Learn the ways to make grilling an even more environmentally friendly way to cook.
Few things can beat a relaxing evening spent in the yard gathered around the grill in the company of friends and family. Cooking food over an open fire dates back centuries. Despite the various modern means of cooking food, the combination of a metal grill and some flames remains one of the more tasty ways to prepare meals.
Grilling is a relatively easy concept to master, but environmentalists may question if firing up the barbecue is a smart choice. Rest assured that while the environmental impact of grilling is negligible, there still are ways to make it even more eco-friendly.
Grilling purists may prefer charcoal to gas, feeling charcoal more effectively produces that familiar smoky flavour, but environmental experts say that gas grills may be better for the environment. A study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy found that gas grills generate 5.6 pounds of carbon dioxide per hour, while charcoal grills produce 11 pounds per hour. Furthermore, the charcoal briquettes used on many grills are made from more than just coal. They may contain wood byproducts, starch, chemical additives, and lighter fluid. For those who insist on charcoal, use natural lump charcoal, which is made from coal and little else.
Another step to take is to invest in a quality grill. Replacing a cheap grill every few years can be harmful to the environment, especially when you consider how many components go into the construction of a grill and the packaging required for shipping long distances. Quality products last longer, and that durability benefits the planet.
In addition to buying a better grill, you must take good care of the grill and maintain it so it works optimally.
In certain ways, grilling is already an eco-friendly activity, as it doesn’t lend well to prepackaged foods and it enables you to turn off the stove while reducing your electricity consumption. In some instances, you may not even need to fire up the barbecue at all. If you’re spending the evening by a chiminea or a fire pit, you can skewer a couple of hot dogs and cook them right over the flames.
Do not offset the benefits of grilling by creating a bigger environmental hazard in meal preparation and service. Minimize the use of disposable plates, napkins, cups, and plastic cutlery at your backyard event. Rather than single-serve cans of soda or iced tea, use large pitchers or bulk-sized containers. Insist guests discard all recyclable materials in the proper recycling receptacles.
Promptly wrapping up leftovers is another way to make grilling even greener. Refrigerating foods means you will have good meals for the rest of the week and will minimize spoiled food that would otherwise end up in the garbage.
When shopping for foods to toss on the barbie, choose locally grown foods and sustainably raised and harvested meats and poultry. Serve generous portions of locally produced vegetables to stretch food even further.
Grilling is a great way to cook in an eco-friendly way if you make a few changes for the better.