Savvy cooks often use beer in cooking, and the right brew served on the side can compliment many a fine dish. But now, researchers report that marinating meat in beer prior to grilling could Can beer make grilled meats healthier?reduce the formation of substances suspected to be harmful.

Grilling meats at high temperatures creates substances known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which in some studies have been associated with increased risk for colorectal cancer.

Researchers from Portugal and Spain conducted experiments using beer as a marinade and measuring PAHs after grilling. Results of their tests are published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The researchers marinated pork for four hours in Pilsner beer, non-alcoholic Pilsner beer or black beer, and then grilled the samples to well-done on a charcoal grill.

According to the research report, black beer showed the highest inhibitory effect, reducing the formation of PAH by 53 percent, followed by non-alcoholic Pilsner beer at 25 percent reduction (finally, a use for non-alcoholic beer). Regular Pilsner beer provided a reduction of 13 percent. The researchers concluded that using beer marinades, particular dark beer, could provide a suitable mitigation strategy for PAHs in grilled meats.

Read more from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.