Barbecuing and smoking meat is a big part of many cuisines all over the world. People have been barbecuing meat since time immemorial but the methods have evolved over the years. Usually, people use charcoal and wood to smoke their meat. However, with increasing awareness about environmental pollution, eco-friendly barbecuing methods are being preferred by many. Traditional smokers usually require wood to be burned in order to smoke the meat. The smoke which emanates from the burning wood is a pollution hazard and contributes to the overall air pollution. In fact, many areas have laws restricting CO emissions above a certain level. Burning charcoal can even affect one’s health as it releases particulate matter into the air which is then breathed in by all those in the vicinity. Keeping these concerns and regulations in mind, people are opting for electric smokers rather than the classic wood smokers used in the past.
It is widely believed that electric smokers are totally eco-friendly and the best way to smoke meat without contributing to air pollution. While electric smokers are much better for the environment than traditional wood smokers, are they completely eco-friendly and pollution free? Are electric smokers the future of green barbecuing? This is true to some extent but even electric smokers have their limitations.
While they are absolutely free of CO emissions, some brands of electric smokers come with their own share of concerns. Most electric smokers slow cook the meat and this takes longer than traditional smoking. This also ends up consuming more electricity and thus releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses or GHGs are the leading cause of global warming and excess of these gasses in the atmosphere can have dire consequences on the environment. It all comes down to how the electricity you are using is being produced. If it is produced through conventional methods like through the burning of fossil fuels, your electric smoker would leave behind a substantial GHG footprint. In fact, a gas or charcoal smoker might be a better choice in this case. Electric smokers running on conventional sources of energy are worse for the environment than charcoal or wood grills. On the other hand, if your home is being powered by green energy like solar, hydroelectricity or wind-powered electricity generation, an electric smoker is totally eco-friendly and would not have any adverse effects on the atmosphere.
The more modern and advanced electric smokers are programmed to conserve electricity but their cost might be quite high. The best bet when it comes to eco-friendly electric smokers would be to opt for one which is optimized to run on non-conventional sources of energy. It would be totally pollution-free and cost lesser than a normal electric smoker, in the long run. So, while the typical electric smokers are not completely eco-friendly, there are new and modified versions available which do not place any stress on the environment. So, as an environmentally-conscious barbecuing enthusiast, an electric smoker running on solar or wind energy would be the best option for you!