When the weather turns warm, grills across America light up. And, though grilling means cooking without the fat, it adds another health hazard – the formation of cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) when cooking meat at high temperatures.
However, you can still enjoy your grilled hamburger or turkey burger this summer safely when you minimize the formation of HCAs. To do so, marinade your meat in herbs or add fresh herbs, chopped onions or minced garlic to your turkey or hamburger patties. Aside from lending flavor, all of these will cut down on the formation of HCAs.
Next, microwave your meat for just 2 minutes prior to broiling or grilling to decrease the formation of these compounds by 90%. Pour off the liquid formed during microwaving and you’ll decrease HCAs even more.
Also consider wrapping your meat in foil. Lastly, remember slow and low is the best way to go! Cook your meat slowly at a lower temperature for a longer period of time or microwave it first and then put it on the grill so you get those characteristic grill marks on your burger! Whatever you do, avoid cooking meat until it is well done or charred.
Think outside the flavor box and try a marinade made of one or more of the following: oregano, red chili pepper, garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, and thyme.
Healthy Grilling Recipes
Need some ideas for healthy grilling recipes? Here are a few great links to check out:
Eating Well's Ultimate Grilling Guide - http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/grilling
Allrecipes.com (one of my favorite recipe sites) Healthy BBQ & Grilling Recipes - http://allrecipes.com/recipes/healthy-recipes/bbq--grilling/main.aspx
Food Network Healthy Grilling and Summer Recipes - http://www.foodnetwork.com/grilling-central-healthy/package/index.html
Be safe and have fun grilling and eating your favorite barbecue meals this summer! Have a favorite recipe? Share it here!