Move over burgers, chicken tops the list of favorite grilling foods

NEW YORK — Grilling isn’t just a summer thing. A new poll finds 48 percent of Americans have even grilled outside during a snowstorm.

A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults also discovered 39 percent have fired up a grill in the rain. More than half (56%) grill year-round. Another 63 percent consider grilling a healthy hobby of theirs.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Kansas City Steak Company ahead of National Grilling Month, the survey also dug into people’s summer cookout plans, revealing 62 percent plan to use these events to experiment with different cooking techniques.

License to grill

While grilling is a popular option (38%), people will also test their culinary skills by smoking (46%), roasting (40%), and baking (40%). Nearly seven in 10 (69%) think grilling isn’t just for burgers and hot dogs, especially those in the Northeast (81%).

Sure enough, respondents shared they’ve grilled a variety of unconventional foods, from “a crate of jalapeños,” “Mexican seafood,” and “cow tongue,” to “swordfish,” “strawberries and bananas,” “watermelon slices,” and even “doughnuts.”

Chicken, a classic favorite, tops the list of foods those who enjoy eating meat look forward to cooking at barbecues this summer (53%). Other meaty picks include burgers (50%) and steak (48%). Chicken also reigned supreme among meat lovers’ favorite main dishes to cook at a barbecue (56%), while pescatarians opt for lobster (58%).

Overall, half of all respondents (51%) have grilled vegetables and fruit. One in three think corn (35%), potatoes (35%), asparagus (30%), pineapple (30%), and zucchini (30%) taste most delicious when they’re coming off a grill.

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Regardless of what they grill, nearly half (48%) use seasoning to enhance or add flavor to their dish.

“The trend of grilling year-round couldn’t be more timely,” says a spokesperson for Kansas City Steak Company, in a statement. “People are recognizing the benefits of grilling at home, such as having more control over food options and flavors (45%), which can be helpful to meet the needs of family members with different diets. Many also see its participatory element as a way to reconnect with family and friends (43%) in a bigger way than by going to a restaurant.”

One-third plan to attend a family get-together this summer that will include a barbecue or cookout, with 29 percent saying they grill food for family gatherings. People also plan to frequent cookouts while camping (29%), at sports games (27%), at weddings (27%), and at the beach (25%).

Other cookout-worthy events people light up the grill for include the 4th of July (26%) and Labor Day (26%). So, what makes an event a cookout, anyway? Forty percent consider any occurrence in which food is cooked directly over an open flame a cookout.

“Create memories this summer by gifting quality foods, such as meats, that you can prepare together with family and friends,” the spokesperson adds. “There’s no better place to spend time with family and friends this summer than around the grill!”

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