If you have ever noticed the huge displays of paper cups, plates and canned beverages that appear like magic in the grocery store each summer, then you may have trouble believing that the words “eco-friendly” and “cookout” should or could ever be used in the same sentence. With some planning, however, a BBQ can be a great opportunity to enjoy an environmentally friendly occasion with friends and family in the great outdoors. Mopfrog of Lunenburg offers some pointers to help green your grilling!
Think Local for the Menu
Instead of purchasing traditional, highly processed meats such as hot dogs and hamburgers, source the foods you will grill from local farmers who take pride in producing healthy, ethically grown meats, poultry, fruits and vegetables. For instance, instead hot dogs can be replaced with delicious brats and sausages made from grass-fed, hormone free beef and pork or juicy free-range chicken.
Opt for Less Meat
Another way to BBQ in a greener, yet delicious way is to take the focus away from meat and poultry and replace it with grilled fish from a local source. You may even want to remove meat entirely and opt to grill a variety of fresh, organically grown veggie slices to enjoy simply piled onto wraps, atop a smoky, grilled pizza, or chunked and speared with cubes of tofu for tasty kabobs. Chilled wedges of fresh, local melons or fruits for desert are also a delicious and healthy option.
Grilling responsibly is another way to lessen impact on the earth’s resources and the environment. Although gas grills do use fossil fuels, they can still be a wise choice for an eco-friendly cookout, because they make it possible to cook foods quickly, require minimal cleanup and emit less smoke and particulates while cooking than other outdoor cooking options. When choosing a gas grill to purchase, choose one specifically designed for maximum efficiency and make sure that the tanks that fuel it are refillable ones, instead of single use.
If you prefer to use charcoal, steer away from overly processed, additive laden briquettes and choose to cook your foods with lump charcoal, which is made from wood and has no fillers or additives, such as petroleum based ignition agents. Additionally, choose to light your charcoal cooking fire with tinder and kindling, instead of dousing it with commercially produced lighting fluids.