There’s one caution if you use a charcoal grill this holiday to cook up your favorite meat.
Joan Flekner, the administrative coordinator of the Cancer Information Service at the University of Iowa’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, says the relative risk from developing cancer from grilling is very low. But there could be a problem when the fat drips off the meat and onto the charcoal.
The cloud that arises from the charcoal is called "heterocyclic amines" which have been shown to cause cancer.
Flekner says there are some things you can do to prevent the problem. You can microwave the meat for as little as two minutes or marinate the meat for 30 minutes before grilling and that will prevent 90-percent of the heterocyclic amines.
Another remedy involves involves the cooking surface. You can cover the grill with aluminum foil and poke a hole so the fat drips down, but the cloud doesn’t get on the meat.
Flekner says it is also a good idea to avoid letting flames touch the food directly, and remove all charred or burnt portions before eating.