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Submitted by on Dec 26, 2021

Grilling is a method of cooking in which dry heat is given to the food’s surface from above, below, or to the side. Grilling uses a lot of direct, radiant heat and is best for fast cooking meat and vegetables. Grilled food is prepared on a grill (an open wire grid, such as a gridiron, with a heat source above or below), in a cast iron or frying pan, or in a grill pan (similar to a frying pan, but with raised ridges to mimic the wires of an open grill).

When utilizing a grill, heat is transferred to the food mostly by thermal radiation. When utilizing a grill pan or griddle, heat is transferred through direct conduction. Broiling is the term used in the United States when the heat source for grilling originates from above. The pan that contains the food in this situation is known as a broiler pan, and heat is transferred by thermal radiation.

Food may reach temperatures of above 260 °C (500 °F) when grilled over direct heat. A chemical reaction known as the Maillard reaction imparts a characteristic roast aroma and taste to grilled meat. When foods reach temperatures of over 155 °C (310 °F), the Maillard reaction begins.


High-temperature cooking of beefpork, poultry, and fish has been linked to the development of carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines, benzopyrenes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The development of these compounds may be slowed by marinating. Although the fat and fluids lost by grilling might lead to drier food, grilling is sometimes touted as a healthy alternative to cooking with oils.

When meat is grilled at high temperatures, the cooking process can produce carcinogenic compounds, just as it might with any high-temperature frying or baking. It’s considered that two mechanisms are at blame. When amino acids, carbohydrates, and creatine combine at high temperatures, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are generated. When fat and fluids from meat cooked over an open fire fall onto the fire, generating flames, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are generated. These flames include PAHs, which stick to the meat’s surface.

When grilling meat, however, it is feasible to dramatically minimize carcinogens or at least lessen their effect. HCA and PAH generation has been demonstrated to be reduced by garlic, rosemary, olive oil, cherries, and vitamin E. V-shaped grill components angled at an angle can help drain and transfer meat juices and dripping fat away from the heat source.

Heat sources on the top (as in many electric or gas ovens) or on the side (vertical grilling) prevent fat dripping from the meat from burning and the meat from coming into contact with the flames. Another technique is to precook the meat in the microwave, which can limit HCA development by minimizing the amount of time the meat is exposed to high heat when cooking.

Gridironing is the process of cooking meats or other dishes over a heat source with a grill hung above it. Outdoor grilling is done using charcoal (actual wood or premade briquettes), wood, or propane gas. Direct radiant heat is used to cook the food. Some outdoor grills come with a cover that allows them to be used as smokers or for grilling and barbecuing. A gridiron is a term used to describe a hanging metal grating.

Although “barbecue” refers to the cooking of meat over indirect heat and smoke in the United States, it can also apply to outdoor grilling on a gridiron. Barbecue can refer to the grilled food itself, a specific sort of barbecued meat known as Southern barbecue, the grilling apparatus used to prepare the food (a barbecue grill), or the social event of preparing and consuming such cuisine (a barbecue party) (which may also be called a cook-out or braai).

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