potomac bbq July 12 2008 Photo By chadmagieraIts late spring and as Memorial Day approaches many are firing up those grills. If there is one thing Americans love to do more than drinking, it would be grilling! Serving BBQ comes with pretty much every holiday from May to September. However, most people don’t realize BBQ-ing is actually quite polluting to air quality and toxic to one’s lungs. But grilling doesn’t mean you have to skip out on your eco-friendliness. And if you aren’t sure how to keep your BBQ as green as the Spring Trees, we have put together a quick guide on how to easily green your Memorial Day or any BBQ!

Using natural wood charcoal and hickory. Photo By cledry1) Natural Charcoal and Lighting Techniques: If you are using a charcoal grill be sure to use all natural and organic charcoal that does not contain the quick lighting chemicals. You can also use  wood briquettes which are all natural and will give your food that smokey taste. Either of these choices will leave your food without the burning of coal, petroleum products, sawdust, or limestone, which are all toxic. Also, since you won’t be using quick light charcoal, it may take extra time to light these. To combat this, try lightening your natural charcoal with a chimney starter.



Day 029 - 082408 Photo By remfan2) Opt for A Clean Burning Grill: Instead of using charcoal altogether, it is much more clean to use a natural gas, propane, or the best choice, an electric grill. All three of these style grills burn clean and do not add toxins to your foods. In fact, electric grills emit 99% less carbon monoxide and 91% less carbon dioxide than charcoal!! You can find these types of grills at any hardware or home store or of course online! However, if you miss that smokey BBQ taste of charcoal and wood, we suggest you look for the Hybrid Grill. You can cook with a combination of wood, charcoal, and gas. This will still provide your food with a smoke flavor but can switch over to natural gas! 

grilled veggies Photo By massdistraction3) Cut the Meat Out: Of course one of the easiest ways is to cut the meat out of your grill. There are plenty of great vegetarian and vegan options to grill. Including all sorts of veggie and soy meats like burgers, hot dogs, and ribs, but also marinated organic veggies and fruit! For a full guide to your vegan BBQ needs, including recipes and brand suggestions check out our Vegan BBQ Tips. And if you must have some meat, please purchase organic, free range light meats such as chicken or fish. Be sure and purchase all your veggies, fruit, and if you are using meat from local organic farms. 

1554 in a Fat Tire Pint Photo By mfajardo4) Organic and Local Beers: Great food is always made better with great beer! There are a number of great organic beers out there such as Peak Organic, North Coast Brewing Company, Samuel Smith’s, and Bison Brewing. My very favorite beer is the New Belgium Brewery which is a worker-owned wind powered and sustainable brewery in Colorado. The Brooklyn Brewery is also a wind powered brewery located in Brooklyn, NY. And as always its always a great idea to buy from your local micro breweries. To find microbreweries near you check out this great guide

Recycled napkin and biodegradable fork from Native Foods in Westwood, Los Angeles Photo By greenlagirl5) Use Reusable Settings: If you are hosting your BBQ at home or in a local park, remember to use re-usable plates and silverware. There really is not reason to use disposable plastic or paper settings, as its just as easy to wash the dishes. However, if you are hosting a large shindig and you are not the dish washing type, we suggest you use biodegradable or recyclable dishes, plates, and forks. Either of these items can be found at Whole Foods or your local Natural Co-op. 

And one last final tip: Be sure to compost all your left over veggies and fruits and recycle your bottles!