Eco-friendly grilling products are changing the way America does BBQ.
Traditional grilling is associated with a number of health concerns. For example, toxic substances can be left behind in the meat if the source of the gas flame is impure. There’s also the matter of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (heterocyclic amines) which are cancerous substances found in grilled meats. HCAs are often released when meat is cooked in close proximity to the flame. And when charcoal is used, grilled meats and vegetables can soak up carcinogenic chemicals such as coal dust, limestone, borax, starch, and sodium nitrate. These chemicals can also be inhaled.
There are also concerns over carbon emissions from grilling with charcoal. Most charcoal is made up of corn starch, lighter fluid and sawdust. Burning charcoal results in 105 times more carbon monoxide than burning propane.
The impact of grilling on our health and the health of our planet has resulted in the emergence of more eco-sensitive grilling products. For example, consumers now have access to super-efficient, hotter-burning charcoal made from safer ingredients, like 100% carbonized coconut shells. This self-sustaining alternative to traditional charcoal does not tax forests during its manufacture, and it makes exposure to harmful carcinogens and other chemicals a total non-issue. Furthermore, charcoal made from coconut shells leaves behind less ash, which means less potentially ingestible soot.
Another forest-friendly grilling product making an appearance are grilling planks made from sustainably-harvested, hand-selected wood from mature forests, as opposed to planks made from lumber board.
Some newer grill models are designed to prevent fat from dripping directly on charcoal. What’s so “green” about such a simple adjustment? Keeping fat drippings away from charcoal eliminates flare-ups and smoke, which are known to be harmful.
This summer when you get set to grill, consider changing long-standing habits in favor of healthier ones by using eco-friendly, safer grilling products.