I don’t like barbecues because to me they’re messy and clunky, and I know that charred meat is really bad for your health, but I have to admit I’m drawn into the outdoor-cooking mystique. It’s like faux- camping: eating in the fresh air and keeping the cooking smells and spatters off my walls! So … as every year, I start to look at what’s new out there.
I don’t want a big barbecue, they take up too much space.
I don’t want to spend a lot of money – how many meals would I have to cook to make it pay for itself.
Still, I cook for a lot of people, so the cooking area needs to be large.
I don’t mind coals, actually prefer them, if they’re the real wood ones, not the carbon.
I don’t love to keep spending money on propane, especially the small tanks, but on the other hand, I like the idea of having a way to cook if the power goes out.
To keep from charring food and keep it safe, I have to be able to cook on a low heat, below 325 degrees, and I know for one thing, that the photo on this page is definitely a no-no. In fact, I watched a video yesterday at at barbecue display that featured the chef/barbecue-maker cooking the ultimate steak in high flames!
That’s when I realized that I should forget about a “real” barbecue and just go to a camp cooker that our Costco has, with three burners. I can buy the cast iron pans that leave the appropriate grilling marks in the veggies and meats, and will keep the heat outside, cleanup will be easier than a barbecue, it’s narrow and will fold up neatly during the winter, plus it has the propane feature in case our power ever goes out or to take camping. Or there are electric barbecues (Char-Broil BBQ Patio Bistro) or even an electric grill meant for kitchen use can be taken outdoors.
The main thing, though, is to remember to cook safely (325 degrees tops) and keep my family safe from the certain cancers that can develop from eating foods that have HCAs (heterocyclic amines) that can affect the colon, breast, pancreas, prostate and stomach. I sure don’t want to have anyone I know add to those numbers.
I think the problem of charring beef has increased since the frozen burgers can onto the market, along with ecoli scares, and warnings to cook the burgers “until the red is gone.” Subsequently, people overcook and over-char because they’re cooking from frozen according to the directions on the box.
Just remember that beef, chicken, lamb, pork, or fish grilled until it’s overcooked or burnt and charred, might increase the risk of developing certain cancers, so:
- Cook below 325 degrees
- Flip burgers once a minute to cool the surfaces to prevent HCA formation
- Use a meat thermometer to be sure it’s cooked to the right temperature for the meat type.
- Marinating food (try cider vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and spices) before grilling appears to reduce HCA formation as long as the marinade doesn’t drip into the fire/brick/coals to create a flare-up. The marinade will shorten cooking time. One sources sites a decrease of 92-99 percent in chicken breasts grilled for 10 to 40 minutes, compared with unmarinated breasts.
- Don’t cook directly over flames that create flare-ups, particularly from fat or marinade. Potential carcinogens are in the char and ash. Photo here is of the dangerous barbecue:
One helpful hint is to cook meat from room temperature so it won’t be tough.
Do whatever you need to do to stay safe and protect your health from really unnecessary cancers by thinking before you buy your barbecue, and when you have it, keep that heat down for your family’s health.
Insure your health from free radicals that cause cancer, eat those antioxidant-rich fruits and we suggest supplementing with antioxidants in vitamins, and a fully complete multi-vitamin. Go to my site: www.betterhealth-fast.com and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy and safe outdoor cooking!