Beer and grilling go hand in hand during summer, especially on Memorial Day weekend, which is fast approaching. It turns out marinating your meats in beer can have a protective effect on Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs), harmful compounds that are created when proteins and fats come in contact with high amounts of heat.
These compounds unequivocally increase the risk of cancer and this is one of the reasons why there has been some concerns about meat and cancer risk.
However, marinades made of beer are shown to reduce the formation of these harmful compounds when meat is grilled! No research has been done to see if drinking beer while eating grilled meat has the same effect, so it’s best to marinade if you’re aim is to reduce HCAs. (Source Here)
Not a beer drinker? Neither am I. Fortunately, citrus, rosemary, garlic, thyme, and onion also have been shown to reduce heterocyclic amine formation in high heat cooking of red meat (sources here and here). It appears that antioxidants may be responsible for this reduction in harmful compounds, so if you are grilling, be sure to use an herb-rich marinade and eat your meat with lots of veggies!
Since gluten-intolerance forbids me from using beer as a marinade, I have an herb-rich, alcohol-free approach to reducing HCAs when I grill. Try one of these marinades on your grillables the next time you fire up!
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup avocado or grapeseed oil (these withstand the high heat of the grill better than olive oil)
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt (VIBRANCE is a fan of Celtic Sea Salt)
Best as a marinade for chicken, flank steak, pork chops, bell peppers, corn on the cob and summer squashes.
Lemon Rosemary Marinade
- 1/3 cup avocado oil
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary stolen from your neighbor’s yard (it tastes better that way!)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Delightful with chicken (one-in), boneless leg of lamb, shrimp, bass, lamb chops, zucchini, summer squashes, asparagus, shallots and leeks.
Enjoy the glory of grilling season, and I’ll see you on the patio!