It’s warming up outside and that means one thing – time to fire up the grill! We’ve all been waiting on the warmer weather and the chance to get outdoors. Here are some quick tips to keeping your barbecue safe, waste-free, and fun!
1. Use the greenest grilling option. Electric and propane grills are definitely better than charcoal. If that’s your only option though, try using cleaner burning, natural charcoals. If you’ve got your heart set on the flavor that comes from grilling over wood, Woodflame grills were the most eco-friendly option we could find.
2. Skip the meat. (We know this is stretch for many Southerners, but hear us out…) Even if you aren’t vegan, non-meat options for grilling can be very satisfying and great for your summer waistline! You can replace the burgers and hot dogs with some vegetarian knock-offs. Check out Whole Foods for their selection of Amy’s Black Bean and White Bean burgers – it’s worth a try!
3. Use locally grown veggies. Really, what doesn’t taste better in kabob form? Load up some skewers with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, pepper, red onion, eggplant and even fruit like pineapple works great. Take pride in your veggie picks by shopping at local farmers markets. Check out our list of local growers in our Green Guide or pick a day on our Events calendar to visit producers at Pepper Place Market.
4. Local brews. What barbecue is complete without some cold ones? Get your drinking in now before the beer shortage hits! Seriously though, go for locally brewed beers, even organic if possible. We are fans of Birmingham’s own Good People!
5. Non-alcoholic? We are told that at some barbecues there are those who don’t drink beer. While we wrap our minds around that one, here are some non-alcoholic alternatives. Santa Cruz makes organic fruit juices and sodas and is a Green-E certified business. Blue Sky also makes natural sodas as well as energy drinks. Both are nationally distributed (you can likely find them at Whole Foods).
6. Ditch the disposables. Instead, use plates and utensils that can be re-used. Bonus points if they’re made from recycled materials, like one of our favorite brands: Preserve Tableware. These come in fun, festive colors and are dishwasher safe.
7. Take advantage of public spaces. While keeping it local in your backyard is ideal, some urban-dwellers may need to seek out public parks for their grilling parties. Think green by scoping out the area ahead of time to see if they offer recycling and composting options. If not, be sure to bring your own bags or containers for cleaning up waste. BioBags are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Leave your green spaces as pristine as they were before you got there. They can be purchased at Whole Foods.
8. Shoe Fly! Of course no outdoor grill fest is complete without the pestering of mosquitos and ants. Opt for an eco-friendly pesticide like all natural Eco-Smart insect repellent. It’s made from organic plant oils and repels mosquitoes, ticks, ants, and other annoying pests for hours.
Most importantly, just get outside and enjoy yourself! The best thing about barbecuing is the chance to spend time outdoors with friends and family, celebrating this beautiful planet. Here’s to a wonderful summer season!