Grilling your favourite meats can be the tastiest way to cook it but that delicious char can also be hazardous to your health. Using beer, wine, and liquors in cooking can give you a whole range of flavour profile. Beers and wines can add rich, caramel-like flavours or lively, floral notes, all with relatively minimal cooking time. Not just that, a recent study found that giving your meat a beer bath or simply marinating meat in beer prior to grilling helps block the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which have been linked to causing cancer.

When you grill your protein-filled foods, two types of chemical compounds can arise. These compounds are known carcinogens that live in that tasty char and the smoke that absorbs into the meat when fat drips onto the coals. All beers contain potentially tenderizing enzymes, but the type of beer you choose will have a dramatic impact on your food's flavour. Certain types of beer worked better than others (namely, the darker, presumably more antioxidant-rich beer had the best effect).

Beer on the other hand, helps reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats. Avoiding open flames and cooking meat on indirect heat, such as in a thick cast-iron pan, is also helpful for blocking the formation of PAHs and other cancer-causing compounds. If you’re avoiding alcohol and not a fan of beer or wine, on health grounds, citrus-based marinades have also been shown to help protect against free radical formation. You can swap those out for other tasty marinade or rub ingredients like herbs, spices, lemon juice, vinegar, and more.

Not only is marinating your meat a tasty choice, it’s also better for your health. Marinating meat using beer or wine reduces the carcinogens produced from grilling by 90 percent, compared to meat that’s not marinated. According to a study beer is faster at reducing HAs than red wine. It is best recommended to make your own marinades at home, as store-bought varieties often contain additives, including MSG. 

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