Spell it barbecue, barbeque or the short form BBQ, May first is the start of the May-September peak outdoor cooking season. Not surprisingly, it’s National Barbecue Month.
According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), nearly 14 million grills and smokers were shipped in 2013. This year’s industry expo, held in March, displayed more innovative grills, smokers and outdoor living products to tempt gung-ho grillers.
Here are the 2014 barbecue trends:
Wood pellets are on the rise. Made from compressed sawdust, wood pellets are heating up grills and smokers across the country. An all-natural product, wood pellets produce a strong, slow-burning source of heat that gives a unique smoky flavor to foods. This year, new wood pellet grills and smokers are making it easier to cook outdoors no matter what time of year. Wood pellets grills and smokers use a variety of pellet forms to create different smoky tastes, all with a simple and easy cleanup process.
Grills and smokers are more portable. Whether for tailgating, campsites or cooking on the beach, manufacturers have made it easier to take the party anywhere. The new, lightweight grills and smokers are easily collapsible and portable, with all-terrain features that make it simple to cook and smoke foods on-the-go.
Grill your pizza. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Grilling.com.
Outdoor ovens. Innovations in outdoor gas and wood-fired ovens make it easier to cook anything you can make on the inside. Use your outdoor oven for baked desserts, pizza and roasted (as opposed to grilled) vegetables. Outdoor ovens also provide an extra cooking space during the holidays and other special occasions.
Organized accessories. When entertaining outdoors, it’s important to have everything you need right at your fingertips. New innovations such as countertops with drawer storage and drink coolers make it easy to party outside. With full sinks, refrigerators and lighting, you can be equipped outdoors with all the amenities of your indoor kitchen.
THINGS TO BARBECUE
Beyond proteins and veggies, have you grilled bread, desserts, pizza and quesadillas?
Get yourself a barbecue recipe book, like The Barbecue! Bible, which has more than 500 recipes.