Barbecues are delicious, but good luck convincing anyone that your five-shelf smoker or suckling pig spit-roast is a sustainable or eco-conscious way to feast. One of grilling’s biggest environmental impacts is our choice of fuel. That gas hookup may be convenient, but comes at the price of draining our precious fossil fuel reserves. Hardwood, organic and bamboo charcoals are not only derived from renewable resources, they also impart flavours that many barbecue enthusiasts wouldn’t give up for all the gas in the world.
Basques Hardwood Charcoal
Since 2002, this Quebec company has been producing 100% natural hardwood charcoal from logs unfit for sawmills. The resulting wood-grilled taste of natural sugars and proteins is enhanced by the knowledge that your fuel is completely carbon neutral.
Ono Organic Charcoal
Produced from Hawaii’s iconic Prosopis pallida (kiawe tree), Ono charcoal has long been regarded as an ideal fuel. Also harvested from waste wood, Ono burns hotter than conventional briquettes, producing nearly 100% more heat.
Though not exactly a grocery store commodity in North America, black bamboo charcoals have long been valued in Asia for their purity and sustainability. Bamboo charcoal is highly porous and is often used as a natural odour eliminator. As one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, you don’t have to worry about running out anytime soon.
Palm Leaf Plates
Paper, plastic… or palm? Serving up all that deliciousness often comes at the price of a pile of paper plates, cups and utensils. 100% biodegradable palm leaf dinnerware originates from India and are durable, leak-proof and will stand up to even the most determined steak carver. Order up to 100 settings of their “banquet set” including forks, knives and even little bowls perfect for your organic guacamole.
What to Cook? Squid & Lamb
Meat gets a bad (and usually deserved) rap for not exactly being low-impact on the environment. When you realize that cattle farming makes up the largest portion of our greenhouse emissions, suddenly that burger gets served up with a steaming side of guilt. If we can accept that nobody, in fact, makes friends with salad, consider dishing out squid or lamb at your next soirée. Both are about as responsible (not to mention a helluva lot more tasty) than grilled eggplant.
Image courtesy of modomatic.