How to Make Eco-Friendly Barbecue

Heat waves have been making their way across the U.S. And the last thing anyone wants to do on a hot day is spend their evening cooking over a hot stove. Enter the greatest invention known to (man)kind…the barbecue. Once the sun has been ushered into your fair land, it’s time to think watermelons, macaroni salad, local breads and cheese, and, of course, barbecued food. Traditional barbecuing with coal briquettes and mass amounts of meat provided by Costco, isn’t very environmentally-friendly, but these simple options are sure to lower your carbon footprint when it comes to ‘cueing.

1. Natural gas is more earth-friendly than coal briquettes, but it does require that you have a gas line in your backyard, and gas grills tend to be more expensive than their coal counterparts. Also, some people are just plain deadest against gas, arguing that the old-school barbecue is the way to go.

2. If you don’t want a gas grill, or don’t have access to a gas line, consider propane, a popular option for camping. Target offers a basic propane Weber barbecue for only $49.99.

3. If you’re still dead-set on the smoky goodness that comes from charcoal grilling, consider these more friendly options: natural hardwood briquettes, natural lump charcoal, as well as other options.

4. Another way to make your traditional barbecue more eco-friendly: skip the briquettes doused in chemicals to make lighting the fire a snap, and instead use a chimney starter to light the fire. This Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter can light your fire for $14.99.

5. Skip the bulk meat, and grill up some organic poultry, wild or sustainable seafood, or grass-fed beef. Better yet, go vegetarian and serve up some tangy veggie kebabs. Vegetarian food cuts down on your barbecue’s carbon footprint, as well as the price.

6. Just because it’s a barbecue, doesn’t mean you have to fill the trash with disposable plates, cups and cutlery. Make sure your accessories are reusable, compostable, or biodegradable.

7. Plan your shopping such that you minimize the travel time required to get all of your food and supplies. And remember to bring your own bags!