Grill Healthy: Four Ways to Avoid PAHs and HCAs on Your Propane Grill

Posted: June 4, 2018

Grilling vegetable and meat skewers

There are few things better than a delicious summer meal cooked on a propane grill – except maybe a healthy summer meal cooked on a propane grill.

When it comes to grilling, the #1 health problem you want to avoid is the build-up of Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) – two cancer-causing compounds that form when high-fat meat meets high temp heat.

The good news is that with some simple precautions, you can virtually eliminate the risk of HCAs and PAHs. Here’s how:

  1. Use leaner – and smaller – cuts of meat – PAH and HCA form when high fat meat is exposed to high heat for long periods. The solution? Choose leaner meat and use smaller cuts, which cook faster. Lean beef, pork, or skinless chicken kabobs are great options.
  2. Add crispy color – PAHs and HCAs don’t form on grilled fruits and vegetables; try adding tomatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, pineapple, and even apples to your grilled meal (fruits and veggies are full of antioxidants, too).
  3. Choose a smarter marinade – A delicious olive oil-based marinade can reduce PAH/HCA formation by more than 90 percent! Here are some other marinade tips:
    • Basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage can reduce HCA formation dramatically; use them liberally.
    • Never baste your grilled food with the liquid the meat was marinating in; this passes raw meat juices to your cooked meat.
    • Marinate meats and poultry for at least 1-2 hours, and fish and vegetables for about an hour, to maximize anti-PAH/HCA benefits.
  4. Flip food frequently – Turning your meat reduces charring and HCA production.

Cook healthy on your propane grill this summer. Contact us today to learn about Phoenix and Wilmington grill options for your ultimate outdoor kitchen!