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Dearest readers,

Some people celebrate Independence Day with parades, cookouts, fireworks, and reflections on our nation’s grand traditions. I celebrate it by sorting through my inbox to make sure I have answered your most pressing, timely questions — before they get dustier than Jefferson’s wig. Read on for a new batch of truths, which you might or might not hold to be self-evident.

Q. Dear Umbra,

I love grilling in the summer, but what is the best source of fuel? Propane is yet another gas, and though the containers can be refilled, there is a lot of waste. At the same time, charcoal doesn’t seem like the best bet either. What’s the cleanest fuel for my fire-roasted fun?

Brianna C.
Sacramento, Calif.

If only we could live in harmony with the rats. (Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography.)

A. Dearest Brianna,

You’re not the only reader to fire this question my way. The short answer is, propane is better than charcoal. The longer, juicier answer is found in my recently reposted video on this very topic. Be sure to watch for my star turn as a wriggling wiener! By the way, a bit of trivia for you: According to the wonderfully named “State of the Barbecue Industry Report,” 82 percent of American households own a grill, and Independence Day is our very favorite time for this pursuit. So enjoy, all ye grillers, but remember: Eating less meat is good for you and good for the planet. Here’s a rack of red-meat alternatives to make your summer sizzle. Yum!