Grill Tips: Keep Your Summer Barbecues Healthy & Safe

Barbecues are a fun way to spend a summer night or weekend with friends and family. Thanks to Chicago Healers Practitioner Dr. Martha Howard we have a few tips for holding a healthy and safe barbeque this summer.

Dr. Howard shares these tips to a fun, healthy and safe summer barbecue.
• Clean the grill—get rid of the old fats

• Avoid petroleum starters for charcoal. If you use charcoal, use a wood starter and stack your charcoal up in a 2 pound metal can (no paint on the can, please) with the ends cut off. Lift off the can with tongs and spread out the coals when they are well started.

• Be sure you know how to turn on your propane grill safely. Avoid a time gap between opening the valve and starting the grill.

• Wash your hands and use separate plates and cutting boards for raw and cooked meats. Be sure to wash hands again before putting on long, heat-proof barbecue gloves. (Towels and little hot pads are a set-up for burns.)

• Trim most of the fat—less fat means fewer PAHs.

• Use marinades—they tend to protect the meat from charring. Put the marinade on and put all items back in the refrigerator until ready to go. Don’t let them sit out.

• Use precooking prior to grilling, especially for items like raw brats. Avoid taking burgers, chicken or other meats directly from the freezer to the grill.

• Cut meat and chicken into smaller pieces so they cook through.

• Turn down the fire and turn your burgers, steaks, chops, or chicken often, so they cook through, and come out a gorgeous golden brown.

• If you are cooking a thicker portion of meat or chicken, think about using a meat thermometer.
o Chicken: 165 degrees.
o Hamburger: 160 degrees.
o Pork: 150 degrees.
o Hot dogs: 140 degrees.
o Steak 145 degrees for medium rare (only if you know where your steak comes from) and 160 degrees for medium

• Grill more veggies! And if you are making kabobs, oil all the veggies, cook the onions with the meat, and grill the other vegetables separately. That way the meat gets done, and the vegetables don’t get overdone.

• At the end of the barbecue, be sure to put out your charcoal completely, and if you are using propane, be sure the valve is turned off.


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Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.