|Friday, September 17
Scientists at the American Institute of Cancer Research have found that cooking red meat at high temperatures creates compounds called heterocyclic amines, found to be powerful cancer-causing agents in animals.
In addition, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons develop when the fat from the meat drips on a flame or hot coals. When the food is cooked to a crisp, these compounds form on the meat. Studies show a strong association between cancer and meat, but not with poultry. Poultry and fish also can form cancerous compounds if crisply grilled, but have less fat content so the risk is less.
There are two things you can do so you can continue to enjoy that new grill. One is to reduce the amount of red meat you serve and add more fish and poultry to your menu. Consider meals like beef kabobs instead of 12-ounce steaks. Try turkey burgers or lean game meats on the grill. Be sure to keep the meat from direct contact with the flame.
Secondly, marinate meat to reduce your cancer risk. Studies have shown that marinating meat and poultry before cooking lowered heterocyclic amine formation by 94 percent. Marinades also add interesting flavor and tenderize the meat.
The marinade needs to have an ingredient that is acidic such as vinegar or lemon juice. Add flavorings and herbs to create a tasty combination. Oil is not necessary for the tenderizing process. Meat can be marinated for up to 24 hours, poultry and seafood only need a few hours. Even a quick dip in the marinade can reduce the cancer risk.
Here are some marinades to try at your next barbecue:
Basic All-American Marinade
Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Marinate beef, pork or poultry before grilling. Baste while cooking.
Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Good for beef, fish, poultry and pork.
Beef Burgundy Marinade
Combine all ingredients. Best on beef.