National Barbecue Month for Outdoor Cooking

New Consumer Poll Reveals Family, Friends and the Great Outdoors Fuel America’s Love for Outdoor Cooking

ARLINGTON, Va., April 30 /PRNewswire/ — People’s love affair with outdoor cooking is heating up as the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) kicks-off May as National Barbecue Month, and the beginning of outdoor cooking season.

Month of May is USA National BBQ MonthThis month, and all summer long, the appeal of having fun with family and friends coupled with the desire to be outside, sets the mood for Americans to cook outdoors, according to the 2009 HPBA National Barbecue Month Consumer Poll.

“Food serves as the cornerstone of any gathering of friends and family,” said Derrick Riches, About.com Guide to Barbecues & Grilling. “Add in the relaxed atmosphere of the backyard to any barbecue or cook-out and you can see what attracts so many people to this popular pastime. There’s no better way to spend a summer evening than cooking outdoors with family and friends.”

Key Ingredients

When deciding to attend a cook-out, consumers say the guest list is important. Almost all poll respondents – 94 percent – say the burning reason to go to a barbecue or cook-out is to spend time with friends and family. Others rank a casual atmosphere and the opportunity to meet new people as incentives to attend. And, one in five consumers love an invitation from a host who is a barbecue enthusiast.

While today’s outdoor chef is dishing up grilled hors d’oeuvres, fruits and desserts, the poll revealed that beef is the number one choice for an outdoor cooking menu (38 percent), followed by chicken (23 percent), then seafood, including salmon, shrimp or lobster (19 percent). On the flip side, some consumers have a penchant for going meatless and prefer grilled veggies (five percent).

“Across North America, people love the tradition of summer cook-outs,” said Leslie Wheeler, HPBA Communications Director. “It’s a great activity that creates affordable fun, especially at a time when consumers are choosing to eat at home more often.”

Setting the Mood at the Last Minute

For those planning outdoor parties take note: 43 percent say the best barbecue or cook-out is one that is planned a few days ahead of time. But last minute get-togethers are still an option as 38 percent of the poll respondents prefer a spur-of-the-moment gathering instead. And despite today’s online obsession, two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers polled prefer a good old fashioned phone call to emails or online invitations.

When considering what tunes to set the mood, oldies or country music were the most popular genres among poll respondents, followed by rock/alternative then jazz and R&B.

Tips & Techniques from HPBA and About.com’s Derrick Riches

Whether planning a backyard barbecue for two or 20, HPBA and About.com’s Derrick Riches offer the following tips and techniques to use this summer and all year long. “Every outdoor cook seems to have secrets and tricks,” said Riches. “Remember that what works for someone else might not work for you. Try some of these tips and techniques to get started, but remember the best way to find what works for you is to get cooking outdoors!” (more…)

[wordbay]BBQ grill (tailgate, portable, drum, kettle)[/wordbay]

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