10 Tips to Up Your Barbecue Game This Summer > Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
May 01, 2015

10 Tips to Up Your Barbecue Game This Summer

Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association Shares Ideas for Acquiring One New Skill This Barbecue Season 

May is National Barbecue Month

 Arlington, Va. (May 1, 2015) – What kind of barbecuer are you?  A weekend warrior who loves spending Saturdays flipping burgers? Or, maybe a true aficionado – slowly smoking to perfection the best ribs in town? Every pitmaster agrees: no matter your level of expertise, there is always room to up your game.

According to Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), more than 80 percent of online households own a barbecue grill or smoker, and 97 percent use them at least once a year.* But it’s much too easy for any backyard chef to settle in a habit of cooking the same foods in the same way on the same cooker year-in, year-out.

Rather, barbecuing is an art we improve upon over time by exploring new techniques, ingredients and technologies – a journey starting with our first small grill in our 20s and continues as we expand our outdoor kitchen well into our adult years.

May is National Barbecue Month, and as peak barbecuing season arrives, HPBA is encouraging barbecuers of all proficiencies to break the repetition and commit to attain “one new skill” by Labor Day.

The industry association offers 10 ideas for all barbecuers – from novices to masters – to consider this season to improve their skills:

  1. Flirt with a New Flame. Loyal to gas or committed to charcoal? No matter your flame of choice, experimenting with a new style can sharpen your approach and reveal new ways to enjoy your food. Try switching up gas for charcoal, or vice versa. Borrow a smoker from a neighbor, try wood pellet grilling, or go low and slow with a komodo. Taste the difference.
  2. Master Marinades. Many consider barbecuing to be all about the sauce – that’s why 70 percent of online grill owners prefer marinating before grilling.* Consider creating and perfecting your own special marinade blend to give your backyard edibles a distinct, signature flavor.
  3. Pair up with Produce. While four in ten (44%) barbecuers regularly cook with corn,* try perfecting new produce items on the grill, such as watermelon, pineapple, apples, peaches and pears. They grill best when firm and barely ripe.
  4. Visit a Barbecue Competition. Find true barbecue inspiration by witnessing (and tasting) the masters in their element. Visit the world renowned Kansas City Barbecue Society’s online directory of sanctioned events – chances are one is near you.
  5. Hold a Neighborhood Cook-offPut your barbecuing skills to the test with a neighborhood cook-off. Invite neighbors to gather up the grills and fire up their favorite recipes. Let area kids and seniors serve as judges for an unforgettable block party.
  6. Grill all Three Meals on the Fourth. While 68 percent of online grill owners barbecue on the 4th of July,* consider declaring full independence from your indoor kitchen for the holiday by cooking up breakfast, lunch and dinner on your grill.
  7. Go Global. Mix up your outdoor meal plans by trying full ethnic flavored dinners – like all Asian cuisine (kebobs and satay) or French delicacies (canapés or niçoise salads) that even Julia Child would admire.
  8. Befriend Your Butcher. Few know meats better than your neighborhood butcher. Take the time to regularly ask him or her for the best cuts for barbecuing – and tips for bringing out its best flavor.
  9. Go Whole Hog on Accessories. Beyond a new spatula or tongs, go all in with new accessory purchases such as smoker boxes, rotisseries or a side burner – for a major refresh in what and how you cook.
  10. Top-off with Desserts. Celebrate the end of a great meal not with ice cream from the freezer, but rather decadent desserts over an open flame. Think donuts, cakes – or even s’mores cooked in a grill pot.

Want to discover your true level of barbecuing expertise?  HPBA has created the “What Kind of Barbecuer Are You?” online quiz to determine your backyard proficiency. Take the quiz on the HPBA website (www.hpba.org/national-barbecue-month) to find your barbecue personality and discover new ways to gain “one new skill” this barbecuing season. Tune in to our Facebook page and you might get lucky. Each week, a few participants will be selected at random to win barbecue-related prizes.


*Source: 2014 HPBA Barbecue Lifestyle, Usage & Attitude Study.


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