How to Eat Healthy Barbecue (BBQ) Food

We have all heard the rumours that meat cooked on the barbecue includes cancer causing carcinogens. Well I am afraid that it is true. Meat, poultry, fish, and even vegetables cooked directly over high heat creates two carcinogenic contaminants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs).

But the good news is you do not have to give up that great summer tradition or taste to remain healthy. You just need to follow these tips to avoid those cancer causing toxins.


Marinate before cooking. Marinating improves the flavour and texture of your food and can kill off those HCAs. Fresh rosemary is great, along with lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sounds tasty too doesn’t it?

Garlic is another great ingredient in marinades and has numerous health benefits of its own. Garlic kills and inhibits a huge assortment of bacteria, viruses, fungi, mould, parasites and worms. It also works within the body’s vital systems, such as the circulatory, digestive, and immunological, to advance detoxification, cleansing, lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune system and healing

Microwave before barbecuing. Yes, if you microwave your meat fish or poultry for just 2 minutes before putting it on the BBQ you will kill 90% of HCAs. Your food will spend less time on the barbie, but will still have that great BBQ flavour.

Do not let the fat drip onto the heat. There is a cycle to producing PAHs. When the food drips fat and other juices onto the heat the resulting smoke will coat the underside of it with PAHs. You can avoid this by cooking your food on aluminium foil. Poking some holes in the foil will release the fat but prevent the PAHs coating the food on rising.

Other ways of beating the fat for health is to trim the fat from meat before cooking and barbecuing chicken with the skin on then throwing it away before eating the lean meat. All you have to lose is fat, grease, calories and carcinogens.

Kebabs and Burgers. If you make your own burgers include one teaspoon of wheat bran per pound of meat in the mix (Roughly a teaspoon per half Kilo). This stops the HCAs and keeps the burgers juicy

Kebabs are great because the small pieces of meat cook faster and produce less HCAs and you can include some great vegies on the skewer for a healthier meal. Cherry tomatoes, capsicum, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions all add to the flavour and variety.

Barbecue some fruit and veg. Make your 5 and 2 more interesting by grilling them on the barbie. Pears, pineapple and asparagus are just a few of the fruits and veggies that taste great when BBQ’d

Take some Broccoli with that. Broccoli as a side dish will break down any HCAs that might get through if you have followed all the above tips. To complete the deal, wash it down with some tea, regular or iced, tea’s antioxidants will also help defuse carcinogens.