Is Eating Well Done Steak Bad for You?

It is quite interesting to see how people like their meat. Some people want it rare and bloody, while others prefer a balance of cooked perfection and raw freshness. While you may certainly have your own preferences, you should know if there is a prescribed way of eating or cooking steak. Many people say well done steak is something you should always avoid. Is eating well-done steak bad for you? Is there anything from health experts to support the opinion? Let's find out more about it.

Is Eating Well Done Steak Bad for You?

Yes, it may well be the case because well done meat is likely to contain carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). However, there is no difference in terms of nutrients – iron, zinc, protein, etc. – when you eat it cooked medium rare or well done.

When you grill, barbecue, or fry your meat, this leads to the formation of HCAs, which is the result of creatine and amino acids reacting at high temperatures. Studies show that HCAs can be dangerous because they cause colon tumors in animals. You increase your risk of developing colon polyps by increasing your intake of certain HCAs.

Note: Medium rare or not, you will be better off limiting your intake of red meat, such as lamb, beef, goat, and pork. Studies have confirmed that people who eat red meat are at a greater risk for type-2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and coronary heart disease. Limit your intake of red meat under 18oz a week.

Things to Remember When Eating Well-Done Meat

Is well done steak bad for you? Well this is something that needs more research, but it is a fact that excessive consumption of red meat is going to cause serious health complications overtime. However, you can take certain steps to lower the formation of HCAs when consuming well-done meat. For instance:

  • Make smaller meat portions to spend less time grilling. Leaving those meat portions for extended time on the grill encourage the formation of HCAs.
  • Consider pre-cooking meats that need longer cooking times. Be sure to drain away the juices first and then finish on the barbecue. A significant reduction in HCAs is noticed when you microwave your meat for a couple of minutes prior to grilling.
  • Remember to marinate meat for about 10 minutes before grilling. Ingredients like citrus juice, vinegar, spices, and vegetable oil significantly reduce HCAs formation.
  • Be sure to cook your meat at a lower temperature. It means you should start cooking when the charcoal turns to low-burning embers.
  • Use fresh chopped rosemary and garlic before grilling because it helps block the formation of carcinogen.

Tips to Prepare the Most Prefect Steak

Is well done steak bad for you? It could be considering the more potential carcinogens it contains. Different people have different preferences when it comes to preparing the steak, but you can make it much more healthy and delicious by keeping a few points in mind.

1. Let It Come to Room Temperature

In case you are taking the steak out of the fridge, you should leave it for a while until it comes to room temperature. It may take up to an hour or so, but this step really helps improve the quality of steak.

2. Cut It Right

You should consider the thickness when cutting the meat. The best thing is to keep it less than two inches because it ensures that your steak gets the perfect char on the outside when the interior reaches the right temperature.

3. Salt It Right

Be sure to sprinkle the steak with salt at least a few hours before you grill. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and put your steak on it. Using the right amount of salt will ensure water retention, providing you with juicy meat. Remember to pat dry it with paper towels before you place it on the grill. Salt it once again, preferably with kosher salt for better results.

4. Use Pepper

You should be using the right amount of pepper to add some flavor and crunch to it. Opt for a combination of medium, fine, and big pieces. You can do it by putting whole peppercorns in a plastic bag and crushing them using a heavy skillet.

5. Prepare a Two-Zone Fire

 This is important because your steak will work perfectly when you have a hot side to sear the meat as well as a not-so-hot side to finish cooking your meat. You can do it easily with a gas grill. Make use of your tongs to manage things better when cooking over coals.

6. Know When the Coals Are Ready

You need to have the idea of when the coals are ready after the flames have died down. You should be using the 2-2 rule – it means you should take your hand two inches about the hottest part of the coals and see if you can hold your position for two seconds only. If that is the case, you can start grilling.

7. Manage Flare Ups Properly

Not being able to manage flare-ups properly is only going to lead to carcinogenic steak. Ensure that you do not utilize a spritz bottle of water for this task. Dousing the flames in this way is only going to kick up ash. The best thing is to slide the meat to a flare-free area using the tongs and wait for the fire to subside.

8. Get Real Charcoal

You will always be better off using real charcoal instead of manufactured briquettes. Hardwood lump charcoal is usually better because it burns faster and hotter. Keep in mind that you are grilling because you want your steak to have a slight taste of smoke, not chemicals.

9. Be Patient

It is important that you give the meat some rest after grilling even if it means waiting for 10 minutes. This helps spread the juices and relax its fibers. You are going to love the flavor even more.

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