andrew schneider investigates

March 26, 2008

Healthier smokin’ and grilllin’?

Filed under: Food - good, bad, weird — Andrew Schneider @ 08:38

It has been about four months since I told P-I readers more than they ever wanted to know about smoking a turkey for the holidays and I’m still getting email and calls from people who want to know why, how and what to grill or smoke.


Keeping a watchful eye on the bird. Photo by Andrew Schneider

I just got some information from the country’s top manufacturer of outdoor cooking gear that may answer some of those questions. Each year Weber commissions an independent survey firm to interview 1,000 owners of grills and smokers.

Some answers were expected: hot dogs are cooked slightly more often than hamburgers. Some answers were surprising: About a third of those questioned said they are grilling more than they were a year ago because they’re “trying to eat healthier,” according to the GrillWatch Survey. They said that they are grilling leaner meats, more vegetables (39 percent), more poultry (34 percent) and more fish (22 percent) than they did a year ago.

Six percent said they are grilling more meat substitutes such as veggie burgers and tofu and fruit.

  • More than half (57 percent) of all grill owners say they grill throughout the year. Seventy-one percent report they fire up their grill “at least once a week” and 47 percent say they fire it up “at least a few times per week.”
  • While 95 percent of survey respondents say they grill dinner “on a regular basis,” 37 percent say they now grill lunch on a regular basis, and 2 percent grill breakfast or brunch on a regular basis.

Gas grills are still preferred over charcoal as the grill type used most often (56 percent vs. 38 percent). The number of Americans who declare they use charcoal most often has steadily increased during the last three years (38 percent this year vs. last year’s 36 percent and 2005’s 32 percent).

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