Monday, November 06, 2006

8 Tips for Barbecue Without Carcinogens

I enjoy barbecue very much, and grilled meat is my favorite dish!

Respectful institutes reported the presence of carcinogenic chemicals in grilled, fried or barbecued muscle meat such as beef, pork, poultry and fish. These chemicals are either amino acid related- the Hetero Cyclic Amines( HCAs) , or hydrocarbon related- Poly Cyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).

These chemicals are not present in uncooked meat, yet cooking it at high temperature ( higher than 160 F ) may increase the risk of producing them, e.g.
# HCAs are formed when amino acids- the building bricks of proteins - react with creatine - a chemical found in muscles- at high temperatures.
# PAHs are formed when the fat drips on hot coal or stones, charred and turned intosmoke that penetrates meat. The same smoke is present in cigarette smoke as well.

Formation of HCAs and PAHs depends on type of food, temperature, cooking method and time of cooking. They are known to be mutagenic, that is, they produce damage in DNA, and are listed as reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.

To reduce 90% of formation of these carcinogens during barbecue, you should consider 2 aspects :1- Your meat, and 2- Your fire to barbecue it.

MEAT :
1- Select lean cuts - look for loin on the table - and reduce portion size.
2- Do cut the fats, trim excess fa from meat and minimize fats and oils in marinades.
3- Soak the Meat in Lemon Juice and Vinegar for 20-30 minutes in the fridge. It will help tenderizing it, as well as it will imparts a great taste ( for more of that, we - in Egypt - add chopped onions to the mix.
4- Spray water- or Lemon juice- on the meat while barbecuing.
5- According to scientists from Michigan state -US- , addition of Cherry tissues to the beef substantially reduces formation of HCAs.

FIRE :
1- Light the barbecue in advance. Use enough charcoal and wait till charcoal are white and glowing red before you start cooking.
2- Only use non-toxic firelighters to taste the meat and not the fuel.
3- Find out the correct cooking time for all your food. Make sure that chicken is cooked through, there are no pink bits inside and the juice runs clear. Make sure meats are thoroughly cooked and piping hot.

Enjoy!

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