As the summer begins, the BBQ season rises in parallel. Statistics say that around 180 million Americans have a grill sitting in their yard, whether it’s gas or charcoal grill.
Of course grilling food is supposed to be healthier, it helps reduce fat in our food, not like other cooking methods like frying for example. There are many styles of BBQ. But unfortunately, some of them are associated with some unhealthy practices that expose you to carcinogenic chemicals, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or “PAHs”. So, here are some tips to help you enjoy delicious yet healthy BBQ.
Choosing your grill
It’s pretty much the 1st step in the BBQ process, so it’s our 1st tip.
The grill type plays a huge part. Some of them are healthier than others, but first things first.
Smoking is that BBQ style when you slowly cook meat in low temperatures for a long time, that is the most dangerous style and grill type of all! You basically expose the meat to more PAHs for a longer period of time. I know it tastes good, but your health is more important.
What about charcoal and gas grills?
Charcoal grills also can be dangerous. When the drippings hit the hot charcoal, it produces smoke with lots of PAHs deposited into the meat, let alone the flying ashes.
As for gas grills, they’re a bit healthier, because they produce less smoke. Fortunately, there are some methods to reduce the dangerous effects of smoke for both charcoal and gas grills.
- Foil the meat to protect it from the smoke and flying ashes.
- Use this 2-zones grilling technique to prevent drippings from hitting the charcoal.
Maybe infrared grills?
Infrared grilling technology is a relatively new type of grills that use infrared radiation to cook the food directly. But is it safe? The answer is yes.
According to Gary Zeman, a spokesman for the Health Physics Society, There is no link between infrared cooking and cancer.
Infrared grills produce tense heat that cooks faster than other grills types, which means less cooking time, hence fewer PAHs. But for more protections, use the same foil and 2-zones technique.
Use natural alternatives for bugs repelling.
Backyard bugs sure are annoying, but using chemical sprays to repel them could be more harmful. Instead, consider using garden plants natural repellant like Lavender, Basil, and Mint. Here’s a list of 11 garden plants that repel bugs naturally.
Also, try to avoid grilling at dusk and dawn when flying bugs are most active.
Choose what you cook carefully.
Well, now we choose the grill and repel the yard bugs, now what to cook?
Avoid processed meat
Processed meat is meat that has been modified (salted, smoked, cured, canned, etc.) like Bacon, Sausage, hot dogs, Salami, and more.
It’s known for decades that processed meat isn’t good for health. But in 2015, processed meat has been officially classified as carcinogenic products by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Choose a healthy sauce.
The packaged BBQ sauces, mayonnaise, and ketchup most probably contain too much sugar, not to mention the other ingredients. Try to replace them with naturally made sauces, dig around and you’ll find many of them in supermarkets or even on Amazon.
Cook smaller cuts of meat, more chicken and fish.
Choosing smaller cuts of meat and chicken breasts means less cooking time. Also, trimming any visible fat helps reduce fat drippings and smoke, which is healthier as we’ve established.
As for fish, it’s one of the main providers of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are required for health, vitality, and energy.
Go for more veggies and fruit.
Grilling peppers, mushrooms, and corn help you focus off the meat, add more nutrients to your meal. Remember when I told you about PAHs? Well, another good thing about grilling veggies and fruit is that it doesn’t form PAHs.
Clean your grill
Regularly cleaning your grill before cooking is important to remove any stuck or burnt food from the last BBQ. If you let these stuck bits, they will burn more and produce more smoke which we’re trying to reduce as much as we can.
Having a BBQ is great and tasty, but choosing what you cook and what grill you cook is essential for you and your family health, try to apply as much as you can from these tips to enjoy a light and healthy summer.