The lazy, hazy days of summer will unofficially kick off this coming Memorial Day weekend, and the haze in the air won't be a sign of air pollution. It just marks the start of the summer grilling season. Almost three out of four grill owners in America (71 percent) will be firing up their backyard grills on Memorial Day, a 10 percentage-point jump from last year.
Outdoor grilling season, once a Memorial Day-to-Labor Day tradition, is becoming a yearlong menu staple for a growing number of Americans, according to the 23rd annual grill-owner survey sponsored by Weber, a manufacturer of outdoor gas and charcoal grills and accessories.
Now 50 percent of American grill owners fire up their grills year-round, including 37 percent who are willing to grill in freezing temperatures, the survey found. Location plays a large role in determining grilling season, with residents of the South (63 percent) and West (62 percent) significantly more likely to grill all year long, but about a third of those elsewhere will do the same: 35 percent in the Northeast, and 32 percent in the Midwest.
Almost three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) use their grill at least once a week during their grilling season, up from 69 percent last year, and nearly one out of 10 reported that they spend more than 10 hours each week cooking outdoors. Men are still the primary griller in most households (61 percent), and a fifth of households report that grilling is a shared responsibility.
Hamburgers are still top dog on the grill, favored by 73 percent of respondents, followed by chicken pieces (41 percent), steak (40 percent), and hot dogs (38 percent). Outdoor cooks consider dessert the most challenging food to grill (35 percent), followed by fish (30 percent) and pizza (28 percent).
"We continue to see a rise in the number of people grilling for nearly all major holidays, including Memorial Day, the Fourth of July (90 percent), Father's Day (53 percent) and even birthdays (76 percent)," said Brooke Jones, Weber's marketing director.
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