We’re soaking up the last of summer and for many of us, that means sneaking in some end-of-season barbecues and cookouts. Grilling isn’t the healthiest way to prepare food, but avoiding these common pitfalls can help make your grilled meal as healthy as possible.
Not cleaning your grill
Is your grill caked with charred material from last season? Not cleaning your grill regularly builds up grease that not only poses a fire hazard but also impacts the flavor of your food. Cleaning your grill removes mold and bacteria that could potentially contaminate your meal more effectively than just cleaning it with more heat.
Not trimming fat
If you’re grilling meats, failing to trim off excess fat can increase the amount of AGEs (advanced glycation end products) in your food which is linked to inflammatory processes. A little fat is okay, but remove excess for a heart and gut-healthy meal.
Using excessively high heat
A little heat will help get your vegetables and meats crispy, but too much can lead to dangerous benzopyrene exposure. Use high heat to form a nice crust and then turn the heat down to finish cooking.
This might be a little controversial, but experts recommend oiling your foods before grilling, not the grate. Oiling the grill will cause smoke and carbonization, affecting the flavor of your foods. Plus, not oiling vegetables will cause them to dry out more on the grill.
Adding sugary glazes pre-cook
A good barbecue sauce is delicious but adding sweet sauces before cooking increases charring. Add sauces after cooking or serve them on the size as a dipping option.
Only using direct heat
Grilling is great, but it’s not meant for all foods. Anything that takes more than 20 minutes to cook should be pre-cooked in the oven before being finished on the grill. This includes whole chickens, ribs, and other larger meats.