The one smell that signals summer around our house is the smoky goodness of barbeque. Outdoor cooking encourages us to have friends over, sit outside on our deck, and let the kids do their thing while the parents enjoy cold beverages and adult conversation. While I've thought about the health effects of eating grilled foods, I admit I haven't given too much thought to the environmental effects of grilling until I recently read an article in my local newspaper's food section about green grilling. With outdoor cookouts already on our social calendar, it is time to pay attention.
Thankfully, we don't have to give up our grills just yet. Besides the most obvious ways to green your grilling routine (like using a propane grill and avoiding lighter fluid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions) there are other steps an Earth-conscious cook can make.
One thing I learned is there is such a thing as eco-friendly charcoal. If you love the smoked taste of grilling with charcoal, you can look for charcoal is made sustainably and without added chemicals. Look for brands that are Forest Stewardship Council or Rainforest Alliance SmartWood certified.
Low fat meats aren't just heart- smart, they are actually better for the planet too. When fat cooks off and drips down through the grates of your grill, the resulting smoke and flame-ups can deposit carcinogenic hydrocarbons back into your food. You definitely don't want to serve that up as a side dish. Try trimming off the fat or buying lean meats.
If you are grilling for a group, consider using reusable plates, silverware, and napkins to reduce waste. Keep a bin designated for cans and bottles next to the trash so there's no excuse not to recycle.
I don't know about you but all this talk of grilling is making me hungry! Do you have your own tips for greener grilling?