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DON’T GET BURNED: SOME BBQ MAY CONTAIN CANCER-CAUSING
Most people in Roanoke know about the dangers of eating under-cooked meat. It turns out that over-cooked meat is no picnic either.
According to the National Cancer Institute, cooking certain meats at high temperatures and for a longer time can form cancer-causing chemicals that increase a person's risk of stomach, pancreas and colon cancers.
In Virginia, an average of 51 African Americans were diagnosed with colon cancer per 100,000 people in 2007, the last year for which numbers are available. In that same year, 35 African Americans in Roanoke died of colon cancer. African Americans also have higher death rates from stomach and pancreas cancers than other groups.
Stephanie Anthony of Roanoke is skeptical about the links to cancer, but she barbeques healthfully anyway.
“We don’t cook food real done on the grill,” said Anthony, 53, who works for an airline. “Food like ribs, which is my favorite, we brown in the oven first.”
Anthony will get a chance to sample other versions of her favorite food at the fifth annual Big Lick Blues Festival in downtown Roanoke on Oct. 1. The event will feature a variety of singers and bands, and will also feature a rib “cook-off.” For more information, call
The risky chemicals associated with barbeque are usually created when using high-temperature cooking methods like grilling to cook beef, pork, chicken and fish. Meats cooked for a long time—"well-done" instead of "medium"—form more of the cancer-
But don't toss out the grill just yet. Cancer prevention experts say that, like Stephanie Anthony, you can enjoy the great barbeque taste and protect the health of your family and
friends. Here’s how:
Don’t get burned. Avoid eating charred steaks, hamburgers, and chicken. If the meat is blackened in places, cut or scrape those parts off. Turn down the heat or increase the distance between the food and the fire to prevent overcooking. Avoid eating well-done meats.
Cut the fat. Grill lean cuts of meat (look for the words “lean,” “loin,” or “round” on packages of meat), trim visible fat, and remove skin from chicken. Fat burns the fastest, is charred most often, and contains the most cancer-causing agents.
Marinate. Marinating for at least 10 minutes before cooking not only makes grilled foods taste better, it may also make them safer. The thinner the marinade, the better the protection from cancer-causing agents. Teriyaki and turmeric-garlic marinades have been found to reduce such agents.
Add some protection. Mix half a cup of textured soy protein (a meat substitute low in sodium and fat that is made from soybeans) into a pound of ground meat before grilling to cut 95% of the cancer-causing agents. Or, try mixing a pound of ground meat with a cup of ground, fresh, tart cherries, blueberries, or grapes before grilling. You can also add garlic, rosemary, and sage in marinades or in meat.
Grill from the garden. Fruits and vegetables cooked at high heat do not form any
cancer-causing agents and fight cancer at the same time. Grilled tomatoes, asparagus, peppers, pineapple, peaches, and mangos are some summertime vegetables and fruits that grill well and complement many barbequed meats.
Patricia Harris, Roanoke correspondent for the Ozioma News Service, contributed to this story.
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1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. honey
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water
Mix all. Pour over meat, fish or poultry. Marinate at least 10 minutes. Makes 1 cup.
Turmeric Garlic Marinade
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 cup orange or pineapple juice
Mix all. Pour over meat, fish or poultry. Marinate at least 10 minutes. Makes 1/2 cup.
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. fresh minced ginger
? tsp. garlic powder
1 small onion, minced
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp paprika
2 lb boneless top sirloin steak, well trimmed
Combine the first six ingredients, then add the sirloin and marinate in refrigerator overnight. Prepare the grill rack set 6 inches above the heat source, or set the gas grill to medium heat. Grill the sirloin, turning once according to the following guidelines: 15-20 minutes for rare, 25-30 for medium. Carve into thin slices to serve.
Sticky Chicken Skewers
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
Seasonal vegetables (red & yellow bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash) 1 16oz can pineapple chunks
1 cup sticky rice
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp honey
4 tbsp ketchup
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Soak ten 10-inch bamboo skewers (or as many as needed depending on number of vegetables used) in water for at least 20 minutes.
In medium mixing bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Cut up chicken into cubes suitable for skewers and place into bowl. Mix chicken together with marinade and let sit for at least 20 minutes (put into refrigerator if marinade will sit more than 1 hour).
While chicken is in marinade, bring 2 cups water to a boil before adding 1 cup sticky rice (will take about 30 minutes total), and slice vegetables in sizes appropriate for skewers.
Once chicken has marinated at least 20 minutes, place onto skewers, alternating vegetables, pineapple and chicken.
When grill is hot, put filled skewers onto grill for 6-8 minutes, turning once. Serve with rice.
About Ozioma: Ozioma is a national cancer news service based in Missouri. It is funded by the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. Ozioma provides minority media outlets with information about cancer risks, treatment and prevention with a focus on taking action to improve health in African American communities.
For more information, visit our Web site at: http://www.oziomanews.org