Yay! This weekend is Memorial Day—in case you forgot—the unofficial start to summer and the official kick-off to grilling season! Eric is laughing at me as I write this because we live in So Cal. Hello, it’s ALWAYS grilling season here. I think that’s why we could never move. Surf. Meat. Grill. Beer. You get the picture.
My sister Allison says we need to move to Colorado. Can we grill every day there Ally? Hmmm…
While she is thinking about that, let me explain why Eric and I love to fire up our grill. Besides being a super-quick way to cook a meal, grilling makes clean-up is so easy and I think we can all agree it’s a yummy way to cook meat and veggies—without adding a lot of fat or calories.
We also love marinades. Bottled or home-made, marinades add flavor and moisture to anything you put on the grill. However, did you know that marinades are more than just flavor-infusing liquids?
They also protect your health.
So just pick up that bottle of marinade and take a really big swig. Ha ha. Kidding. Please don’t do that. But do make sure to marinate your man. I mean meat. Here’s why.
You see when meat is heated to a high temperature on the grill, cancer causing substances called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed. The more you burn your grilled meat the more of those pesky HCA’s are formed. Yeah, sorry, didn’t mean to ruin your day. But now you know why it’s always important to cut away charred meat.
BUT HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS! The good news is that according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, when we briefly marinate the meat we can reduce the HCAs by as much as 99%. Yep, that’s right 99%!!!!
Thank the Lord that marinades come in many flavors. I mean, I couldn’t live with just teriyaki flavor. You can buy marinade or make your own. Just need to make sure that in addition to herbs, spices and oils, that your marinades includes an acidic ingredient, such as lemon juice, wine, or vinegar. The acid goes to work on proteins, tenderizing the meat while balancing out sweet or spicy ingredients. As the acid allows moisture and flavors to seep in, it also helps to counteract those HCA cancer causing critters that show up when we leave the grill to grab a beer (ERIC!!) and those drips turn to flames and those flames
flavor char our meat.
Now Eric isn’t laughing at me.
So whether you buy a bottle or make your own, just make sure you pierce the meat with a fork to allow the marinade to penetrate, store it in the refrigerator until grilling time and don’t reuse any marinade unless it has been boiled for at least 5 minutes.
Last summer I posted this awesome recipe for Beer Marinated Lemon Grilled Chicken. Did you try it? I am in love with it as it is seriously finger-licking good! And since that post my recipe made it into Shape.com!! Yes, saving the world from HCA’s one recipe at a time. You can thank me later….