A string of white smoke floats away and dissipates into the infinite abyss, you almost instantaneously identify with the crisp pure smoky goodness of… barbecues. Oh thank you maillard reaction. (maillard reaction: triggered when denatured proteins on the surface of meat, react with sugars while barbecuing. Results in that golden crisp outside)
Barbecues remain a universally loved social activity for decades. There can be no wrong when a congregation involves freshly grilled succulent meat right? Agreed. But do you know about the truth behind your barbecued meat? We debunk common myths about this celebrated practice.
BARBECUE IS CANCER CAUSING
The most common myth we have all heard countless times before? That barbecued food causes cancer. In truth, reports are often exaggerated and do not always give an accurate picture of the implications. Barbecuing until its over – cooked or charred can transform amino acids and other natural sub – stances in the foods into compounds called heterocyclic amines. These compounds have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
FACT: People would have to eat barbecued food every day for there to even be a remote possibility for it to happen. While it is proven that eating copious amounts of charred food may cause cancer, it is impossible for one to eat burned food for every meal in a day for a year. That being said, researchers at the United States National Cancer Institute conducted a study on colorectal cancer and found that the odds of developing cancer were tightly linked to consumption of red meat, particularly when well done. It is recommended that one preheats the food in a microwave to shorten barbecuing time.
CHARCOAL BARBECUES YIELD BETTER TASTE
So the claim is, cooking with a non-charcoal heat source cannot create the same taste as food prepared over a charcoal base. This claim is bogus.
FACT: The tasty smoky barbecued flavour you get has little to do with charcoal. It occurs when juice from the meat drips down and vaporize to produce a flavour that has been associated with charcoal. Charcoal is only a heat source and adds no taste to your food.
MEATS WITH MORE FAT, ABSORB MORE SMOKE
FACT: False. Studies have shown that fat does not absorb more smoke than any other part of the meat. The main concern however, is that to ensure the fat does not char when barbecued too long. Fat burns more easily than other parts of meat.
POKING WILL CAUSE THE BARBECUED MEAT TO LOSE ITS JUICE
FACT: It is a myth that poking a piece of meat will drain the juices out and leave it hard. Meat is composed of hundreds of tiny cells containing their juices and moisture. Merely poking meat with a fork does not result in meat completely losing its juices. Moreover, a fork is not sharp enough therefore can only ‘puncture’ about one or two cells. This still leaves the meat full of moisture and juice. Nevertheless this does not mean one can go about poking the meat repeatedly because it can make the meat go dry eventually! Instead, use proper tongs to flip meat. Also, do avoid squeezing the meat after flipping it, as both the grease and the juice will come out.
Now that we dispelled some common myths, it’s high time you nailed that perfect barbecue.