BBQ season is upon us and while grilling is an easy and low fat way to cook food (compared to sautéing in oil or butter). Here are five things I thought you might want to know about the whys and hows of marinating.
- Marinating meat, fish and poultry significantly decreases the amount of carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines) produced when the meat is cooked at high temperatures, like in grilling. Marinades can reduces the HCAs by as much as 99 percent.
- Marinades may slow the growth of harmful bacteria, like listeria.
- Marinating meat with naturally acidic ingredients, like vinegar or citrus juices, tenderizes the meat, breaking down the proteins making the meat easier to digest. Plus it helps lock in the moisture so the meat won't dry out and toughen up.
- To keep the calorie count down, only use one-half cup of marinade to every pound of meat. This will be enough to coat the meat, but cuts down on excess.
- Never marinate meat at room temperature. Although marinade can slow the growth of harmful bacteria, it cannot stop them completely, so marinate your meat in the fridge.
Have fun grilling!