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The Number 1 Reason to Marinate Your Meat in Beer

March 26, 2014

Photo credit: StockFood

Cooking with beer is an excellent idea, not only for the bottle you’re apt to crack open while a steak sizzles away. A beer marinade tenderizes meat and adds another layer of flavor—that you already knew—but a new study finds a beer marinade might also help combat nasty substances and help keep you healthy.

The findings, which appear in the current issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” suggest that marinating meat in beer helps reduce the eventual formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (“PAHs,” for short) on your dinner.

Why you care: PAHs are “a group of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil and gasoline.” They’re associated with cancers in laboratory animals and found in cigarette smoke. But PAHs can also form on meat when it’s cooked at very high temperatures, such as on a backyard grill. Yikes.

Marinating meat in beer can help guard against this formation of PAHs. Researchers tested three pork samples that they had marinated for four hours in different beers—a Pilsner, a non-alcoholic Pilsner, and a black beer—and subsequently cooked over a hot charcoal grill. They found that black beer most successfully inhibited the development of PAHs, but all three demonstrated a positive effect against the substance.

“Thus, the intake of beer-marinated meat can be a suitable mitigation strategy,” the researchers said in a press release.

Wins all around! Worth, say, cracking a celebratory beer over!

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