the heat to form various HCAs, including amino-imidazo- quinolines, amino-imidazo-quinoxalines, amino-imidazo-pyridines, and aminocarbolines. HCAs have been shown to cause DNA mutation, and may be a factor in the development of certain cancers.
• polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
PAHs form in smoke that’s produced when fat from the meat ignites or drips on the hot coals of the grill. Various PAHs present in the resulting smoke, including benzo[a]pyrene and dibenzo[a,h]anthracene, adhere to the outside surface of the grilled meat. PAH exposure is also believed to be linked to certain cancers.
HCA and PAH content in meats can be dramatically reduced by slight alterations in your grilling method. In particular, the following practices will reduce the amount of HCAs and PAHs formed:
• Select leaner meats
Leaner cuts of meat are less likely to drip fat on the grill and produce PAH-laden smoke
• Marinate meats before grilling
Researchers have determined that marinating meat prior to grilling, even for just a few minutes, can reduce HCA formation by 90% or more. It’s believed that the marinade forms a protective barrier for the meat juices that prevents the HCA reaction from occurring.
• Grill at lower temperatures
Lower temperature “roasting” also greatly reduces HCA formation.
• Prevent flare-ups
Flames from grill flare-ups cause the formation of both HCAs and PAHs. Keep an eye on your grill and turn meats frequently to minimize the chance of flare-ups.
• Don’t overcook meats
While it’s important to cook poultry and ground meats thoroughly, be careful not to overcook any meat. Well-done or burnt meats contain higher levels of HCAs than less cooked meats. For thicker cuts of meat, use a meat thermometer to measure doneness rather than just guessing.
• Food should be completely thawed before cooking.
• Soaking meat for several hours in a marinade will break down the cellular structure tenderizing the meat and reduce cooking time.
• Use tongs or spatula when turning meat instead of a fork. Some natural juices will be lost if meat is pierced.
• Use natural lean meats, trim excess fat from steaks, and remove skin from poultry. Trimming excess fats will also reduce the risk of flare ups.
• Add soaked wood chips to the bottom of the grill box for added flavour.
• Add seasoning and sauces after the meat has cooked as too much heat will weaken the spices.
• Avoid over cooking meats.
Cases of food poisoning in the UK almost double over the summer. The two major factors are undercooked meat and germs spreading from raw to cooked meat. Therefore it is extremely important to keep cooked and uncooked seperate and to cook properly.
Cook properly: Just because meat is charred on the outside doesn’t mean it’s cooked on the inside so ‘always‘ check the centre is hot and the juices are clear. In any case, if you can’t cook, what are you doing near the barbie in the first place!
Be hygenic: Wash your hands after touching raw meat to avoid contamination and use seperate surfaces and utensils for cooked and raw meat. Act as you would in your own kitchen, there’s no difference really. Keep all foods in the fridge until needed.
More interesting facts about the ‘barbie’
1. Marinated steaks are actually safer to eat than non-marinated steaks. Marinating reduces the amount of carcinogens from cooking at high temperatures.
2. The word ‘barbecue’ comes from a Taino word for ‘sacred fire pit’.
3. Singer and vegan activist Morrissey walked off the stage at Coachella because the concession stand’s barbecue smell made him feel sick.
4. The first McDonald’s was a barbecue restaurant.
5. People with vorarephilia are sexually aroused by the thought of being grilled and eaten.
6. You can add a smokier flavour to barbecue sauce with a shot of single malt scotch (but why waste it!).
7. The popular Korean dish Gopchang is barbecued pig intestines.
8. American President Lyndon Johnson had barbecues installed on the roof of the White House.
9. Barbecuing and outdoor eating is now the number one summer leisure activity enjoyed at home in the UK.
10. In the UK we get through 40,000 tonnes of barbecue charcoal every year.
Unlike the barbie which is brought out when the sun comes out, a wok is the essential utensil of Asian culinary fare. The extreme heat causes oils to smoke heavily and it is innevitable that the cook will inhale these fumes, and they are known to be dangerous and carcinogenic.
Some tips for using a wok responsibly:
• Stay well away from the smoke and try to avoid standing over wok as you might do using a frying pan.
• Ensure good ventilation. One way to disperse smoke is with fresh air running through the kitchen.
• If you have a kitchen fan or oven extractor hood – use it when cooking.
• Do not permit children in the kitchen when using the wok, for their future wellbeing.
• If you use the wok often, eat plenty of fruit so that you have a good supply of antioxidants to cleanse your new free radicals.