Tips for safe outdoor grilling

Try veggies on the grill for a healthy alternative to meat.

Tis’ the season to strike up the barbecue!

There are hundreds of grills and techniques used around the globe to prepare food. Grills differ by fuel source: charcoal, wood, and gas (propane), and techniques differ by the amount of heat the food is exposed to, placement of food on the grill or barbecue, and temperature.

These differences can be grouped into the primary technique: grilling vs barbecuing. Grilling is performed at temperatures of roughly 450 F (230 C) or higher. This culinary technique, which requires less cooking time, is used on a covered or uncovered grill and typically requires foods to be seared. Barbecuing requires more time because it involves less heat. The barbecue is typically covered, and barbecuing may involve smoking the food.

Direct grilling is used on open grills and requires high heat. This strategy is best for small, tender cuts that cook quickly, as well as steaks, pork chops, fish filets, and vegetables. Indirect methods are more common for tough cuts, whole birds, and smoking foods. The slow and low heat process allows the collagen within the protein to melt, making the final product tender.

What you grill is just as important as how you grill. Reducing the formation of cancer-causing compounds—heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—is critical to minimize cancer risk.

Risk is greatest with consumption of red and processed meats such as hamburgers and linked meats, as well as smoked meats. Therefore, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends the following:

• choosing lean, trimmed protein sources or plant-based foods most of the time;

• consuming less than 18 oz of cooked red and processed meats in each week;

• using low-sodium marinades and rubs to add salt-free flavor and reduce the formation of HCA and PAH compounds; and

• maintaining a clean grill.

Grilled Vegetable Medley

Time: Prep: 15 minutes; Grill: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings



1 lemon, juiced

3 tsp yellow mustard

3 T olive or avocado oil

1 T fresh parsley

1 oz shallot, diced

3 T red wine vinegar

2 fl oz water


18 spears asparagus, trimmed

1 large sweet bell pepper, halved

1 medium onion, halved

1 medium summer squash, halved

3 plum tomatoes, halved

6 cups fresh spinach leaves, reserve


1. Combine all ingredients for dressing in medium bowl. Divide the dressing between two bowls and chill in refrigerator until vegetables are prepared.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

3. Coat asparagus, peppers, onions, summer squash, and tomatoes with half of dressing and grill until lightly charred and tender, turning occasionally.

4. Remove all vegetables from the grill.

5. Julienne cooked onions and peppers.

6. Arrange 1 cup of the assorted grilled vegetables on top of a bed of the spinach leaves (1 cup per serving), and drizzle 1 T of dressing on each salad. Serve.

Nutrient Analysis per serving

Calories: 65; Total fat: 3 g; Saturated fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 42 mg; Total carbohydrate: 9 g; Dietary fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 0 g; Protein: 3 g

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