Even with July 4th in the rear-view mirror we have several weeks of good grilling weather ahead of us. For those who like to tailgate and aren’t afraid of snow, grilling holds year-round appeal.
Is grilling good or bad for the environment? Is it at least better than cooking in the kitchen?
You have four basic grill options: gas grills (natural gas or propane), electric grills, charcoal grills (using briquettes or “lump charcoal”), or grilling on a wood fire.
Cooking indoors or out, natural gas is a clean and efficient way to cook and more environmentally friendly than using electricity. Grilling with gas is also more energy-efficient than an indoor oven, since ovens take time to preheat.
In most cases, both charcoal and wood are less eco-friendly than your indoor gas or electric range.
When we grill or look to eat outside, we often include paper napkins, paper/plastic plates and perhaps the good ‘ole Red Solo Cup.
For those looking to stay green, forget the red (Solo or any other disposable cup) and consider the same plates, cups you use for inside cooking. Yes, it may feel less like a picnic-but the chemicals and by products used to produce paper and plastic cups are in no way more environmentally friendly then doing dishes.
What to eat?
If you insist on being a carnivore consider chicken. It takes about 2,000 gallons of water to produce four half-pound hamburgers. So opt for chicken over beef, and vegetables over chicken. (By and large we agree…what good is a BBQ without some red meat? For today though we’re talking about the environment, not the best cut of meat.)
If you have the grill fired up anyway, cook enough for multiple meals. Cook up extra veggies or meat to ad to salads for another day.
The Clean up:
Lets see. You already decided against disposable plastic spoons and forks. We used lean cuts of meat, prepared lots of left overs and used environmentally friendly cooking fuel. Time to clean the grill.
Simple! Make a paste using baking soda and water. Attack the grill grates while they are still warm and clean up will be a snap.
Now it is time for a nap!
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