That is the question. Here are a few ideas to help you decide.
If you are planning on grilling this summer and you are concerned about either food safety or carcinogens caused by grilling food, then read on...
- All meat, poultry, eggs (ok, you aren't grilling eggs, but you might make deviled eggs for a picnic, so I'm including them in the discussion)... risk staphylococcus food poisoning. It is a heat stable toxin. Any high protein food stored between 40F and 140F can allow growth of the toxin. Best prevention? Use sterilized kitchen utensils, wash your hands, and serve (or refrigerate) the food immediately. Do not allow food to cool slowly.
- Poultry and eggs are susceptible to salmonella. Best prevention? Of course, use sterilized kitchen utensils and wash your hands. Grill chicken until it is completely white and serve immediately. What to do with leftovers? Refrigerate for up to 2 (yes, only 2) days.
- Another word about sterilized kitchen utensils: If you are making shish kabobs, use separate knives and cutting boards (or sterilize) for the veggies and meat. (Obvious...but just a reminder for when you are in a rush.)
Decrease carcinogens in grilling:
- You've heard this by now...but a (friendly) reminder is in order. Do NOT char the food. And if you get to chatting and something grills too long - cut off the charred areas.
- Rosemary!!! This helps whether you are grilling, broiling or frying meat. (I'm so glad the previous blogs on gardening spurred you to plant that Rosemary Bush by your mailbox. All you have to do is go snip some and put in the marinade.) In a research study by Kansas State University, it was reported that adding rosemary (specifically rosemary extract in the study) helped to prevent cancer-causing compounds in cooked meat.
- Fill your plate with colorful veggies. (1) The antioxidants you eat will help combat any cancer-causing compounds. And (2) you'll fill up on veggies instead of a 2nd burger (therefore, less exposure, right?)
Hope this helps you to decide how (and how often) to grill out this summer. (And if you live in the Nashville area and you are grilling grass-fed beef - let me know. I might bring veggies from my garden and crash your party.)