Author Options:

Green Barbeque Answered

For the eco-grillmaster: charcoal or gas? Slate explores this issue. The result, of course, depends--but surprisingly enough, charcoal may be the better option for the environment.



Charcoal can be the most green because it uses recycled carbon, or carbon that is already In the carbon cycle.
While gas puts new carbon from underground into the system.
Now if you use a petroleum charcoal starter, charcoal would probably be less green than gas.
Never use that nasty petroleum starter, it will ruin the taste of your food, if you start cooking too soon. If you use a charcoal chimney starter and lump/natural charcoal, you can start cooking a lot sooner, and capture a lot of wasted heat that is needed to drive off the petroleum vapors.
If your charcoal cooker is of an inefficient design and say that it takes 4 or 5 pounds of charcoal to cook 10 lb of chicken, then gas may be better, but if you have an efficient charcoal cooker that takes 1 pound of charcoal to cook 10 lb of chicken then I would lean towards charcoal for green BBQ.
The most green fuel of all may be wood. Did you see my “Wood Fired Grill”


10 years ago

Charcoal briquettes are made from wood, but they are also pressed with coal dust so that they turn gray when ready for cooking. They probably also use more energy than gas because of the long warm-up and cool-down period. Nat.gas also contains less carbon per unit energy, but as you say, wood is typically renewable, and nat gas ain't.

...surprisingly enough, charcoal may be the better option for the environment.

Why surprising?

Natural gas is non-renewable, but proper charcoal is a renewable fuel.