and gentlemen, start your grills. It’s June — the
(unofficial) start of barbecue season. And as you maneuver
this meaty course, stay alert for these flags along the way:
it fresh. Always refrigerate fresh ground meat and poultry and
cook it within one or two days, advises Tina Hanes with the
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Steaks,
roasts, and chops can be stored safely in the refrigerator for
up to five days if the temperature is maintained at less than
40 degrees F.
it cool. NEVER leave raw meat, poultry, or any perishable food
at room temperature for more than two hours. And if the
thermometer hits 90F or above, the margin of safety goes down
to one hour, says FSIS.
Marinate it. Soak beef, pork, fish, and poultry in beer, wine,
tea or other marinade mixtures for at least 30 minutes before
grilling, say experts. Marinade can significantly reduce the
formation of "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons" (PAH’s)
— potential cancer-causing substances formed when meat,
poultry and fish are cooked at high temperatures.
down the heat. Meat, fish and poultry cooked over high heat
(especially above 300F) or in flames caused by fat dripping
over a fire can also create "heterocyclic amines"
(HCA’s). While the effect of these substances in humans is
unclear, high doses are linked to cancer in animals, according
to the National Cancer Institute. Barbecuers can reduce the
formation of these substances by not cooking meat to death or
partially cooking it at a lower temperature (such as in
microwave) before throwing it on the grill. And try not to
Choose leaner cuts. Besides being good for your waistline,
less fat means less smoke and flames — the source of
potentially hazardous compounds. Lean cuts are typically those
from the "round" or "loin" part of the
animal. Tri-tip for example, is a sirloin cut — a lean meat.
more vegetables and fruit on the grill. Besides making
barbecues more interesting and nutritious, foods such as
grilled red, yellow, and green peppers, squash, mushrooms,
onions, and pineapple do not promote the formation of harmful
Celebrate with a picnic!