Unfortunately, we now know that smoked meat could lead to cancer cell formation. It’s also heavily linked to cardiovascular disease. That’s because once you “smoke” meat, it can lead to forming polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), both linked to cancer (particularly lung and bladder cancer (See NHS) and cardiovascular disease (See NHS).
However, it’s difficult to resist the flavour and aroma of grilled meat or smoked meat. With BBQ season here too certainly for the next few months, there’s plenty of opportunity to throw some sausages, chicken or a juicy steak on the barbecue and watch it sizzle as your mouth literally waters with anticipation. Saying that, question whether you should compromise your health just because something tastes great? The sensible answer to that is obviously no but it’s tempting to ignore the issues associated with grilled meat. Luckily, you no longer have to throw caution to the wind because there is something you can do to combat the harmful effects of smoked and grilled meat. You can marinate it in beer!
Before finding out about beer marinades, it’s worth mentioning that a team of researchers at Reading University worked closely with engineers at a company called “Besmoke”. The company is famed for producing a variety of salts, spice and smoked oils to use on meat. Working together with the researchers, they examined methods to lower the amount of PAH’s in smoke used when preparing food. They found that running smoke through a zeolite filter (found in automobile exhaust systems) filtered out fumes. They used that filtered smoke to prepare meat and discovered that it reduced PAH’s by up to 90%. This gives scope to the possibility of using zeolite filters in the future to reduce pollutants but it’s yet to be used in food. There’s every possibility that with advancement in technology, this type of discovery will be used for smoking and even for grilling.
As this technology hasn’t hit BBQ’s quite yet you could try reducing PAH’s in your own home-cooked BBQ by marinating your meat in beer. It takes four hours to do and it’s been tested by researchers already. The researchers found significant PAH’s reduction by using a beer marinade (Source). Dark beer is best, it reduces PAH’s by 68% and non-alcoholic Pilsner reduces PHA’s by up to 36.5%. Alcoholic Pilsner reduces PAH’s by 29.5%. As beer (particularly dark beer) contains antioxidants, they reduce the free radicals in PAH’s. It definitely is a step in the right direction and actually, gives a great flavour to your meat. Sounds beery good to us!