Outdoor barbecues are one of my favorite things about summer. Here are some tips to make the past-time a bit more eco-friendly.
There are four basic options when it comes to grilling: gas grills (natural gas or propane), electric grills, charcoal grills, and grilling on a wood fire.
- Gas is the most energy efficient, and natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and burns much cleaner than propane grills.
- If you do use charcoal, avoid petroleum based lighter fluids and self-lighting charcoal. Instead, try a charcoal chimney, and electric charcoal starter, or natural lighter fluids.
- Use a superior charcoal, such as natural charcoals and lump charcoal, which reduces pollution output but improves grilling experience.
- Reduce preheat times. Know how long it takes your grill to cook (it depends on the method), and correspond your cooking time with your grill.
- Clean your grill while it is still hot after you cook! Therefore, you do not need to increase preheating time. Then, when the grill is cool, use a mixture of baking soda to clean off the cooking grates. Clean your grill regularly. Build up will produce unnecessary smoke.
- Buy a high-quality grill that is energy-efficient and built to last.
- Use reusable dishes, utensils, and napkins. This will help save the earth, and even save money in the long run.
- If you do use plastic or paper cups, go for products made from 100 percent recycled materials. Also, provide markers at the drink counter so people can write their names on their cups and therefore not use more than one.
- Encourage recycling by putting out easily identifiable bins.
- Fill up pitchers of water, homemade lemonade and iced tea instead of buying quantities of personal-sized beverage containers.
- Veg-out! Grill locally grown veggies, and try from a fantastic selection of veggie burgers!
- If you do eat meat, or your guests do, invest in organic, sustainably raised wieners and hamburgers.
- Trim excess fat from meat. It will make the grilling healthier, reduce flare-ups, and reduce the release of harmful chemicals in the air.