The sun has finally returned so thoughts are naturally turning to eating and cooking al fresco, but as you start to clean off the BBQ with excitement that summer is on its way, does the reality of blackened chunks of meat accompanied by boring salads consisting of limp lettuce and maybe a few slithers of cucumber and tomato, dampen your enthusiasm?
While getting the right recipes to impress your guests is important, there are a few things to keep in mind before firing up the BBQ. When fish, poultry or meat are cooked at high temperatures or over direct flames, the proteins and fats in the meat can react with the heat to form cancer-causing compounds, which remain on the surface of the meat.
Here are a few tips to keep your BBQ tasty but more importantly, safe this summer.
Choosing your meat:
Choose lean, well-trimmed cuts to avoid flare ups.
Adjust the burners on your gas grill or position your charcoal to create a “cool zone,” so you can quickly move meats away from the flames if you do have a flare up.
Precook your meat, fish or poultry in the oven then finish them on the BBQ – this is especially helpful for thicker meat, burgers, or whole chicken breasts, which often get over-charred on the surface before the centre is done. Precooking also dramatically reduces the formation of carcinogens on grilled meats.
Using a marinade or spice rub adds flavour tenderises the meat, but more importantly marinating meat for even 30 minutes helps to reduces the formation of harmful compounds by up to 90%! Rubbing dry spices like black pepper, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder or paprika to your meat can similarly block the formation of these substances.
Now we’ve learnt the dangers of overcooking, take a look at my recipe section to ensure you impress your guests with mouth-watering dishes worth serving up!!
Here are a few to get you started