|| DukeMedNews || Cooking on the Grill

Suggested lead: Cooking out on the grill is a great way to close out the official summer season, but it pays to be patient. Tom Britt has more.

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The taste of charcoal-broiled burgers, steak or chicken is a delicious part of the summer season, but patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to the cookout. Pao-Hwa Lin (POW-WAH LIN) of Duke University’s Center for Living says if you cook meat at too hot a temperature, it could create what is called heterocyclic amine, or HCA for short. HCA has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals. Lin says you might want to cook the meat a little before you put it on the grill.

“Some suggestions such as you microwave the meat a couple of minutes before you barbeque it, and that would cut down on the time. Or substitute something else, some other options, like tofu and vegetables. Don’t focus on just meat.”

Lin says muscle meats like steak are especially susceptible to HCA, because of the amino acids already in the meat. But she says simply lowering the temperature and allowing it to cook a little longer will avoid creating HCA and the potential danger it could cause for you and your family. I’m Tom Britt.

Lin says you don’t have to limit yourself when it comes to what goes on the grill.

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“Make a variety of stuff on your grill, not just beef or chicken. You could add a bunch of other stuff, corn, there’s vegetarian sausages. They’re all pretty good options.”