Barbecue flavour – Without the health risk

June 16, 2009


A warm summer evening is often flavoured with the aroma of barbecued meat – or poisoned with the smoke from a burned steak. Barbecuing seems like a healthy way to eat meat, rather than frying or using oil, but there is a hidden danger when grilling meat and that is the presence of carcinogens known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH). They are the guys you can’t see, but you know their presence from the nice black stripes that they add to your meat.Meat contains fat, which is liquefied when heated and drips down into the barbecue. These fats then vaporize and release toxic gases that return into the meat above, and that you then absorb when you eat the meat. Cooked animal fats are known to be a cancer risk and unfortunately non organic meat also contains carcinogens such as hormone growth promoters, sodium nitrate as a preservative and MSG is added to barbecue mixes to enhance the flavour, and that can cause allergic reactions and headaches in some people.

Two things that can help you avoid this are to use a pan between the grill and the meat so the flames are never in contact with it – so get out that old camping frying pan – and as a bonus it won’t be so tough! Secondly, use a natural flavour enhancer instead of the MSG and there is a mix that will give your meat the authentic ‘blackened barbecue’ look. Mix together equal proportions of celery salt, dill, turmeric, cayenne pepper and paprika and smear the meat liberally with it before adding to the pan for a healthy, and delicious barbecue.


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