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Weber survey shows Americans spending more time grilling

AN ANNUAL nationwide study reveals that 7% of Americans report spending more than 10 hours each week cooking outdoors during their grilling season. With this, almost half (49%) of all study respondents say they grill or smoke-cook year-round, including 37% at or below freezing temperatures.
     The 22nd annual Weber GrillWatch Survey also shows that U.S. grill and smoker owners cook an average of five hours per week. Additionally, 22% say they grilled "more" in 2010 compared to 2009. All this indicates an increasing zeal for outdoor cooking.

Focus on entertaining outdoors
     Nearly 78% of U.S. grill and or smoker owners say grilling is an "extremely important" or "pretty important" activity when entertaining guests at their home. Among those who grill primarily on charcoal (who also tend to be more passionate about grilling overall), an impressive 92% agree with either statement. Nearly one-fourth of Weber Grill- Watch Survey respondents hosted at least five barbecue parties during summer 2010.
     The grill continues to be the most important feature in the outdoor room at 59%, followed by a dining area (49%) and "food prep/counter space" (48%). Nearly one-third of those who have an outdoor room, defined in the industry as an outdoor area with designated cooking, dining and entertainment spaces, say they plan to use this room more in 2011 than they did in 2010.

Favorite grilled meals and foods
     Dinner remains the primary meal grilled on a regular basis (89%), followed by lunch (35%) and breakfast (3%). Although eight out of 10 grillers respond that they have never grilled breakfast outdoors, more than half of them are interested in learning.
     Here are the top five foods grilled most often during the last year:
     1. Hamburgers (69%)
     2. Steak (46%)
     3. Chicken pieces (42%)
     4. Hot dogs (39%)
     5. Ribs (17%)

     2011 Weber GrillWatch Survey respondents cited the following five foods as the "most challenging" to grill:
     1. Desserts (34%)
     2. Tie for second: Fish and pizza (both at 27%)
     3. Shellfish (25%)
     4. Fruits (22%)

     While 96% of all Americans grill burgers outdoors, beef burgers are the country's favorite at 93%, followed by turkey (14%) and vegetables (6%). Favorite burger toppings rank as onions (62%), tomatoes (61%), lettuce and ketchup (both 59%) and mustard (50%).
     Other grilling facts from the 2011 Weber GrillWatch Survey:
     • Currently, 71% of all Americans own an outdoor grill and/or smoker.
     • The majority own a gas grill (67%). Of these, 7% use a natural gas line versus a propane tank grill.
     • 46% own a charcoal grill
     • 10% own a smoker
     • 4% own an outdoor electric grill
     • 30% of Americans own two or more outdoor grills or smokers, which is down 5% from 35% in 2010; 5% own three or more, which is down 2% from 2010.
     • Although fewer people are grilling away from home compared to last year (53% compared to 65%), campgrounds are the second favorite venue (37%), with parks following at 28%, beaches at 18% and tailgates close behind at 17%.
     • U.S. gas grill owners report these as their top barbecue features: 52% have a side burner (down from 2010's 61%); 27% have a rotisserie (down from 2010's 32%); and 19% have a sear zone of some kind (up from 17% in 2010).
     • An overall 4% of all U.S. grill owners say there are outdoor barbecue restrictions where they live. Half of these report that gas grills aren't allowed, and the other half report that charcoal grills aren't allowed. The majority of these respondents (13%) live in urban areas versus those who live in rural or suburban areas of the country (7%).
     • Men are still the primary grillers in most U.S. households (61%), with 20% of households reporting that it's a shared responsibility among men and women.
     • Independence Day remains the favorite grilling holiday at 81%, followed by birthdays at 67%, Labor Day at 66% and Memorial Day (61% compared to 71% last year). Father's Day is fifth at 48%.

Methodology
     Weber-Stephen Products Co. commissioned Toluna to field the 22nd Annual Weber GrillWatch Survey. A total of 1,000 grill owners throughout the United States completed the online survey during November 2010.
     All respondents were over age 21 and currently owned a charcoal, gas or outdoor electric barbecue grill or smoker. The sample was divided between 50% males (n=500) and 50% females (n=500) and was balanced demographically to represent households across the United States.

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