You’ve been warned that exposing animal protein (meat) to open flames (a grill) can produce carcinogens. Well, break out the charcoal: New data show that marinating meat in beer before grilling kicks those cancer-causing agents to the curb. But: The type of beer you use matters.

When University of Portugal researchers marinated pork in black ale for four hours then charcoal-grilled it to well done, carcinogens were cut 53%, compared with just 13% and 25%, respectively, with regular and alcohol-free pilsners. Clearly, black ale’s the ticket.

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Why? “Applying antioxidant-containing beverages to meat before grilling reduces the formation of carcinogenic compounds,” says study head Isabel Ferreira, Ph.D. “And black beer’s darker specialty malts have more antioxidants.”