How to Cook Meat Safely On the Grill

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Marinated, grilled burgers

Grilling is probably the easiest and one of the tastiest way to cook. For many of us, switching from the SAD diet to a natural, healthy diet of fresh foods, the grill becomes our best friend.

But we need to take care when cooking with high heat and on an open flame. Believe it or not, grilling the wrong way can actually make healthy food unhealthy. 

We all know how much more it costs to buy grass fed, free range meats over the typical CAFO meats, so let’s take care to get our money’s worth!

Overcooked Meat…

Nobody means to overcook meat because it doesn’t taste as good as moist meat, but on the grill it’s easy to lose track of time or temperature. Be careful to time your meat properly and take the internal temperature so that your meat turns out moist a and avoids the chemical changes that take place in the to the fat, protein, and sugar molecules of overcooked meats.

Cooking muscle meat at high temperatures and with dry heat toughens the meat, destroys nutrients, and creates carcinogens.

Heterocyclic amines are formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are formed when fat and juices drip onto the open fire, causing flames. These flames then contain PAHs which adhere to the surface of the meat. Both of these compounds have been shown to cause cancer.

The amino acids in the meat are very sensitive to heat and can be easily damaged. The amino acids, plus the oxygen and iron that is in our blood can all react, which creates fusions between the molecules. This creates toxins that your body can’t use, but you’ll absorb anyway.

Once in your bloodstream, your liver and kidneys will have to eliminate them, which is an added burden for these organs. Even worse, ruined nutrients, or carcinogens, cause reactions between other nutrients and wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to cancer and inflammation.

… Versus Moist Meat Cooked Just Right

There is a reason why muscle meats are difficult to digest when raw. When muscle meats are raw, they are tough and difficult to break down. These tough meats can be made softer with an acid such as your stomach acid, vinegar, or lemon juice, fermentation (as in dried or rotted meat), or by cooking.

Hydrolytic cleavage is the process by which moisture trapped inside the meat while cooking actually slices the strands of protein, thereby tenderizing the meat. Additionally, this trapped water prevents proteins from fusing together and making the meat much less digestible.

How to Cook Meat on the Grill

In order to avoid the toxins created in the cooking process, you should follow a few rules for healthy grilling.

  • Always trim the fat AFTER cooking, not before. Fat helps to trap moisture in the meat.
  • Wrap meat in foil when cooking on the grill so as not to lose moisture to the fire.
  • Cook meats along with vegetables.
  • Add a coating of stable fats to the meat before cooking (like butter or lard).
  • Avoid cooking fast on high heat. This drys the meat out.
  • Check the meat often with a thermometer. Look here for meat doneness temperatures.
  • Always take meat off the grill about 5 to 10 degrees too soon. Meat will continue to cook after it’s removed from the heat.
  • NEVER cut into the meat. You will lose the moisture necessary for keeping the meat healthy.
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One Comment

  1. Certain herb/spice marinades also help.

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