Green Grilling

By Jodi Helmer

Seventy-seven percent of North American households own an outdoor grill, and almost half light up the barbecue twice a week during the summer, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association. All that grilling takes a toll on the environment, but you can lessen the impact of your summer cookouts.

Cook with propane or natural gas. Propane grills produce three times less greenhouse gas than charcoal grills.

Choose better charcoal. If you can’t switch to a gas grill, swap self-starting briquettes—often made with coal dust and doused in air-polluting chemicals—for charcoal made from bamboo or sustainably sourced wood. Look for brands certified by the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program.

Dampen the flames. A lingering fire reduces coals to ashes, leaving no fuel for the next cookout. To preserve coals, close the grill vents as soon as the last chicken breast is claimed.

Clean green. Scrape the grill while it’s still hot to remove most of the grime. To make it sparkle, look for nontoxic, biodegradable grill cleaners, such as Simple Green Heavy Duty BBQ & Grill Cleaner and SoyClean BBQ Grill Cleaner