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18 Barbecue Facts

Aside from the fact we’re a nation of barbecue fans, there are several other interesting details relating to our passion for barbecuing!

Come rain or shine, when the opportunity presents itself many of us can often be found in our gardens, crowded around the barbecue and cooking our favourite dishes for friends. And it’s a pastime that is popular around the world, with barbecuing taking on its own form in different countries in terms of grilling techniques, BBQ design and preferred foods.

So why not sit back, throw a couple of burgers on the grill, and enjoy these barbecue facts?

1. Barbecuing and outdoor eating and entertaining is now the number one summer leisure activity enjoyed at home in the UK.

2. Two out of three households own a barbecue.

3. Couples are three-times more likely to throw a barbecue party than single people.

4. 51% of people prefer charcoal barbecues to gas barbecues.

5. The precise origin of the word “barbecue” is unknown but many believe it comes from the Spanish word “barbacoa” which means a wooden frame used to cook meat, a form of fire-pit cooking.

6. In the UK we get through 40,000 tonnes of barbecue charcoal every year.

18 barbecue facts

7. July 4th is the most popular holiday day for barbecuing in the United States.

8. Hooded barbecues now account for 40% of total barbecue sales in the UK.

9. Many of us spend about £35 on food and drink for a BBQ nowadays, compared to £19 five years ago.

10. The idea of cooking meat over a flame has been around for more than a million years.

11. Over the early May bank holiday weekend in 2011, there were 11 million barbecue occasions with 7.5 million taking place on 29th April, the day of the royal wedding.

12. The average number of barbecues hosted per family in the summer is now more than 9 – a sharp rise from the 2.5 a decade ago.

13. Britons now prefer posh rather than traditional barbecue food, with many choosing to grill more unusual meats like duck and exotic dishes rather than the usual bangers, burgers and chicken drumsticks. However, in the US, the favourite foods are burgers, steak, hot dogs and chicken, in that order.

14. Of all households, 14% now own two barbecues.

15. The cases of food poisoning in the UK almost double over the summer months. The two major health risks are undercooked meat and germs spreading from raw to cooked meat so it’s important to ensure your food is thoroughly cooked all the way through and that you keep raw and cooked meats separate. (You can view our general tips for barbecue safety for more information.)

16. George H Bush, the 41st president of the United States, held a barbecue for Members of Congress each year on the South Lawn of the White House, a tradition continued by his son, George W Bush – this custom was interrupted on September 12th 2001 following the terrorist attacks, and the barbecue was cancelled with the White House kitchen giving the 700 pounds of beef to the rescue workers who’d travelled to Washington.

17. In 2011, the barbecue and outdoor eating and entertaining market was worth £7 billion.

18. The word “barbecue” first formally entered the English language in the seventeenth century, introduced by the explorer William Dampier.