Anyone firing up the grill this holiday weekend should take note. Meat marinades made with beer significantly lower the amount of cancer-causing byproducts that result from cooking pork with charcoal, food chemists in Spain and Portugal report.
We repeat: pork + beer > pork – beer. Science, 1. Cancer, 0. Thank you, food scientists.
We’re not sure why you’d need to know more than this information, but click through to learn more.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are compounds released from the incomplete burning of wood, charcoal, fossil fuels or any other organic substance. It is a family of compounds comprised of more than 100 chemicals, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and many are released into the atmosphere by forest fires, volcano eruptions and automobile emissions.
They are also present in grilled meats as a result of the cooking process.
Along with multiple health and reproductive problems seen in animal trials, the ATSDR reports: “The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that some PAHs may reasonably be expected to be carcinogens. Some people who have breathed or touched mixtures of PAHs and other chemicals for long periods of time have developed cancer. Some PAHs have caused cancer in laboratory animals when they breathed air containing them (lung cancer), ingested them in food (stomach cancer), or had them applied to their skin (skin cancer).”
Studies have connected eating chargrilled meats with a higher incidence of colorectal cancer.
Now University of Porto and University of Vigo scientists have put their analytical abilities to this pork chop travesty and come up with a solution that many will appreciate.
They tested meat marinated for four hours in pilsner, nonalcoholic pilsner or black beers on PAH formation and compared these results against carcinogen development in meat that was not marinated. They then cooked all the pork to well done (another travesty, but that’s for a different story). The result: Black beer marinades inhibited PAH development by as much as 53 percent compared to meat that wasn’t marinated; nonalcoholic pilsner inhibited PAH formation by 25 percent; and pilsner dropped formation of the harmful compounds by 13 percent.
Black beer “marinade was the most efficient on reduction of PAH formation, providing a proper mitigation strategy,” the authors conclude in their recently published paper in theACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.