If you’ve been barbecuing outside all winter, you’re not the only one. More and more Americans are firing up their gas grills when they want a tasty, healthy meal, or when they have visitors, regardless of the season. That’s because outdoor grills, like patio heaters and patio sets, are being seen as an extension of the home, to be used year round.
Barbecuing is not just for the summer anymore
Barbecued Thanksgiving meals? As many as 15% of respondents surveyed said that they cooked their holiday meals on their outdoor gas grills. As many as 49% of grill owners think of their grills as part of the home and an extension of the kitchen. New deck and patio designs make it easier to transition from indoors to out, with patio furniture and vent-free fireplace log sets making them as comfortable as the living room. Not surprisingly, 30% of homeowners surveyed see their outdoor space as an area for entertaining, and for 21%, it is their preferred place to rest and relax.
This trend seems to be growing, and according to the 2015 Outdoor Furniture Trend Report, a large majority – more than 80% – of American households planned to buy outdoor furniture and accessories this year. This figure increased from 62% the previous year.
Outdoor cooking is healthy cooking
The reasons for the growing popularity of outdoor grilling year round are fairly common sense ones. Grilled meat is seen as being healthy, since it uses a minimum of oils and condiments, and the fat drips off gas grills. In fact 38% of grill owners feel that food cooked on a grill is healthier than that cooked in the oven, and 57% believe that it is equally healthy. It is also delicious.
When it comes to the choice of food, however, the varieties remain mostly traditional. What are the commonest meats cooked on grills? In order of popularity, these are: hot dogs, which account for 72% of all meats grilled outdoors, closely followed by steak at 71 % and burgers at 69 %. Chicken rounds out this list at 64% of the foods cooked on a propane grill.
Even though we think of barbecuing as the quintessential summer activity, the benefits of healthy and tasteful food are drawing more and more people to use their grills all year.