Green BBQing: Gas or Charcoal

green bbq?

Image by mache

I know it’s a little early in the year to be pulling out the BBQs (unless you live somewhere like California or Florida), but none-the-less, green BBQing is something you might want to think about before you dust off the ole’ barbie (sorry, too many friends from Australia).  But, which is considered the “greener” way to BBQ: gas or charcoal?

Based on air pollution alone, natural gas grills are definitely the greener way to BBQ.  For about an hour of grilling a gas grill puts out approximately 5.6 lbs of carbon dioxide, while grilling with charcoal briquettes puts out around 11 lbs.  Now I know the die-hard outdoor cook (like my husband) probably doesn’t care about factoring that in, because they are more interested in taste.  But for the casual BBQer or the one who wants to cut down on their carbon footprint, natural gas is the recommended choice.

If you really MUST have your charcoal grill, then I have been told you should get one that you can completely close when you are done grilling.  This cuts off the oxygen to the fire, thus putting it out and allowing you to save the remaining charcoal for the next BBQ.  No reason to waste all that charcoal and create more pollution if you don’t need to, right?

Don’t forget to factor into that the use of lighter fluid.  If you use lighter fluid you have a much larger increase in BBQ pollution.  Did you know on average over 14,000 tons of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are released into the atmosphere as a result of burning approximately 46,000 tons of lighter fluid?

But don’t get too down…whether you grill with a gas or charcoal grill, you are probably going to save money, save gas, lower emissions and probably enjoy your food a whole lot more.  Why?  Just think how much money, time, fuel and energy is spent by loading up your family and taking them out to your favorite BBQ joint.  It’s better to just cook at home….and let’s face it, BBQing freshly prepared meat and/or vegetables tastes a lot better too.

1 Comment

  • Liz

    Thanks – that was quick and easy!
    Getting a bbq on the weekend, wasn’t sure which was better. I would have guessed charcoal, but clearly wrong.



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