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Grilling: Is it bad for you? Does outdoor grilling cause cancer?

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Family gatherings, bithday parties and company picnics just wouldn't be the same if we didn't grill up a few dozen burgers and dogs.

We all love the aroma and promise of flavor that comes from the meat dripping its fatty juices on the hot coals, but experts say therein may lie the risk.

Researchers claim that when fat from meats drip onto hot coals, molecules called polyaromatic hydrocarbons are released, which may increase the risk for cancer.

Granted, the experts agree that the risks aren't very large but, if we can decrease those chances without compromising flavor, why not? Better safe than sorry, right?

Below are some tips to help keep those polyaromatic hydrocabon molecules - and the chances of them causing you harm - to a minimum.

Grilling Tips to help Reduce Dripping

  • Cook Before Grilling: Microwave meats for a few minutes before putting them on the grill. This reduces grilling time and with that, the release of potentially harmful "drip" compounds.
  • Grill Lightly: Keep the meat raised up away from the coals. Kept at a higher level, you will still get the "grill" flavor but will not get as much drippage.
  • Use Lean Meats: The less fat on the meats, the less they drip. If they do have a lot of fat, trim them before cooking.
  • Tilt the Grill Rack: Slant your grill rack just enough so that the juices flow towards one side, instead of letting the juices drip directly below the meat.
  • Use Drip Pan: Instead of tilting the rack, position a large, flat pan right under the food, among the coals.
  • Most of all, keep yourself safe while grilling!

Happy Grilling!

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