WOSA’s braaied steaks (or braii as they hilariously misspelt it) have come home to roost with a vengeance. The generic marketing body has made meat grilled on an open fire a feature of their marketing efforts for SA wine for the last couple of years. The low point was rolypoly media manager André Morgenthal braaiing reindeer inside the Arctic Circle. They even commissioned and sold a book on the subject, appropriating industry resources to compete unfairly with SA authors.
The folly of their campaign is exposed in the latest edition of the Economist magazine who note “grilling meat gives it great flavour. This taste, though, comes at a price, since the process creates molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which damage DNA and thus increase the eater’s chances of developing colon cancer.” Time to cancel the Day of SA Wines & Braai in St. Petersburg on May 27 if not in solidarity with Ukraine, then for health and safety reasons.
A class action from US colon cancer victims is just what SA wine needs at the moment. Not. The double irony is that to ameliorate the problem, marinade the meat in beer. Dark beer. The Economist continues “a group of researchers led by Isabel Ferreira of the University of Porto, in Portugal, think they have found a way around the problem. When barbecuing meat, they suggest, you should add beer.”
“One way of stopping PAH-formation, then, might be to apply chemicals called antioxidants that mop up free radicals. And beer is rich in these, in the shape of melanoidins, which form when barley is roasted.” The Portuguese braaimeisters found that “when cooked, unmarinated steaks had an average of 21 nanograms (billionths of a gram) of PAHs per gram of grilled meat. Those marinated in Pilsner averaged 18 nanograms. Those marinated in black beer averaged only 10 nanograms. Tasty and healthy too, then.”
Pinotage is also a potent source of antioxidants. So could marinating meat in Pinotage ameliorate the problem? Can Pinotage kill PAHs? Perhaps the Pinotage Association should deploy some of their ABSA holiday fund (surely sponsorship? ed.) to investigate.