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A new poll by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) has found that six out of 10 Americans are all fired up about peak outdoor cooking season, which sparks off in May, a.k.a. National Barbecue Month. According to the survey, almost 90 percent said they plan to grill food in their backyards during the summer.
“After an especially brutal winter nationwide, people are ready to cook outside and enjoy the outdoors,” said Leslie Wheeler, director of communications at the Arlington, Va.-based HPBA. “While we are seeing an increase in grilling year-round, it still remains the quintessential summer pastime. The warmer months bring people together around the grill for outdoor entertainment and delicious food with the benefits of ease and affordability.”
The organization’s 2010 National Barbecue Month poll revealed that flavor preferences and grilling styles vary widely among consumers, as exemplified by the following results:
—65 percent of Americans like to “dress up” grilled dishes with a sauce, marinade or seasoning, while 21 percent prefer their grilled foods in the raw
—Men prefer to heat up their grilled meats with a spicy sauce or steak sauce (42 percent, vs. 31 percent for women)
—In describing their “grill-side manner,” most adults said they were “all about the meat” (29 percent) or “all natural” (24 percent), followed by “spicy or saucy” (19 percent), adventurous (16 percent) and timid (6 percent)
—In terms of toppings, respondents said they use ketchup most often (66 percent of respondents), with mustard (62 percent of respondents) a close second
—Two-thirds of Americans say “cheese!” when asked what they want on their hamburger patty or sandwich
—In general, 74 percent of Americans add lettuce, onion and/or tomato
—Women want veggies on top more than men do (80 percent of respondents, vs. 68 percent)
—70 percent of adults prefer their grilled sandwiches nestled within a traditional bun
—Among the biggest advantages of grilling vs. eating out or oven-cooked meals cited by respondents were the following: more flavorful food (81 percent), more inexpensive than eating out (76 percent), easier cleanup (67 percent), healthier (64 percent), less cooking time (53 percent)
The poll additionally found that 74 percent plan to eat grilled food at a friend of relative’s house, 42 percent on a picnic, 39 percent while camping out, and 20 percent at a tailgate party.
“Now, with more accessories and products for grilling on the go, people are taking the benefits of outdoor cooking beyond the backyard and making any event into a special meal,” noted Wheeler.
HPBA is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of hearth, barbecue and patio appliances, fuels and accessories.