Many of us love grilled and barbecue food but how many of us know that these grilled foods if not prepared properly can be evil for your health? Despite of the reputation that grill food has developed of being healthy, advance research has revealed that grilled food cannot be supposed to be healthy at all times. This doesn’t mean that if you are a grill lover, you might have to abandon food at all. Here we have outlined some tips for making grilled food healthier. If you are grilling your food on a gas grill properly by taking care of all these tips and warnings, you can enjoy a delicious meal each time you grill which is at the same time safe and risk-free.
Tips for making Grilled Food Healthier
- Marinating meat is important: According to researchers of Kansas State University, marinating meat prior to cooking will help in reduction of carcinogens that are harmful for health. The research was conduction over three different mixtures marinated on steaks with oil, herbs, vinegar and spices. When these marinated steaks were grilled, the carcinogens were reduced from 57 to 88%. Reason to why this happens is not much clear but many studies have confirmed this effect that marinating meat appears to become a protection between heat of grill and proteins of meat.
- Keep your grill clean: In order to ensure food safety, make sure that your grill is clean. It is best practice to clean your grill with brush before and after each use. Scrubbing is recommended as it prevents from accumulation and building up of residue left on the cooking grates and you will get much tastier and healthier food each time.
- Correct flips: You surely wouldn’t like eating a burnt meal. In the efforts of avoiding burning, you may rip your meat apart with frequent flipping. Just give your meat a gentle tug and flip when you think that one side is done. Don’t pull it off or it will rip apart.
- Avoid Flare-Ups: Flare-ups can be dangerous and you must avoid them. If you are cooking a fat thick piece of meat, the excess fat drips on flames that produce smoke and this smoke may have carcinogens which are harmful. Also for lean meats, fish and other such items, you have less fat that gives less smoke and less carcinogens and less harm. So avoid thick excess fat.
- Avoid burning: When you overcook or burn your meat, it doesn’t only taste bad but is also harmful as it contains more cancer-causing particles. Do not overheat your gas grill and do not directly cook meat over high flame. Overheating may cause some parts of your meat to turn black and these parts may have carcinogens. Get rid of all the black portions of your meat before taking it.
- Get rid of E.coli common bacteria: In order to get rid of E.coli bacteria in burgers, it is recommended that ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees. If you wish to have medium-rare, beef should be grinded and then immediately cooked. For all the store bought meat, it is recommended to flip the burgers frequently. Optimal flipping time is after every 30 seconds as recommended in a study in Journal of Food Protection. Even if you are cooking at 160 degrees and have flipped one side of the burger more quickly, the side is like to have more of the E.coli bacteria. So make sure that you cook evenly on both sides of your burger.
- Maintain grill well for even heating: Different grills offer different temperatures setting throughout. Some spots may have higher temperature and some may be cooler. You must maintain your grill well in order to keep certain places from becoming overheated in comparison to others cooler. If in case your grill gets a flare-up, remove the food quickly and place it to a cooler area and wait till the fire dies.
- Meat sizes: Sizes play an important role when you are grilling your meat. For quicker cooking, you can cut meat in to small portions and cubes. For fish, shrimps and other quickly cooked meat, you can choose quick cooking option on your grill.
- Over and longer duration cooking is dangerous: Shorter the cooking time, the best it is for your health. When you quickly cook the food, it has fewer tendencies to gain charring which is dangerous. Check for ideal cooking temperatures of your food and do not cook beyond it. Optimal cooking temperatures:
- Ground poultry – 165 degrees.
- Red meat (steaks and chops) – 145 degrees.
- Red meats and mixtures – 160 degrees.
- Try grilling fruits and veggies: Grilling is not all about meat, you can also go beyond the genre. Try some unexpected good items like asparagus, bread, peaches etc. You can even try cooking a pizza or a rich desert and other fruits and veggies as side dish to go along with your food.
With these tips you can enjoy a grilled healthy food. Avoid overcooking, charring and burnt food as it could be really harmful for your stomach. Quick cooking is always great, avoid overheating. Make sure all the excess fat is removed from your meat as you begin to grill. You can even prevent flare-ups with simple tips like using aluminum foil that keeps dripping from falling on flame and can keep a squirt bottle handy if incase flare-ups happen. Follow these simple rules and step outside to enjoy beautiful weather and have a healthy and safe grilling experience each time with flavor.