Most Americans prefer barbecuing in their gardens to cooking indoors

Come the warmer weather and even just a hint of sunshine we Brits are rushing to the nearest park or beach with our portable barbecue. Either that or we’re setting up outside in the back garden. We’re certainly keen on grilling outdoors.

However, when it comes to Americans, we may be slightly outnumbered if a new poll issued earlier this month by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) is anything to go by.

Researchers for the North American-based organisation interviewed more than 1000 Americans in April last year to find out about their cooking habits and lifestyle, particularly when it came to the summer months. As a result they discovered that:

  • 85 per cent of consumers prefer heating food and preparing meals outdoors on their barbecue rather than indoors on a cooker
  • 62 per cent of consumers cook year-round on their barbecue
  • 56 per cent cook outdoors up to two times a week during the summer
  • Improved food flavour, backdrop and good atmosphere are the top reasons people prefer eating outdoors
  • 72 per cent of grill owners use long-handled tongs with grill cleaning brushes, long-handed forks and long-handled spatulas the next most popular equipment used for the barbecue

HPBA Communications Director Leslie Wheeler, speaking during American National Barbecue Month in May, said: “Outdoor cooking continues to increase in popularity year after year, and it is safe to say cookouts are now a mainstay rather than a trend, especially true as we move into the warmer months.

“Consumers agree that the superior flavour, affordability and fun atmosphere that outdoor cooking provides are top reasons why this summer will be all about the cookout.”

Get the right equipment for your needs

The Association advise that the type of barbecue or grill you purchase should be based on how often it’s used and basically how much time you have to spend actually cooking outdoors. In their poll HPBA discovered that 69 per cent of households which owned outdoor grilling equipment used gas, the next favourite fuel was charcoal (47 per cent) and finally electric (seven per cent).

Consider your location

By far the majority of those interviewed spent most time barbecuing in their back garden (63 per cent). The next most popular spot was the beach (14 per cent) while eight per cent preferred trotting off to the local park with a portable grill under their arm.

 Get the flavour right

Consumers with wood-burning barbecues and grills enjoy changing the types of wood they use in an effort to get a different taste from their food. Marinades too, it seems, are also key to getting the flavour of barbecued food spot-on. Those polled said they preferred their food to have a smoky flavour (44 per cent), savoury (42 per cent) and spicy (21 per cent). In addition 57 per cent said they enjoyed their food tender while 56 per cent liked steaks and burgers to be “juicy.”

Meanwhile, an interesting little figure the survey the threw up was that people were more likely to just ‘chuck something on the grill’ (36 per cent) rather than follow a classic recipe (34 per cent) – even if it was a simple recipe (33 per cent).

What are your grilling habits? We’d love to know, and don't forget to check out our great range of charcoal barbecues!