Let’s face it. A weekend or family gathering is often not complete without the barbecue grill! Unfortunately, grilling has received a bad wrap for several reasons, one of which is concerns related to the fuels burned and the gases that these appliances emit. These gases are not healthy for you or the environment.
So what are you supposed to do? There is something to be said about the taste and smell of food cooked on the grill. Fortunately, there are ways to still grill your food and be eco-friendly at the same time. In what follows, are tips to consider to minimize your impact on the environment.
1. Stop using regular charcoal briquettes
Regular charcoal briquettes are still commonly used in the U.S.A. They contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and other products such as treated wood, nitrates, and borax, that you definitely do not want to be eating or breathing in.
2. Use organic lump charcoal instead
If you really prefer charcoal for grilling, be sure to buy and use organic products. For example, you may have heard of the Big Green Egg. It functions as a grill, smoker, and an oven. It has a number of eco-friendly benefits, including the use of lump charcoal that needs no toxic lighter fluid, produces hardly any ash, and the ability to save unburned charcoal by closing the air vents. This saves natural resources and money.
The Big Green Egg lump charcoal also burns hotter and only contains American oak and hickory hardwood. It contains no harmful fillers or additives like manufactured briquettes do.
3. Use organic lump charcoal from sustainable farming practices
The Organic Charcoal Company not only uses organic charcoal made from all-natural wood, they use trees that are coppiced. This means that they are not clear-cutting forests, but instead are cutting the trees down near ground level without actually cutting them right down. This allows those same trees to continue to produce new growth.
To avoid the use of lighter fluids, which emit harmful chemicals on your food and into the air, consider using a chimney starter. The chimney starter is usually a metal cylindrical container that has a grate under which you put some newspaper, and then you put the unlit charcoal on top. When you light up the newspaper, it then lights up the charcoal above.
4. Use gas grills
If you want to choose the most eco-friendly method to grill, gas is the way to go. Grills fueled by propane or natural gas burn clean, despite these fuels being non-renewable. Because they burn cleaner, it results in less carbon dioxide emissions into the air. Gas is more energy efficient than using electric grills or your oven (unless you use solar or wind power for your electrical needs).