Are Snow Shovels the Next Big Grilling Accessory? Many Americans Fire Up the Grill All Year Long

Assorted delicious grilled meat with vegetable over the coals on a barbecue

NEW YORK, N.Y. – July marks National Grilling Month, but according to a new Harris Poll many Americans are firing up the grill no matter what month it is. Just over half of U.S. adults (52%) say they use a grill to cook outdoors at least a few times a month, with 27% (up from 23% in 2008) saying they get their grill on at least once a week. And while three-fourths of Americans (76%) – including 73% of women – believe more men grill than women, in fact there’s little difference between men’s (53%) and women’s (51%) likelihood to say they grill a few times a month or more.  

Seven in ten Americans (69%) say grilling outdoors is one of their favorite things about summer, but it’s clearly not the only time U.S. grillers reach for the tongs. Even colder months find some dedicated home cooks taking it outside. Among those Americans who grill outdoors at least a few times per year, nearly nine in ten (88%) do so a few times per month or more during summer, three-fourths (74%) in spring and nearly two-thirds (64%) in fall. There’s a definite drop-off come winter, but there are plenty of grillers who won’t be put off just because the forecast is getting colder: three in ten grillers (29%) say they grill out a few times a month or more during winter.

  • Winter grilling is admittedly more common in warmer climes (with 40% of Western grillers and 37% of their Southern counterparts grilling at least a few times a month during the winter).
  • That said, it’s certainly worth noting that 19% of grillers in the Midwest and 16% in the East also say they grill a few times a month or more during the coldest season.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,200 adults surveyed online between June 17 and 22, 2015.

Burgers and steaks and chicken, oh my!

Half of Americans (50%) say there’s nothing they won’t throw on a grill, but that’s not to say they don’t have some favorite things to get grill marks on. Two-thirds of Americans (68%) select burgers as one of their three favorite foods prepared on an outdoor grill, while six in ten (61%) identify steaks and over half (53%) select chicken.

Three in ten U.S. adults (31%) select hot dogs, while 17% point to sausages, 16% cite pork, 15% point to vegetables and 11% list fish among their favorite grilled foods.

  • Women are more likely than men to list chicken (59% vs. 47%) and vegetables (18% vs. 11%) among their favorites off the grill, while men are more likely to list sausage (20% vs. 13%) and pork (19% vs. 13%) among their top three.
  • “Frankly,” Easterners seem especially enamored with hot dogs. Four in ten (41%) list them among their favorite grilled foods – more than in any other region (28% Midwest, 30% South, 27% West).

Washing it down

When asked which types of beverages they most associate with foods grilled outdoors, majorities of Americans 21 and older point to soda/pop (65%), iced tea (60%), beer (54%) and lemonade (also 54%), while half (50%) include water among their top selections.

16% each select liquor/spirits/cocktails and juice drinks, while 14% point to flavored malt beverages and one in ten each reach for red (11%) or white (10%) wine.

  • Women are more likely than men to associate iced tea with grilled foods (64% vs. 55%), while men are more likely to reach for a beer (58% vs. 51%).
  • “Sweet tea” is often associated with southern dining, so it may not come as a surprise that Southerners are more likely than Americans in any other region to associate iced tea with grilled foods (67%, vs. 59% East, 55% each Midwest and West). 
  • Millennials are more likely than any other generation to reach for juice drinks (26% vs. 11% each of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, 7% Matures).
  • Millennials and Gen Xers are both more likely than their elders to list liquor/spirits/cocktails among their top choices (21% and 20%, respectively, vs. 11% Baby Boomers and 9% Matures).

Fire it up

As for which combustibles grillers are lighting up, the highest percentage say they regularly use propane grills (58%), followed by charcoal (45%). Nearly one in ten (8%) regularly use a natural gas fueled grill.

  • Millennial grillers are more likely than any other generation – drastically so in some cases – to regularly use charcoal grills, which have a reputation in some circles as being a more labor-intensive way of getting dinner on the table (59% vs. 47% Gen Xers, 35% Baby Boomers and 23% Matures).

 

TABLE 1

FREQUENCY OF GRILLING THROUGHOUT THE YEAR

By Generation, Region & Gender

“On average throughout the year, how often would you say you barbeque or use a grill to cook outdoors?”

Base: All adults

 

2008 Total

2015 Total

Generation

Region

Gender

Millennials (18-35)

Gen x (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

East

Midwest

South

West

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Few times a month or more (NET)

50

52

52

59

52

35

50

55

49

55

53

51

     At least once a week

23

27

24

32

29

15

26

30

21

31

28

25

     A few times a month

27

25

28

27

23

20

23

26

28

23

25

26

A few times a year

28

24

28

23

19

27

28

22

23

24

23

25

Once a year or less

8

9

9

6

9

10

7

8

8

10

8

9

Never

14

16

11

12

19

28

16

14

19

11

15

16

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

 

TABLE 2a

FREQUENCY OF GRILLING SEASONALLY – Summary Grid

“And thinking specifically about different times of year, how often would you say you barbeque or use a grill to cook outdoors during each season?”

Base: Grill at least a few times a year

 

Few times a month or more (NET)

At least once a week

A few times a month

Less than once a month

Never

%

%

%

%

%

Spring

74

35

39

22

4

Summer

88

50

38

11

1

Fall

64

30

35

28

8

Winter

29

14

16

29

41

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.

 

TABLE 2b

FREQUENCY OF GRILLING SEASONALLY

“A few times a month or more (NET)” Summary by Generation, Region & Gender

“And thinking specifically about different times of year, how often would you say you barbeque or use a grill to cook outdoors during each season?”

