Do you grill your steaks a little black? Pay attention then.
Black is risky. Toxins. Carcinogens. Cancer.
But a Kansas researcher says there’s a scientific compound you can use to chase your grilled carcinogens away.
It is called “black pepper.”
You’ve probably had some already.
J. Scott Smith is a chemical and food scientist at Kansas State University. A few years ago, he scouted out how simple and tasty meat marinades, bought in most supermarkets, can reduce to nearly zero the level of carcinogens in overgrilled or overbaked meat.
Now new research he’s done, which Kansas State described in a statement this week, outlines how he’s found the same properties in pepper.
“What we’ve found is that things you can add containing a lot of anti-oxidents can block the process and add flavor,” he said.
The problems these spices solve are called heterocyclic amines. If you overgrill or overbake your meat at high temperatures, HCAs, cancer-causing compounds, can form on the surface.
What Smith has found is that the anti-oxidants in pepper (and in marinade spices) nearly eliminate the problem in grilled pork, fish, beef, chicken or other meats.
In addition to pepper, the most effective spices and herbs are from the mint family, which includes rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, sage and marjoram, and the myrtle family, which includes cloves and allspice.
So soak your meat in marinades for a few hours, if you like. Or add pepper, and if you don’t care for heavily peppered meat, blend with other spices.
And dig in.