It’s time for grilling: on the beach or in the countryside, in the garden or on the terrace, the barbecue is now a custom even for Italians. However, to be practiced with caution: cooking food at high temperatures, and in particular if in direct contact with the flame, leads to the formation of chemical compounds on the surface of the food. Some of which, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and especially benzopyrene, with carcinogenic potential.
Affsa , the French Food Safety Agency, has developed a series of tips to limit the formation of these substances: in fact, there are scientific studies that show that it is enough to use some precautions, even in cooking, to minimize the risks. The Consumer Safety Commission had already dealt with the subject, which in 2003 had produced an extensive report that analyzed the various types of barbecues on the market.
Adjust the height of the grate. To avoid the excessive formation of carcinogenic substances, the food must cook thanks to the heat of the embers and not by direct contact with the flame (which reaches up to 500 ° C). It is advisable not to exceed a cooking temperature of 220 ° C: this is generally achieved by placing the grill at a distance of at least 10 cm from the embers in the case of a horizontal cooking barbecue. Vertical cooking models are safer –
Prefer purified charcoal (> 85% charcoal or category A charcoal) to ordinary charcoal.
Yes to liquid, solid or gel firelighters: they facilitate the ignition of the charcoal and the formation of embers. However, you must make sure that they are completely burned before placing the meat on the grill and should never be used to revive the fire.
Prevent the grease from dripping onto the flames. The leaner the meat, the lower the risk of carcinogenic compounds. But if they are not cooked correctly, their presence can increase. The fall of drops of fat on the embers, in fact. it can cause flames and smoke which, when in contact with the piece of meat, can contribute to the formation of dangerous substances. It is therefore advisable to cover the hearth with a light layer of ash or remove as much fat as possible from the raw meat.