Grilling seasons is upon us. But did you know there are some health risks to grilling?
According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, grilling may increase the risks of certain cancers.
Jim Perko, Executive Chef at the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic Hospitals, has some tips to make grilling healthier and safer:
- Marinate first (with herbs if possible) and drain off excess marinade wellto reduce flames.
- Place products on cold racks at beginning of cooking to prevent char marks on the food.
- Use a cooker or barbecue grill where you can raise or lower the rack.
- Use a cooker with a cover and base vent to allow the control of the amount of oxygen that gets inside to control the flame or eliminate it.
- Turn foods frequently to prevent charring. Use long tongs, if necessary.
- Eliminate the use of salt-cured, smoked and nitrite-cured foods.
- Have an off-set fire to moderate heat by having a cooler area on the grill.
- Avoid charcoal briquettes that contain chemicals, and ignite with electric starter or chimney starter with newspaper – not lighter fluid.
- When barbecuing outdoors, arrange coals, preferable wood lump coals, in a pyramid shape over an electric charcoal lighter inside a cooker. Cooker needs to be equipped with a cover and vents that open and close on the sides or top of the cooker. This creates a pyramid effect for the most efficient retention of heat. Plug in electric lighter and once a flame is noticed in the coals, remove the electric lighter and restack the coals into a pyramid effect
- Once the coals turn white-hot, flatten and scatter them. For smoke flavor, add a few kindling pieces of water-soaked wood of your choice. Put the clean, cold barbecue rack into place and quickly put the well-drained marinated food on the cold rack. By this time, the wood should start to smoke and even possibly flame. Once all the food is on the rack, leave the grill cover open until the wood starts to flame. Once the wood ignites, close the cover and base vents completely. This will extinguish the flame and begin to smoke.
- Be Creative: A great way to include healthy grains with your barbecue is by combining them together. Add grilled vegetables to whole wheat pasta for grilled vegetable spaghetti, or with grains for a grilled vegetable farro, rice, or quinoa.