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Tips for the Backyard Barbecue

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Summer weather in Wisconsin sets outdoor cooking in motion. 

According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association, eighty percent of us will be firing up the backyard grill for the season.

We love to grill, but all that grilled meat may be a concern, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). 

They say that when meat, poultry and fish are cooked with high temperatures – especially when well-done or charred – two cancer-causing compounds form. 

These substances, called heterocyclic amines (HCAs​) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), can damage DNA and may increase your risk for colon cancer.

There is good news: the AICR offers a few easy ways to enjoy safer grilling. Why not consider adding these tips to your summer fun routine?

1.Think low and slow. Slow down the cooking time with a low flame to limit burning and charring. Cut off any visible fat and any charred portions of the meat.

2.Partially precook. You can do this in the microwave, oven or stove to help reduce the amount of time the meat is exposed to high heat.

3.Sizzle with veggies and fruits. Boost cancer prevention with these foods on the menu and you can grill away without worry as the cancer-causing compounds related to grilled meat don't form on grilled veggies and fruits.

4.Mix up a marinade. Marinating meat has been shown to reduce formation of HCAs and just 30 minutes in the marinade can help. And the bonus — your guests will rave about the tenderness and added flavor from the marinade.

Here’s a classic marinade for vegetables, lean meat, poultry and fish

  • 1/2 cup rice or white wine vinegar
  • ​1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, thyme or oregano (or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

​Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Add food to be grilled and turn several times until all sides are coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, occasionally turning food so that marinade is evenly distributed. Drain and discard marinade. For more summer wellness recipes visit the AICR at


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