60-Second Science

Beer Marinade Cuts Grilling Carcinogens

Carcinogens that form when grilling meat were lowered up to 50 percent in pork chops marinated in beer versus those left unmarinated. Christopher Intagliata reports


Grillmasters already know that a cold brew is a fine companion at the barbecue. So here's some science to toast to—marinating meat in beer actually cuts the number of potentially cancer-causing compounds that form, as chops sizzle on the grill. So says a report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. [Olga Viegas et al, Effect of Beer Marinades on Formation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Charcoal-Grilled Pork]
The study started out like any barbecue—with pork chops, charcoal, and beer. Researchers marinated the chops for four hours in either regular or nonalcoholic pilsner, or a dark ale. Then they fired up the grill. After cooking, they analyzed the chops for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are found in smoked and grilled meats, and may up your risk of cancer.

Turns out dark ale cut PAH levels in half, compared to unmarinated meat. The extra antioxidants in dark beer may be the trick, researchers say. Because PAHs form with the help of free radicals, and antioxidants could slow down that process. So if you're health-conscious, but love to grill? A simple beer marinade might let you have your steak…and eat it, too.

—Christopher Intagliata

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Starting Thanksgiving

Enter code: HOLIDAY 2015
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >


Email this Article