The Science of BBQing?

I always thought that BBQ was more art than science, and then I started smoking meat as a hobby, low and slow you might say and soon learned about the BBQ Guru, which was where science was introduced into the mix. Low and slow is the way to go when grilling and the more you burn your BBQ, the worse it gets for you from a toxin standpoint. In other words, chemically altering the make up of the meat. Boing Boing featured an article Science of BBQing and after reading it, there is a whole lot going on and making sure that you keep your grilling as healthy as possible, I pulled out a few gems.

Other research-proven tricks for reducing HCAs, as noted in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, include using marinades, garlic and onion, said Risch. A marinade of red wine, for instance, can reduce the formation of HCAs by 88 percent, she noted. Although scientists aren’t sure exactly how these techniques work, moisture from marinades may ensure that the meat directly in contact with the grill remains at a relatively low temperature, she said.

HCA’s in BBQ meat can be bad, and to support the idea of good BBQ grilling practice she made this comment:

The amount of HCAs formed in grilled meats typically triples if meats are cooked well done rather than medium well, she noted.

So we recommend that you do not torch your meat, instead, use low and slow cooking methods as well as indirect cooking which truly changes the way that you can use your grill or smoker. Indirect cooking on the grill means moving the coals to the side of your BBQ grill or turning off some of your gas burners and cooking over the unheated surface.  The BBQ acts as an oven and still cooks the meat but you get a very moist end result in the meat or vegetables. The Grill Friends Grill Mat is an excellent way to cook indirect on the grill.

Also remember that “high” is not the only setting on your grill and that cooking the meat over white hot coals is not the only way to do it. I always cook chicken breasts, especially boneless breasts under medium heat and the end result is always very moist. Burgers can be the same, I usually heat the grill on High and then dial it down to medium for when I actually put the burgers on. All the grease usually flares up and provides enough extra heat that I get golden brown burgers every time.

There is a science to BBQ grilling, and the more you experiment, the better your artistic talents. Let’s face it, there is an art in science too.

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