Healthy eating is apparently a fluid concept. One day something is good for you, and the next day is bad. Perhaps it is because people have a tendency to see things in black or white, when there are plenty of shades of gray when it comes to the science of cooking. Even scientists are just beginning to understand how the body processes food, and how cooking methods affect food processing. Grilling, the oldest cooking method, should be healthier than modern methods are, but is it? Before you decide to buy that boss grill from Sam’s Club, you should find out a little bit more about what your barbecue may be doing to your body.
Burnt is bad, very burnt is worse
Nothing beats the taste of smoked, generously charred meat. However, you may just have to settle for something a little less flavorful. The smoke that gives the meat so much flavor is actually laden with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the burnt fat, and the lovely char on the meat itself is redolent with heterocyclic amines. In caveman terms, these represent colorectal cancer on a stick. If you want the taste but not the cancer, choose meat with just a little fat, and grill your meat just enough to cook it through but not burnt. If you like your meat well done, wrap it in tinfoil to keep the oil from dripping into the meat, Once it’s cooked, you can grill it for a minute or so to get some color in.
Marinate it to save it
There is a way to have your barbecue and eat it too, though. All you have to do is to soak it in a garlic-rosemary-honey based marinade to cut down on the creation of carcinogenic substances. Scientists think that this is because the marinade adds more moisture but less stickiness, which keeps the bad stuff from latching on to your steak. The rosemary and honey also helps.
Grilling is no worse than any other method
The funny thing is these carcinogens form on cooked meat no matter what high-heat cooking method you use. It is just that you expect your meat to burn on a grill but not on a frying pan, so the tendency is to zero in on grilling as the villain in this piece. Go ahead then; buy the grill.
The rule of thumb for cooking meat in a healthy way is to avoid cooking it for too long over high, dry heat, and to avoid burning the fat. If you really want healthy, boil or bake your meat.