Fuel for thought
Not all grills are created equal. Gas, propane, and electric barbecues burn cleaner than wood or charcoal counterparts, which release more carbon monoxide and smog-causing soot particles. But keep in mind that souped-up gas grills with heat plates, storage racks, and multiple burners are fuel hogs—their carbon footprint is greater than that of a charcoal version. And, of course, gas is a non-renewable fossil fuel, so opt for a product that features only what you really need.
Charcoal aficionados should look for homegrown charcoal that’s been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or the Rainforest Alliance. (Charcoal produced abroad may include wood from sensitive tropical forests, plus shipping results in unnecessary carbon emissions.) Lump charcoal is always better than briquettes, which include harmful binders and additives that make them easier to light.
Newer hybrid grills use gas or electricity as the main source of heat, but let you add a bit of wood or charcoal at the end to flavour your ribs.
Light my fire
Petro-based lighter fluids release toxic by-products into the air—and your meat. Instead, use a chimney starter. Buy one where you find grilling supplies, or make your own from an old coffee tin. Good thing we just gave you the how-to