What we are looking to avoid are chemicals that are caused when meats are cooked at high temperatures. A BBQ’s average temperature at high heat is between 450 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. At those temperatures two carcinogens, HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), are created, and these chemicals can cause changes to DNA and ultimately lead to cancer.
1. Start with a clean grill. When you are done cooking and before you get started on the next meal, scrape down the racks to get rid of the carcinogenic residue that can stick between the cracks. Otherwise you might be inadvertently transferring the chemicals to your next feast.
2. Choose leaner meats, and trim off the fat. This reduces the flames when fat hits the coals or propane, reducing heat and carcinogens.
3. Cut your meat into smaller pieces and make kebabs. This will decrease grill time and flare ups from flames. Fish is also a great option as it cooks much quicker.
4. Marinate your meat. It only takes as little as 30 minutes to do the trick and the moisture will reduce the HCAs from 57-88% depending on the type of marinade. Caribbean being the best: orange, lime and jerk spices.
5. Lay out a sheet of tin foil on the grill (with holes to let the juices out). This will protect the meat from getting charred. But please don’t re-use the sheet as this will lead to another pile of problems.
6. Try not to overcook. Sometimes your carefully planned Caribbean kebabs will get overdone and the meat will be “charbroiled”. In this case, just trim off the black part, and the next time turn the heat down and flip more often.