This coming Memorial Day weekend always seems to be the kickoff of grilling season in my neighborhood. It’s the aroma that indicates that summer is on its way. While some of you may be lucky enough to grill all year long, we’re just getting started… and once we get started, it doesn’t end until the snow flies. (It’s also a time for me to share cooking duties with my husband… BONUS!)
We’ve always owned a propane grill and never, ever, go the route of charcoal or (perish the thought!) lighter fluid! (EEK!)
To me, the propane choice seems like a no-brainer, but is it really?
Take a look at the facts:
- Overall, propane grilling creates a smaller carbon footprint than charcoal grilling, by about a third. (win: propane)
- Charcoal comes from renewable resources, but propane does not. It comes from non-renewable fossil fuels. (win: charcoal)
- Carbon monoxide levels from charcoal grilling can be as high as 105 times as much as propane grilling. (BIG win: propane)
- The “burn time” for propane is much less than charcoal. It only needs to be “on” when you need it. Charcoal must burn until coals are hot and then you need to wait until it burns out before the cycle is done, and it creates gasses all the while. (win: propane)
- Charcoal often travels a far, far distance (and creates extra emissions) before it even reaches your grill, but “not so” with propane… it’s most likely local. Plus, producing charcoal creates even more emissions than actually burning it! (win: propane)
- Lighter fluid for charcoal is a petroleum distillate that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned. (win: propane)
So, I’d say we’ve been making the right decision, especially with that last VOC issue! But just remember that what you toss on the grill matters too – preferably local organic meats and veggies! And when it’s time for clean-up, baking soda and warm water does wonders too!
Now, fire up that grill and let’s get the cookout underway! (My family will be right over!…)