Hot and bothered: A guide to guilt-free grilling

Wanna cut the ­carbon fat from your diet? Pass on greenhouse-gas-rich beef and try out these ideas.


Gosun Solar Cooker 

If you’ve looked into solar cookers to replace your propane BBQ or charcoal grill that’s choking the air with soot, you’ve probably stumbled across a lot of DIY foil and cardboard contraptions and clumsy solar ovens that unfold into monstrous silver-flapped creatures and take ages to cook stuff (especially if it’s cloudy). Well, the clever people behind GoSun have figured out a sexy solar system that can reach temps of up to 290°C and cook up a meal in as little as 20 minutes. This Tesla of solar grills can bake, boil, steam and fry veggies, meat, cakes, bread, seafood, eggs – you name it. It’s so slim and portable you can bring it camping or on a picnic. Plus, the company plants 20 trees for every GoSun purchased. USD$279 via gosunstove.com or CDN$350 via glenergy.ca.


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Henry’s Tempeh 

Sure, you can slice out some carbon by swapping your steaks for organic chicken breasts or sustainably caught fish (see last week’s fish guide). But if you really want to grill without guilt, try this traditional Indonesian fermented soybean cake, which is mighty tasty when marinated for a couple of hours and rich in prebiotics and fibre, with twice the protein of tofu. Kitchener-based Henry’s makes some with locally grown organic soybeans. Slather it in BBQ sauce or your own garlic maple balsamic tamari glaze. MeghanTelpner.com has a crazy-good baked recipe that any meat-eater will freak out over. But grilling works just as well.


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Healthy Butcher Bbq Sauce

You’ve put time, love and money intro tracking down grillables you feel good about, so don’t debase your meal with junky sauces made with high-fructose corn syrup, modified cornstarch and weird thickeners. Toronto’s own Healthy Butcher makes some badass bbq sauces from an all-organic base, including Ontario-grown tomatoes and tomato paste, fair trade organic cane sugar, organic chipotle, vinegar and spices. They do delicious organic rubs that are great on veggies, too.


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Ying Ying/ La Soyarie Tofu

I used to live off all things fake meat, but you can only ignore ultra-processed ingredients for so long. Ditch the simulated chicken or beef skewers, burgers, cutlets and ribs made with dodgy soy protein isolate and grill up some simple organic tofu made with ingredients that don’t need a chemical engineering degree to decode. Ying Ying Soy Food hand-makes tofu in small, traditional batches using only certified organic soybeans grown in Ontario – all non-GMO, of course. La Soyarie’s tofu also comes from whole Ontario-grown organic soybeans. Its burgers and cutlets aren’t organic but use local non-GMO soybeans. Grill up tofu steaks pre-marinated with organic rub or try the super-delish grilled tofu recipe with a ginger, rice wine, soy and sesame oil marinade from cooking. 


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100-Mile Organic Veggies

This isn’t a brand but a call to stop by your local farmers’ market and support organic vendors struggling to stay afloat this bone-dry summer. They may not yet have the neonics-laced corn or boring red peppers you’re looking to throw on the ’cue, but they have many local, in-season, out of the box grillables, like tasty garlic scapes, kohlrabi (so good peeled, sliced and grilled with olive oil and salt), beets, squash, romaine, zucchini and kale. (Think grilled kale Caesar salad.) The list goes on. It may not all be as jumbo-sized or unnaturally cheap as the stuff from grocery stores, but that’s what truly sustainable food looks like. It’s not only more nutrient-packed when it’s freshly picked instead of sitting on trucks, planes and grocery shelves for weeks, but tastes much better when you know the people who grew it. Visit Tfmn.ca for a full list of markets.


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Best DIY Grill Cleaner

It’s only mid-July, but there was so much gunk on my backyard grill that it had the look and feel of sticky baby back ribs. Since grills don’t work as well when they’re grimy, it was time for a cleaning. I’ve been sent all sorts of natural grill cleaner samples over the years, but honestly, who needs ’em? Just pull your grills off, baste ’em with a simple baking soda/water paste, let sit for 15 minutes in your sink, then scrub down and rinse. Works like a charm (and way better than the vinegar solution I tried on the other side). Now we can go back to messing them up again without worrying about inhaling grill cleaner fumes.

Don’t miss: Toronto’s best and newest barbeque joints

ecoholic@nowtoronto.com | @ecoholicnation 

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