Higher costs don't douse summer grilling


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Nov 09, 2023

Higher costs don't douse summer grilling

New data from Omaha Steaks reveals that while 40% of Americans have cut back on purchases, more than half are planning to grill out this summer. This recent Harris Poll shows that 55% are not willing

New data from Omaha Steaks reveals that while 40% of Americans have cut back on purchases, more than half are planning to grill out this summer. This recent Harris Poll shows that 55% are not willing to sacrifice their grilling out time with family and friends.

America has always had a love affair with grilling, and it’s not ending anytime soon. Research by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) shows that 70% of households in the United States own a grill or a smoker. The most popular grilling days of the year are Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and Labor Day. Americans aren’t just waiting for warm weather to grill out. Many are firing up the grills on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Super Bowl, and even Valentine’s Day.

Nine out of 10 Americans look forward to grilling, with 84% agreeing they want to do even more this summer than last year. Americans enjoy the smells, sounds, and taste, with 68% loving the sensory experience grilling brings. And for 35% of Americans, grilling was named as a stress reliever — an increase from last summer. Grilling is usually an activity with family and friends, making it even more enjoyable.

Combating Budget Concerns at the Grocery Store

Inflation will continue to put a squeeze on food purchases in the year ahead but rather than give up grilling, Americans are making changes. Grill masters are looking for more affordable grilling options, such as vegetables, cheaper cuts of protein, and supplementing the loss with filling but affordable foods like rice, pasta, and legumes.

There are plenty of cheaper protein options that are just as delicious. Chicken thighs are often overlooked, but they are a cost-effective choice of protein. They contain more fat than chicken breasts, making them juicier. Chicken leg quarters, whole chickens, and drumsticks are also smart choices.

Pork has also fallen out of style over the last few years, but pork chops, pork ribs, and pork shoulder are budget-friendly choices. Pork taste delicious with brines, rubs, and BBQ sauces to enhance that smoky flavor.

If you want beef, hamburgers and London Broil are great choices. Remember to see what is on sale and stock up on those items. You’ll have a freezer full of great inexpensive grilling options all summer.

Global Flavors

Backyard grillers are joining the global flavor craze seen in restaurants and home kitchens. People are getting adventurous with their grilling, exploring Asian, Indian, Latin, and African cuisines. Whether they’re fully diving into international dishes or simply adding global spices and chiles to traditional American favorites, our taste buds will be treated to a wider variety of flavors in the upcoming year.

Joyce Lee from Pups with Chopsticks says, “Umami which is known as the fifth taste element alongside sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, is an incredible way to add flavor to Asian grilling.

“An easy and approachable way to add it to your Asian grilling recipes is to add fish sauce, miso, and shrimp paste into your marinades, giving everything a saltier kick. You can add red fermented bean curd for the more adventurous cooks, which adds an intense umami flavor. We use it often in our Asian home to grill Chinese BBQ Pork-Char Siu because it also gives it its signature red color without food coloring or dyes.”

Healthier Protein Options

The growing preference for healthier protein options has extended from indoor kitchens to outdoor grilling. Grill enthusiasts will continue to enjoy delicious seafood such as shrimp, salmon, and scallops. Surprisingly, even in states without direct access to the coast, like Missouri, lobster has emerged as the most popular food choice for grilling, according to recent research conducted by the HPBA.

New Products

Grill manufacturers constantly innovate and introduce new products and accessories to enhance the grilling experience. In line with this trend, certain high-end grills now come equipped with convenient features like built-in pizza ovens and self-cleaning mechanisms, as highlighted in a study by IBIS World. These advancements make grilling even more effortless and enjoyable for enthusiasts.

Excitement Around Grill Cleaning

Believe it or not, grill cleaning and care are gaining traction on social media. The rise of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos featuring creators tending to their grilling equipment has captivated consumers. People find these videos deeply relaxing and enjoy all the sounds made during the cleaning process.

Summer has just begun, and there’s no time like the present to clean off that grill and get cooking. Making minor adjustments to what you are grilling can help combat the higher cost of food at the market while still providing a delicious grilling experience. So head outside with family and friends, listen to some ASMR videos, and cook to your heart’s content.

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