Marinade Meat In Beer For Healthier Grilling

Marinade Meat In Beer For Healthier Grilling

Throwing your favourite meats on the BBQ can be the tastiest way to cook, but that delicious char can also be hazardous to your health. One study found that giving your meat a beer bath can fix that.

Photo by Kate Borkowski

When you grill your protein-filled foods, two types of chemical compounds can arise: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These compounds are known carcinogens that live in that tasty char (HCAs) and the smoke that absorbs into the meat when fat drips onto the coals (PAHs). You can reduce exposure to these compounds by cleaning your BBQ regularly to remove excess char, cutting overly charred parts off of your meat, and even microwaving meat for 60 to 90 seconds before throwing it on.

Another way to reduce PAHs, however, is to toss your meats in your beer. A study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that marinating pork in beer for four hours before charcoal-grilling reduced the amount of PAHs by as much as 53%. The study was done with black ale (53% reduction), pilsner (13% reduction), and non-alcoholic pilsner (25% reduction). So next time you get ready to BBQ, try giving those delicious meats a bath.

Effect of Beer Marinades on Formation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Charcoal-Grilled Pork [Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry via WonderHowTo]


  • Or you could wrap your entire self in gladwrap to keep the nasty germs out.

    Bring on the tastey crunchy charred bits of meat! Bring them all to me!

  • Carcinogens are not germs…..and what is it with people liking burned anything. It’s foul, not flavorsome. Anyway, here’s our family’s favorite steak marinade recipe and it’s dirt simple:
    250g tomato paste
    2 tbl spoons of oil
    2 tbl spoons of soy sauce which also has plenty of salt already
    1 tea spoon of pepper
    1 tea spoon sugar
    1 small finely chopped brown onion
    ……and the all important 1/2 can beer

    mix it up and marinade your steaks for 2-4 hours. Easily enough for 6 large steaks. Flip you steaks once only and when you do, use a little of the marinade to keep the cooked side nice and moist.

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