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Marinating meat in beer before putting on the BBQ can halve cancer causing chemicals

Scientist's advice is to baste meat in beer before grilling this summer in order to reduce risk of harmful chemicals forming during cooking

Rather than simply enjoying a good beer alongside the BBQ this summer, we should be using our cans to marinade the meat, scientists have said.

As well as adding some extra taste, basting the meat in beer before it hits the grill reduces the chance of potentially cancerous chemicals being formed during cooking, research suggests.

To carry out the study, researchers marinated pork for four hours (by which time chemical reactions on the surface of the meat had stopped) in three different types of beer - lager, non-alcoholic lager and a black beer.

The meat was then cooked to well done on a charcoal grill.

The results found that all of the beers reduced the levels of eight types of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), a chemical linked with cancer which forms when meat is cooked at very high temperatures.

The black beer proved most effective, cutting the levels by more than half, the researchers said. The non-alcoholic beer was the least effective, although it did still reduce levels.

“Thus, the intake of beer marinated meat can be a suitable mitigation strategy,” the team concluded, suggesting that the antioxidants in the beer make the surface of the meat resistant to PAHs.

The results were published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.