No health risk… as long as you manage the cooking and lighten up your grills.
Every year, the USA barbecue championship is a success that confirms our passion for the art of grilling! For 87% of Americans (survey for Campingaz), it embodies conviviality, simplicity, and celebration. The proof: more than a million devices are sold each year, from 80 dollars to the Rolls of the barbecue to more than 6000 dollars! Brands compete with ingenuity and target young city dwellers with portable models to be installed on balconies. However, this method of cooking is not so harmless and can harm your health.
Avoiding toxic fumes
If the fat from the meat drips onto the coals, it ignites and you can inhale benzopyrenes, compounds that are as toxic as the tars in cigarette smoke! If you are using a charcoal barbecue, wait until the flames are gone and the coals are sufficiently glowing to start grilling. Turn the food over with tongs, but do not prick the food to prevent the juices from flowing. Before storing the barbecue, clean the grill thoroughly to remove stuck-on grease.
Cooking without burning
Overcooked pieces, even blackened by contact with the flames, contain carcinogenic substances. To limit the risks, Laura Serio, dietician, suggests “cooking food on a plancha that is placed on the barbecue grill: this eliminates the risk of direct contact with the flame and as the heat is well distributed, the food is cooked before it has time to burn”. Other utensils to recommend: the vertical heat barbecue which avoids the grease to run on the heat source and to ignite or the electric barbecue which allows controlling the temperature (stick to 180°C).
Marinating the meat
A good marinade (olive oil, tomato, garlic, and spices) rich in polyphenols, carotenoids, or antioxidant sulfur compounds will prevent the formation of AHS (heterocyclic amines), carcinogenic substances. Their impact on health depends of course on how often you eat grilled meat. “Marinating meat in wine or beer also limits the formation of HAAs,” says Dr. Jean-Michel Lecerf, head of the nutrition department at the Pasteur Institute in Lille! And serving grilled meat or fish with cabbage, radishes or turnips facilitates the detoxification process that neutralizes some of the AHS.
As far as possible, limit the use of industrial chipolatas and merguez sausages that are very salty and contain various preservatives. “Made with small pieces of meat, their proteins are not easily assimilated and are of lower quality,” says Florence Servas-Taithe, dietician-nutritionist, and manager of La Ruche Qui dit oui. Prefer artisanal products from a butcher and pork butcher or from a farmer who makes his charcuterie, prepared with less fatty, less salty, and tastier cuts.
A balanced meal
To compensate for the “fat”, we put seasonal vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, etc.) on the grill, coated with a dash of olive oil and herbs. To finish, replace the American-style ice cream with a fruit skewer (pineapple, apple, grape, etc.) marinated in a sweet mixture of melted butter, honey, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Thinking about fish
We take advantage of the “barbecue” to satisfy our needs in omega 3 which optimize our intellectual faculties. We enjoy freshly caught sardines and mackerel, fish that we avoid cooking in apartments because of the smell. However, fish is more fragile than meat, so to prevent it from crumbling, brush it with a little olive oil, oil the grill well before cooking, and cook the fillets on their skin side.
Sauces: reduce the calories!
If you’re planning on eating beef or lamb chops, which have a 20% fat content, you might as well avoid eating them with a fatty sauce.
Light tartar sauce: Mix 1/4 teaspoon of mustard with 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of mayonnaise. Add 1 tablespoon of white cheese at 20%, salt, and pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of chopped gherkins, 1/2 teaspoon of capers, 1/2 teaspoon of chopped onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of chopped parsley. 20 kcal per tablespoon instead of 57.
Green pepper sauce: sweat 1/2 minced shallot with 1/2 tsp of green pepper. Add 1 cl of cognac, 2,5 cl of white wine, and 10 cl of veal stock. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. To mix the whole with 1 spoon with soup of thick cream 15%. 10 kcal per tablespoon instead of 60