barbecue-meats
food poisoninig

Easy Steps to Healthy Grilling

Everyone loves summertime cookouts and barbecues. But even the best outdoor feast can be marred by unsafe food practices. Here, from the Harvard Health Letter blog, are some tips on having a great, safe cookout:

Start with a clean slate. The Harvard experts recommend that you use a wire brush to give the grill a good cleaning. Then you should wipe down the grill with a cloth or paper towels to make sure that a stray brush bristle doesn’t get into your food.

Protect against serious health hazards. The Harvard experts say that exposing protein-rich meat, poultry and fish to high head and open flames, “creates heterocyclic amines.” And when fat drips on the grill, “the resulting smoke contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.” The Harvard experts say that these two groups of chemicals are linked to cancers. Lessen the risk they say, by lining the grill with perforated foil; cooking for longer at lower temperatures; and have a spray bottle to control flareups of fat.

Marinate.  Doing this before cooking limits the formation of potential carcinogens while grilling, the Harvard experts say. Use low-sodium marinades.

Don’t cook only meat. The Harvard experts say that grilling does for fruit and vegetables what it does for meat – intensifies the flavor. Try kebabs that alternate vegetables and meat. You can even omit meat with grilled eggplant or portabella mushrooms.

Play it safe. Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods. Don’t guess at internal temperature of grilled food; use a food thermometer. Keep food chilled before cooking. Use clean plates for cooled food, not the plates that held them before cooking . The USDA offers other tips for keeping food safe.

For more information on health issues, and to buy publications from Harvard Health Publications, click here.

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