Many people are grill fans, even fanatics, but at the same time we are all more aware of the impact our every action has the environment. Therefore, the question is; what is the most eco-friendly method grilling?
We have all read the gas grill reviews and the charcoal grill reviews and seen the pieces on electric grills. But let’s take that information and look at it through a green looking glass
and see what it all means.
Gas grills use either propane or natural gas, and both of these are a non-renewable fossil fuel, meaning once it’s gone, its gone. These grills do work quicker than most options and can have less cleaning involved which means fewer chemicals necessary. They also throw out less smoke when in use. Therefore, environmentally, if you want a gas grill, head for a high quality one which is energy efficient and has a refillable gas tank.
Charcoal grills, and with them wood burning grills, are the ones which are preferred for the taste they give wood. But charcoal released as much as double the amount of carbon as a gas grill. added to this, charcoal and lighter fluid used to ignite some of them, are significant contributors to ground-level ozone, according to the EPA. They also put particulate matter into the air which can affect people especially with respiratory conditions. On the turn side, using lump charcoal, as opposed to briquettes and a charcoal chimney instead of lighter fuel, the carbon cycle result of the grill is much more neutral.
Electric grills are a good green option if you home runs on green electricity, perhaps solar power. Otherwise, they have a high carbon footprint, though they do have the speed element which is present in gas grills.
Some of the newer styles of grills which are greener than traditional options include pellet grills, as well as hybrid grills. These use a little electricity, small amounts of charcoal and wood for flavouring to get a better all-round taste, but are hard to find.
There are a range of other tips to make your barbeque party a little more environmentally friendly, some of which are surprisingly basic.
- Don’t use throw away plates and cups and single serve utensils and napkins as this increases the amount of rubbish you are sending to landfill. Instead, use washable crockery. Plus you can collect leftovers in the fridge to use the next day
- Plan the meal with environmental impact in your thoughts; eliminate beef and opt for chicken or dish, consider larger portions of vegetables instead of side dishes. Added to this, grill food which can be used for other meals, therefore increasing the amount of meals you get from a single use of the grill
- Try to use organically and pasture raised products wherever possible. Labels on food will guide you to this as well as to making sure your seafood is from sustainable sources.
- Prepare meat beforehand to remove excess fat by searing which means you will not need to cook so long on the grill and also have less chance of food sticking, which will require less cleaning products to remove.
- If you do go for beef and have chosen a grass-fed option, take care when cooking this as it can be over-cooked easier than grain-fed beef. It is recommended to sear the meat first then grill on a lower temperature
There are lots of little changes which can be made to grilling habits which will allow you to continue with a favor summer pass-time, but also do a little more for the environment.