Healthy Cooking with Your Propane Grill
There are many fun things to do over the summer. One of the most popular—and easiest—activities is firing up your backyard propane grill and cooking perennial favorites like hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs, ribs, pork chops and steaks. But the question is, can you make your grilled meals as healthy as they are delicious?
You can, if you follow a few simple guidelines for cooking healthy on your propane grill. This includes making sure your meat is cooked to a safe temperature. Cook your meat long enough to reach its healthy internal temperature but not longer than that. Keep in mind that smaller portions such as skewered meats cook faster and spend less time on the grill.
You will also want to avoid conditions that can produce cancer-causing Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH).
HCAs and PAHs form when you bring together high heat and fatty meat, which happens quite often when grilling. The good news is you can virtually eliminate HCA and PAH formation by following these five simple guidelines:
- Use leaner meats – Choosing leaner cuts of beef or pork or skinless chicken will get you started on the right foot.
- Pass the fruits and veggies – PAHs and HCAs don’t form on grilled fruits and vegetables, so try adding tomatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, pineapple, mango and even apples to your grilled meal.
- Marinade with olive oil and mint-family herbs – What you put on your meat or fish when you cook it can reduce the formation of HCAs by more than 90 percent. Olive oil is one of the strongest anti-HCA agents; use it liberally. Lamiaceae (mint) family herbs such as basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage can also reduce HCA formation dramatically.
- Marinate meats and poultry for at least 1-2 hours, and fish and vegetables for about an hour to get maximum PAH/HCA prevention benefits.
- Flip food frequently – Flipping frequently helps avoid charring and reduces HCA production.
Are you still cooking on a charcoal grill? Now is the perfect time to make the switch to the precision-temperature control and convenience of a propane grill. Contact your local propane dealer for some suggestions.