Grilling or frying meat creates cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HAs). Actually, cooking any food increases HAs but meat is particularly bad because high temperatures convert the amino acids and sugars in muscle tissue into HAs.
There are substances which are known to mitigate HAs, such as olive oil, lemon juice, garlic marinade, and red wine, and now researchers have added another: beer.
Six hours of marinating in beer or red wine slashed levels of two types of HA by up to 90 per cent compared with unmarinated steak (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, DOI: 10.1021/jf801837s).
For a third type of HA, beer was more efficient at reducing its content than wine, cutting levels significantly in 4 hours, while wine took 6. Beer contains more water-retaining sugars than wine and Ferreira says that may hinder the transport of water-soluble molecules to the steak’s surface, where high heat converts them into HAs. Tasters also preferred the smell, taste and appearance of beer-marinated steak.
Of course they prefered the smell, taste and appearance of beer-marinated steak, duh, it’s beer!