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4 Common Grilling Habits that are Putting Your Health at Risk!

These 4 common grilling habits could take your summer gathering from sizzle to fizzle!

Summer grilling is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the warmer seasons in Canada. There’s just no denying how enticing the sizzle, aromas, and unmistakable flavors of foods cooked over fire can be. But, have you ever wondered if your grilling habits are healthy? We’re not talking about what you grill, but rather how you grill.

You might not realize it, but some very common grilling habits are actually bad for your health. Here are four common grilling practices that you might want to reconsider the next time you fire up the BBQ.

Not Preheating Long Enough

Preheating your grill isn’t just done to make foods cook better or to prevent them from sticking. Giving your grill time to get up to the correct temperature is actually a necessary step in protecting your food from bad bacteria.

According to a 2013 study done in the UK, the typical outdoor grill contains 1.7 million microbes per 100cm sq. That gives the surface you’re about to place your food upon a whopping 124% more germs than a toilet seat!

The best way to kill any lingering bacteria is to fire up at least 20 minutes before placing your food onto the grill.


Skipping Marinades

backyard grilling

By now, you’ve likely heard that charring meats can carry certain health risks. What you might not know is that there have been several studies conducted that show marinating meats prior to grilling can greatly reduce the carcinogenic risks associated with cooking at high heats.

“Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat, including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame.” (National Cancer Institute)

It has been discovered that different types of marinades, such as dark beers, Asian and Caribbean marinades, as well as honey-based BBQ sauces can reduce the formation of carcinogens formed by grilling.  That means, taking time to marinate not only makes your food taste better, but it can make it healthier as well.

Using Only 1 Set of Utensils

backyard grilling

Planning a big backyard BBQ, complete with ribs, chicken, burgers and dogs? Sounds delicious … and potentially dangerous. There’s always a risk of cross contamination when grilling different types of meat, but this risk is intensified when you grill them all with the same tongs, forks and spatulas. This is also true when using the same utensils to place raw meats onto the grill as you use to remove the meats once cooked.

The best solution is to ensure that you have different sets of BBQ utensils for the various foods being cooked.  If nothing else, ensure that you at least have one set for raw and another for cooked foods. This is also something to keep in mind when grilling vegetables and meats for a gathering.

BTW: While that bottle opener on your BBQ spatula may seem handy dandy, it’s also kind of gross when you think about it. Maybe don’t open your beer with a spatula that just flipped a not quite cooked burger.

Using a Wire Brush to Clean Your Grill

The dangers of wire BBQ brushes first came to light in a 2016 report by the CBC, where it was reported that the metal wires can come lose when the grill is being cleaned. These wires can cling to any food being cooked, and then swallowed, inevitably damage the throat and epiglottis. In some cases, the swallowed bristles can even damage the stomach or intestines.

The solution is to get rid of that wire brush and switch to a safer cleaning tool.


One of the best alternatives to a wire brush is a wood grill scrape, like this Master Chef Wood Grill Scrape from Canadian Tire! This paddle-like scraper is made of solid hardwood, providing you with a safe, natural way to clean your grill. One of the best features about these grill scrapes is that the wood conforms to the shape of your grill grates over time, for a more effective, customized fit.


Time to Make Your Summer Sizzle

This summer, want to help make your backyard entertaining sizzle! So, we’re giving away 5 sensational prizes every week in August, including a pair of Canadian Tire’s Master Chef Wood Grill Scrapes, and the grand prize –a Santa Paula Fire Pit! Visit our contest page to sign up now!

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