Reporter: Helen Wellings

Now a story for all BBQers, meat and fish eaters, if you overcook your meat and fish, like it well-done, or find the char-grilled or fried burnt bits delicious the next story will make you think again. Eating those blackened bits could be very dangerous. Alarming new evidence shows burnt or overcooked meat is definitely linked to cancer - twice as likely to cause it than previously thought. Helen Wellings with important warnings and a chef who can show you how to cook and BBQ for best and safe results

Zoe Wilson, dietician from Healthy Food Guide said "Just be careful and don't burn your meat."

Kim Terakes "We are going to cook the perfect steak. Helen you would know so much better than me the difference between caramelisation like that and those layers of black charcoal which are really bad for you."

For meat-eaters it's the ultimate taste sensation a juicy, pink, LIGHTLY chargrilled steak or sausage and expert BBQ cook Kim Terakes, author of Aussie BBQ cook books, is going to teach us how to cook to perfection

"These steaks are done they are perfectly caramelised to me that is the perfect banger - they are just nicely brown, cooked all the way through which is important for a sausage." Said Kim

Not like this typical Aussie BBQ fare a dry charcoal coating that's proving to be a downright health hazard.

"In Australia, I think we are particularly vulnerable because of the way we actually barbeque our meats and cook it to well-done style. Unfortunately it tastes better but it's certainly not better for our health." Said DR Karen Coates

New evidence shows a fiery hot barbeque plate or griller with dripping fat increasing the heat and smoke can lead to highly dangerous steak, sausage, chicken and fish.

Frying or grilling meat or fish at very high temperatures, so you overcook or burn it, causes a chemical change in protein. The sugars and amino acids of muscle tissue convert into chemicals that are potentially cancer causing

And here's the proof. Scientists at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, in a scientific FIRST - genetically modified a batch of mice so they produced human-type enzymes, to test how PEOPLE, rather than just mice, would react to charred meat.

"It exposes the mice to burnt crusts of meat, so certainly things that we would be getting from our barbeques and our pan-fried grilled meats and it looks at a 80% increase of bowel cancer in those human like mice that we have been experimenting with." Said DR Karen Coates

An astounding result - the human-like mice developed 3 times as many malignant tumours in the colon as the other mice an increase in intestinal cancers from 31% to 80%. Medical Practitioner, Dr Karen Coates says we must stop OVERcooking.

"There have been 27 studies on human health and the relationship between red meat particualrly but overcooked meat in general. And it's implications in really sinister diseases like breast cancer, bowel cancer, rectal cancer, type 2 diabetes."

"It is Ok to have a bit of golden colour, a few little light marks on the meat but you really don't want to have that black burnt crust on the outside. We are talking fish beef lamb chicken pork, sausages hamburgers. Fruit and vegetables are OK because they don't have the amino acids in the protein so they don't actually form these compounds but anything from an animal you need to be careful about overcooking." Zoe Wilson, dietitian from Healthy Food Guide said

"You really do need to clean the BBQ properly. Get the plates off; give them a good scrape with a paint scraper. Wash with soapy water, some people rinse with water with a bit of vinegar in it. And then just seal with a bit of vegetable oil of canola oil because a lot of vermin can get onto the BBQ, yes all sorts of nasties, cockroaches, rats." Kim Terakes

Kim Terakes' perfect sausages dos and don'ts

"You don't need oil for sausages, what you don't do is put them on the chargrill over high heat and poke them all the time with a fork so the fat can run out ignite onto the naked flame and you get the perfect Australian sausage which is carcinogenic, black and charcoal on the outside and still raw in the middle

The best way for snags is on the flat grill over low heat - keep turning to avoid the nasty charred bits.

Don't poke them with a fork, use tongs and it's that simple. To me that is the perfect banger. They are just nicely brown, cooked all the way through which is important for a sausage. And they're not raw on the inside and black on the outside

And now for the perfect steak, first make sure it's at room temperature, so it cooks evenly. We have the oil on the steaks some salt and pepper the BBQ is clean and it's nice and hot. You put it on a tepid BBQ it will stick. It's nice and hot. There is not a lot of fat on that meat to drip down and the most important thing Helen is to turn the steak ONCE not 20 times, not 30 times. Because we are only turning the steaks once, these will be nicely caramelized and that is in no way burnt or carcinogenic.

The steaks are done, perfectly caramelized on the outside but listen to the rest of Kim's important advice.

Yum. That whole process has taken no more than 10 minutes. I'm putting them on a clean plate not the plate they came to the BBQ on with the bloody juices on there. They need to REST for a couple of minutes. Just some foil loosely covered. Don't scrimp it down or the meat will keep steaming. Or a clean teatowel on the top, leave it for 5 minutes and I reckon they'll be just about perfect." Kim concluded

Absolutely perfect not at all overcooked.


* Kim Terakes.

Australia's biggest BBQ club at:

* Dr Karen Coates

Healthy Life Media Pty Ltd

PO Box K225, Haymarket NSW 1240