Grilling Safety for Memorial Day Weekend

By: NBC News Channel Email
By: NBC News Channel Email

Just in time for the Memorial Day cookout, a new study finds people who eat well-done meat on a regular basis may be more susceptible to pancreatic cancer.

While it's not proof that grilling causes the disease, it does add weight to evidence that cooking meats at very high temperatures creates chemicals that may raise the cancer risk.

While the study does link charred meat to cancer, there is some good news to all of this: scientists are uncovering strategies that can help protect foods and people.

Nutritionists recommend that when you are putting your food onto the grill make sure you flip it every minute.

They also say cooking at lower temperatures can help reduce damaging compounds.

"Those foods when you apply that high heat you get that reaction and that can actually cause damage to our DNA," says Denise Snyder, a researcher at Duke University.

Some other strategies: be sure to get the meat off the grill as soon as possible, use a thermometer, microwave your meat for a little bit before grilling it, and pick leaner, thinner cuts of meat.

And one of the tastiest tips: marinade whenever possible - the coating will help protect the meat.

Experts also recommend adding fruits and vegetables to your grilling menu. They aren't affected by high-heat cooking and contain antioxidants which may help fight disease.

To help you get started on your Memorial Day cooking, below are recipes for a marinade and a grilled peach salad.

Equal parts of your favorite vinegar (balsamic, red wine or white wine vinegar), Extra Virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp grainy mustard.
Whisk with extra virgin olive oil and add 1-2 tsp of grainy mustard.
Use equal parts of your favorite vinegar (for example, balsamic, red wine or white wine vinegar), your favorite citrus juice + zest (for example, lime or lemon) - whisk with extra virgin olive oil and add your favorite fresh herbs (for example, rosemary, dill, or cilantro). Or try adding in minced fresh garlic or onion for some zing. Suggested Marinade time: Fish - 1 hr Poultry- 4-6 hrs Beef, lamb, pork - 6-8 hrs or overnight

Grilled Peach Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds - Ingredients
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, 3 peaches, peeled, pitted and each cut into 6 wedges , Cooking spray , 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil , 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , Dash of kosher salt , 1/3 cup sliced almonds , 10 cup spring mix (about 10 ounces) , 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese, 1 1/2 tsp fresh mint finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Cool completely, and set aside.
2. Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until balsamic vinegar is reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in honey. Cool to room temperature.
3. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Prepare grill to high heat - move rack to highest setting.
4. Place peach wedges on grill rack; grill 30 seconds on each side or until grill marks appear but peaches are still firm. Remove from grill; set aside.
5. Combine oil, pepper, and kosher salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add spring mix, tossing gently to coat. Arrange spring mixture on a platter. Top with peach wedges. Drizzle with balsamic syrup; sprinkle with cheese and mint to taste.
6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups spring mix , 3 peach wedges, 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic syrup, 1 teaspoon cheese, 2 1/2 tsp almonds, and 1/4 tsp mint)

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