What is healthy grilling?
Those two words seem to have a difference in opinion when it comes to grilling ever since the George Foreman Grill came around. Most people are fanatic about grilling meals that are healthier and have less fat and calories. But is there really a way to get a maximum taste with grilling veggies and meat without sacrificing flavor? Let’s find out!
Famous mistakes to avoid while grilling
Reduce your grilling glazes
Unless you’re looking for unwanted calories and hidden sugar that will build up on your food, skip using any kind of glaze or BBQ grilling sauces that aren’t always the best if you want to eat healthily. Sure, these taste awesome, but there are plenty of dry rubs and marinades that add flavor without adding excess calories.
Don’t overcook your food
The old rumor that cooking your grill food until it’s well done is perfectly healthy, but this is not true at all. According to a recent survey at Harvard, well-done food (especially meat) contributed to a 15% increase in high blood pressure over meat that was cooked medium to medium-rare. Overcooking meat not only leads to more buildup of oxidative char but will ultimately reduce as much as 40% of the vitamins and minerals with well-done grilled meats.
Stick to direct heat
The best way to have cooked foods is to always stick with direct heat for the best results. Indirect heat is reserved for slow cooking and this is all about longer (and slower) cooking times. You’re not cooking a brisket for 5 hours when you want to have a hamburger in 5 minutes! The same principle applies to vegetables no matter what you happen to grill.
Trim off excess fat
All meat (including chicken) has fat that can be trimmed off and removed before you cook it. Although fat adds plenty of savory flavors and tends to keep your meat moist, a generous marinade soak will produce the same effect yielding tender and moist meat that doesn’t have natural fat that you may want to avoid.
Start with a clean grill
It might sound like a Noob mistake, but all of the leftover grease and fat that is covering a grill surface always needs to be removed before you use it. Most indoor grills are easy to clean with a sponge since these surfaces are non-stick, but outdoor grills grates need to be scrubbed clean with a wire brush or anything that will scrape off leftover excess fats and charred foods.
Not only do you risk making your grill food smell and taste bad, but you also risk rancid meat grease and oil that could be unpleasant tasting in general, if this coating has spoiled since your last BBQ. Always clean your grill grates before cooking on a grill.
Tips for grilling healthy foods
Once you’ve trimmed your meat, add a dry rub or opt for a marinade to give the meat a juicy flavor while it sears these liquids into your meat. The secret is to use marinades that include wine or beer, which not only lowers carcinogens by 40%, but the herbs and spices you add enhance the natural flavors you’ll get. A good marinade time is at least 6 hours before you start grilling in on direct heat.
Grilled chicken without the skin can be just as juicy when you put this meat in a marinade as well. Plus, the flavor that you get from BBQ grilling will add incredible flavor as long as you aren’t adding glazes that will build up unwanted sugar coatings. Be sure to allow the outside of your chicken to sear so that the juice inside doesn’t escape. Using a digital thermometer probe, chicken is done when it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. A good instant read thermometer goes along way if you don’t already have one.
Commonly, vegetables can be steamed inside BBQ-grade tin foil but that isn’t giving grilled veggies the justice they deserve. Lightly coat veggies with a flavored oil before you grill them so they don’t become dried out. That oil coating will add extra flavor and prevent the moisture that might escape if you didn’t take this additional healthy grilling step. Grilled vegetables also make tasty additions to any meal and provide loads of vitamins too.