Skip to content

Green BBQ? You Got It!

Image: Vincent Keiman

Ever since our children were little, a small group of friends have taken turns hosting a weekly BBQ night during the summer. We’ve moved a couple of times in the last decade and the friend groups have evolved, but the tradition remains, and it’s one of my favorite ways to connect and care for each other without a lot of hassle.

One of the stipulations we’ve made is that the host can invite anyone they’d like—it doesn’t have to be an exclusive event—which gives all of us an opportunity to get to know more people who might not be in our immediate circle. It’s just one small way our friends try to live out the generous hospitality modeled by Jesus.

And we get to eat good food together, too!

If summer BBQ season has you as hyped up as me, then read on for some ways you can make it an even greener adventure. If your gathering is aiming to live out the love of Christ, why not extend that to the earth?

Choose Sustainable Fuel

There are plenty of different options for grilling on the market. Biomass pellet grills use renewable biomass materials like wood pellets and burn efficiently. 

Propane or natural gas burn cleaner than charcoal and produce fewer carbon emissions, but if you have an electric grill and your electricity comes from renewable sources, then an electric grill can be a more sustainable option. 

If you have a charcoal grill, look for natural lump charcoal instead of briquettes. Charcoal doesn’t contain additives and burns cleaner.

Opt for Eco-Friendly Grilling Tools and Reusable Utensils

At one of our earliest summer BBQs, one of our friends suggested that we start bringing our own reusable plates, cups, and cutlery in lieu of disposable (and often non-recyclable) products. I much prefer these more durable dishes anyway—far fewer potato salads and burgers were lost on account of flimsy dishware.

Look for grilling tools that are made from sustainable materials like bamboo, stainless steel, or recycled materials.

Buy Your Ingredients Locally When You Can

Now is a great time to connect with a local butcher, farmer, 4H clubs, or farmers’ market for fresher, tastier, and more sustainable meats and produce. Buying locally reduces transportation emissions and supports the local economy, too.

Some butchers, like Marrow in Detroit, Michigan, offer subscription boxes for their products to keep your BBQ well-stocked.

Source Meat from Organic Farmers

If you don’t have a way to connect with a local farmer, you can get the best of farm-raised, organic meat through Primal Pastures. Meat from Primal Pastures is pasture raised, fed organic, GMO free, soy free, corn free, low PUFA, and vaccine-free poultry. You can order a subscription box monthly or shop a la carte.

Not only is this meat tastier, it’s better for you and better for the environment. Look for sustainably sourced meats such as grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, and sustainably caught fish.

Go Meat-Free

Image: Mary West

Your BBQ doesn’t have to include meat, you know. A meat-free diet packs a powerful punch when it comes to trying to live more sustainably (and healthily!). 

You can offer meat alternatives like portobello mushrooms, grilled avocado, eggplant, cauliflower steaks, vegetable kebabs, or tofu for your vegetarian friends, or try some of the plant-based burgers, like Beyond Meat (I wouldn’t have known the difference if you hadn’t told me it wasn’t beef). 

I also love a good veggie burger. Unlike Beyond Meat or Impossible Burgers, they aren’t trying to be something they aren’t. Veggie burgers have their own flavor and are generally made with different beans, grains, and vegetable combinations.

One of my favorites is the Foodies Vegan Original Artichoke Burger. Mmm. They don’t sell them anywhere near my house, but I could totally drive an hour to find some right about now.

You could even go without grilling entirely—plan a themed summer meal around all cold foods, like salads, cold pastas, potato salads, fruits, and vegetable trays.

Offer a Recycling Bin Near the Trash Can

Generally speaking, when people are given the option to recycle, they will! Label bins for recycling and composting. It’s an easy step that will save lots of trash from the landfill.

Provide Eco-Friendly Beverages

Sure, soda cans and individual serving bottles are convenient, but buying beverages in bulk containers is way more sustainable and often more economical. 

You could bypass the canned and glass containers entirely by mixing up a delicious glass pitcher of lemonade or dispensing ice cold water or iced tea from a large jug to minimize waste, too.

Be Joyful in Your Sustainable BBQ

There’s no reason to be rigid and legalistic about this—Jesus was never either of these things—but instead embrace a spirit of joy and grace, and your spirit of sustainability will spread. All it took was one friend suggesting we bring our own reusable plateware for us to carry that tradition forward over the last decade. People will catch on and be inspired by your love and care for creation. Now go out there and celebrate the good food and good friends this summer!

Share on Social

Back To Top