The weather is warming up, and that means one thing for homeowners, particularly those who live in the Northeast and Midwest: outdoor grilling.
Although die-hard grilling enthusiasts never let cold weather get in the way of outdoor cooking, spring and summer are the true official BBQ seasons. Here are four key trends in backyard BBQs, according to the National Hardware Show and the North American Retail Hardware Association.
Smokers. Smoking meats at home has become something homeowners are starting to take on themselves to own the job of adding unique flavors to their foods and impress their friends and family. Some popular options include small-batch artisan bacon, smoked fish and slow-smoked BBQ.
Pellet smokers and grills. Along with the increased interest in home smoking, more people are looking at smokers and grills that utilize pelletized hardwood because they are buying into the advertised benefits. Because pellet grills use an indirect cooking method, manufacturers say they reduce the formation of carcinogenic chemicals in food, making it tastier and healthier.
Technology. Smart technology is everywhere, so why not in grilling and smoking tools? Some thermometers, for instance, notify cooks when the correct temperature levels are reached, while others let cooks close the grill and visit with guests until the food is done.
Pizza on the grill. Wood-fired or hearth-baked pizzas are no longer just a restaurant order. Homeowners who want this unique, artisan flavor on their pizzas are purchasing stand-alone outdoor pizza ovens, as well as portable units that utilize grills for their heat source, which means they also make nice tailgating accessories.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.