Ensuring you have a clean BBQ, (see below) and you haven’t smothered the meat in sugary sauce or marinades, the actual process of barbequing is a healthier form of cooking, as the excess fat will drip off the meat verses cooking in oil, deep frying, some types of roasting.
The potential problem most back-yard chefs have is hot spots on the BBQ or unattended grills that can results in charred meat. This is where your barbeque gets a bad report. The burnt meat can result in carcinogenic compounds that can form when meat is cooked at high temps or over a direct flame. Do not scrap off the burnt spot and eat it or throw it to the family dog. Toss it out. Your good health is worth it!
There are ALWAYS healthy alternatives to traditional BBQ dishes that can be unhealthy.
Meats – choose leaner cuts of meat
- Try to stick with turkey, fish, chicken .
- If going with beef, go for the sirloin cuts, top round or flank, which tend to be naturally leaner.
- If you are looking for some adventure, try venison or bison, very tasty with much less fat.
- Avoid processed meat (Ham, Brats, Sausage, etc..) if possible.
Vegetables – lots of options here!
Marinades – Stick with homemade
- Honey, lemon, garlic or onion are great starters.
- Steer clear of any high-fructose corn syrup based products.
Cleaning the Grill B4 or After?
Some of us are just clean freaks by nature and we instinctively know to clean the grill when we’re done (and we probably clean it again when we use it the next time). Others have learned that if food particles are left on the grill, they tend to make more food stick. It’s a domino effect.
Food particles stuck to the grill become charred, and research shows that charred food may contain cancer-causing agents. Plus, bacteria can also grow in those food particles. So, for a variety of reasons, it’s important to clean the grill.
If you give the grill grate a good scraping with the wire brush and then close the cover right after you are finished cooking, the heat will burn off any small food particles and allow any grease left on the grate to help season the metal for easier cleaning next time.But often when people grill, it’s because we have company over or we’re in a hurry and need a quick way to cook without a lot of cleanup. We may not want to take the time to clean the grill when we’re done. We want to eat and mingle or get off to our engagements.
It’s perfectly okay to wait until the next time you grill before cleaning the grate. You may find that it takes a bit longer because food has adhered to the metal. But if you turn up the heat and close the cover for about 10 minutes while the grill heats, you should be able to clean the grill grate without any problems.
No matter when you chose to clean the grill, allowing it to heat up for a few minutes before cooking new foods will eliminate any bacteria that may have formed. Most recipes recommend waiting until the grill is hot anyway, to avoid drying out the meat. So despite all the debate, when you clean your grill isn’t all that important – as long as you clean it before your next cookout.