Base: Grill at least a few times a year

 

2015 Total

Generation

Region

Gender

Millennials (18-35)

Gen x (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

East

Midwest

South

West

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Spring

74

73

79

76

58

64

74

79

76

75

73

Summer

88

88

88

90

77

93

89

83

89

87

88

Fall

64

56

67

75

54

53

68

65

70

68

61

Winter

29

27

30

32

27

16

19

37

40

33

25

 


TABLE 3

FAVORITE FOODS ON AN OUTDOOR GRILL

By Generation, Region & Gender

“When you think of the following foods prepared on an outdoor grill, which would you say are your favorites? You may select up to three.”

Base: All adults

 

2015 Total

Generation

Region

Gender

Millennials (18-35)

Gen x (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

East

Midwest

South

West

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Hamburgers

68

64

69

70

70

73

68

66

65

66

70

Steak

61

56

64

62

65

59

56

63

62

62

59

Chicken

53

54

49

55

55

53

56

52

52

47

59

Hot dogs

31

33

33

29

27

41

28

30

27

31

31

Sausage

17

16

16

17

15

12

18

18

16

20

13

Pork

16

10

16

20

19

11

20

16

17

19

13

Vegetables

15

20

15

12

7

15

15

13

16

11

18

Fish

11

13

8

11

8

9

8

12

14

12

10

Veggie burgers

4

7

3

2

1

4

4

2

5

4

4

Lamb

2

2

3

1

5

3

2

2

3

3

1

Other

3

3

3

2

1

2

5

2

2

2

3

None of these

1

1

2

1

2

1

1

3

1

1

1

Note: Multiple responses allowed

Note: * indicates less than 0.5%

 

TABLE 4

TYPE(S) OF GRILL REGULARLY USE

By Generation, Region & Gender

“What type or types of grill do you regularly use? Please select all that apply.”

Base: Grill at least a few times a year

 

2015 Total

Generation

Region

Gender

Millennials (18-35)

Gen x (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

East

Midwest

South

West

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Propane

58

51

59

62

69

67

57

52

57

58

58

Charcoal

45

59

47

35

23

39

47

53

38

45

45

Natural gas

8

8

9

5

8

5

8

7

11

11

5

Something else

4

3

4

4

5

3

2

4

6

4

4

Not sure

1

1

1

1

3

*

*

2

1

2

Note: Multiple responses allowed

Note: * indicates less than 0.5%; — indicates not selected

 


TABLE 5

BEVERAGES YOU MOST ASSOCIATE WITH FOODS GRILLED OUTDOORS

By Generation, Region & Gender

“Which of the following types of beverages, if any, do you most associate with foods grilled outdoors? Please select all that apply?”

Base: Adults ages 21+

 

2015 Total

Generation

Region

Gender

Millennials (21-35)

Gen x (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

East

Midwest

South

West

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Soda/Pop

65

61

65

67

71

61

64

65

68

64

66

Iced tea

60

52

61

65

63

59

55

67

55

55

64

Beer

54

48

64

54

57

55

52

53

58

58

51

Lemonade

54

52

62

51

47

52

59

51

52

51

56

Water

50

56

47

46

46

54

44

48

53

48

51

Liquor/Spirits/Cocktails

16

21

20

11

9

19

13

17

16

15

17

Juice drinks

16

26

11

11

7

19

13

17

15

18

14

Flavored malt beverages (e.g., Bud Light Lime Ritas [any flavor], Mike’s Hard Lemonade [any flavor])

14

19

16

10

6

17

13

15

11

11

16

Red wine

11

7

11

12

19

10

8

11

12

9

12

White wine

10

8

12

10

16

11

8

10

14

9

12

Hard cider

6

8

7

4

4

6

5

4

9

6

6

Sparkling wine (e.g., champagne)

3

5

5

1

2

5

1

2

6

3

4

Something else

2

2

1

2

3

2

1

2

1

2

1

Note: Multiple responses allowed

 


TABLE 6a 

ATTITUDES TOWARD GRILLING – Summary Grid

“How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Base:  U.S. adults

 

 

AGREE

(NET)

Strongly

agree

Somewhat

agree

DISAGREE

(NET)

Somewhat

disagree

Strongly

disagree

More men grill than women.

%

76

31

44

24

16

8

Grilling outdoors is one of my favorite things about summer.

%

69

30

39

31

17

14

I am more likely to grill on weekends than during the week.

%

62

27

35

38

20

17

There’s nothing I won’t throw on a grill.

%

50

17

33

50

31

20

I only grill outdoors on special occasions.

%

32

12

20

68

26

42

Grilling outdoors is more trouble than it’s worth.

%

28

9

19

72

29

43

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 6b

ATTITUDES TOWARD GRILLING – Summary of “Agree”

By Generation, Region & Gender

“How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Base:  U.S. adults

 

2015 Total

Generation

Region

Gender

Millennials (21-35)

Gen x (36-50)

Baby Boomers (51-69)

Matures (70+)

East

Midwest

South

West

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

More men grill than women.

76

69

75

78

90

74

71

80

75

79

73

Grilling outdoors is one of my favorite things about summer.

69

79

76

62

47

69

74

65

70

68

70

I am more likely to grill on weekends than during the week.

62

78

67

50

40

63

60

65

59

59

65

There’s nothing I won’t throw on a grill.

50

57

56

44

31

49

48

50

52

50

49

I only grill outdoors on special occasions.

32

40

26

26

38

32

24

36

33

33

31

Grilling outdoors is more trouble than it’s worth.

28

24

25

27

46

26

24

29

31

32

24


Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between June 17 and 22, 2015 among 2,220 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #42, July 22, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll