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Science tells us that food cooked over a charcoal barbecue is better than food cooked over gas

bbq1bA succession of hot sunny days has turned thoughts to outdoor cooking and the quality of the barbecue.  I always use charcoal, preferably in briquettes, but some of my friends use gas.  The gas ones are cleaner and easier to use, I admit.  I line my bbq with aluminimn foil before packing the charcoal. That way when it is finished and has cooled, I can wrap up the ash neatly into the foil to throw away. It also protects the BBQ to some extent.  Now there’s a report to back up what I have always supposed: that charcoal cooked food has more flavour.  Gavin Sacks, a food science professor at Cornell, points out that we enjoy both tastes and aromas, and charcoal brings its different aromas to the food. In addition to the five tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami, charcoal brings its aromas into the food, released when you bite into it. Their neurological signals mix with those of taste in your brain to give you the full package.  And while gas has its aromas, charcoal-cooked food has guaiacol, whose smoky, spicy flavour is associated with bacon. It’s an aroma produced when heat breaks down lignin, the resin that binds the cellulose in wood, and its presence gives a smoky spiciness beyond what gas can offer (read more reviews from smokeyhousebbq.com). So scatter out those charcoal briquettes, pour on a good dollop of lighting fluid, wait until the white tips take hold on the charcoal, then have yourself some of that incomparable outdoor taste.


One Response

  1. Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed when high temperatures are generated by grilling meat directly over an open flame i.e. charcoal. All red meats, fish and poultry produce chemicals which can cause cancer in animals. PHAs are also found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes. They are formed when fat is burned by dripping onto the charcoal and the resulting PHAs stick to the surface of the meat.
    However, you are quite correct and the cooked meats does taste very good.

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