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Grilling green

(article, Melanie Mesaros)

Even if you hold the pickle, consider a few small changes you can do to make your burger-grilling a little more green.    

According to the Sierra Club, the estimated 60 million barbecues held on the Fourth of July alone consume enough energy — in the form of charcoal, lighter fluid, gas, and electricity — to power 20,000 households for a entire year. 

You can reduce those figures, suggests Forecast Earth, by avoiding lighter fluid, which gives off volatile chemicals that contribute to smog. Instead, use a chimney or an electric grill starter to get those coals hot.

When you buy that charcoal, skip the ordinary briquettes, which are made with scraps of wood or sawdust that incorporate additives for binding purposes. A better choice would be lump charcoal, which isn’t processed or ground. Many of these brands are endorsed by the Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program. 

And if you have a gas or electric grill? Groovy; these versions don't give off as much harmful carbon monoxide as the charcoal variety.

Finally, choose to grill leaner cuts of meat, which can reduce the risk of cancer-causing carcinogens. And according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, marinating meats can reduce that risk by 90 percent or more. Researchers don’t know why, exactly, but they think it might provide a special barrier against the heat. Smaller pieces of meat also cook faster and don’t give carcinogens as much time to form.