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Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN

Grilling Healthy and Delicious Barbecue

Healthy Barbecue RecipesThe warm weather is here and the backyard barbecue beckons. Although you can’t beat grilling for simplicity and flavor (not to mention the easy clean-up!), there are a few things to keep in mind before firing up the grill. When meat, poultry, and fish are cooked at high temperatures or over direct flames,  the proteins and fats in the meat can react with the heat to form cancer-causing compounds, which remain on the surface of the meat.


Fortunately, a few simple steps will keep your barbecues safe and tasty:


1. Avoid flare-ups by choosing lean, well-trimmed cuts. Adjust the burners on your gas grill or position your charcoal to create a “cool zone,” so you can quickly move meats away from the flames if you do have a flare up.


2. Pre-cook meats in the microwave for one minute per pound, then finish on the grill with your favorite sauce or seasonings.  This is especially  helpful for thicker chops, burgers, or whole chicken breasts, which otherwise can get over-charred on the surface before the center is done.  Precooking also dramatically reduces the formation of carcinogens on grilled meats.


3. Use a marinade or spice rub not only to tenderize the meat and add terrific flavor but also to impart health benefits: Even a brief, 30-minute marinade reduces the formation of harmful compounds by up to 90%; adding dry spices like black pepper, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, and paprika to your burgers (or rubbing them on the surface of a roast) can similarly block the formation of these substances.


Here are some recipes—healthy and delicious—to get you up to speed.




Pirate Marinade

Healthy Barbecue recipes

There’s nothing better on salmon, chicken, pork, or lamb.




Beef and Vegetable Kabobs

Healthy Barbecue Recipes

The marinade is the secret to healthy cooking and tasty kabobs.




Orange Marinated Flank Steak

Healthy Barbecue Recipes

The marinade here can be made the day before and chilled overnight.




Grilled Rosemary Chicken

Healthy Barbecue Recipes

An easy to make marinade puts this chicken “in the bag.”





Fire up the grill with these other great barbecue recipes!






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