Is Grilling Healthy?

Lisa Fabian
This content originally appeared on 

Grilling can be a healthy way to enjoy food. But when meat, poultry, or fish are grilled at high temperatures, chemicals known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced. Research shows that these may pose a cancer risk.

But there's no need to put away the grill! Follow these easy tips to help minimize risk.

  • Burn off any residue on the grill grates both before and after grilling by scrubbing it away with a stiff-bristled grill brush.
  • Choose lean meat cuts and trim excess fat. Cook large cuts slowly and at a lower temperature.
  • Use marinades. They can decrease HCA formation by more than 90 percent. Some of the ingredients in marinades even act as protective antioxidants.

How to tell when a grilled food is ready

Before removing food from the grill, measure its temperature by inserting a food thermometer into the thickest part. Make sure the thermometer's not touching any bone, fat, or gristle.

Here is a listing of minimum safe temperatures, as determined by the FDA.

Chicken breasts and whole poultry: 165degF

Ground meat: 160degF

Fish: 145degF

Beef steaks and roasts: 145degF

Lamb steaks, ribs, or leg: 145degF

Pork: 145degF

Click to See Our Sources

The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen Grilling Cookbook ($29.95, Hearst Books, 2013)