Going on staycation

Forty percent of Americans taking "staycations" this summer say they will grill outdoors more as part of their plans, according to the latest Weber GrillWatch Pulse of 1,094 adults from Palatine, Ill.-based Weber-Stephen Products Co. "Staycation" is relatively new term, but 15 percent of respondents recognized it as "a vacation that people spend at or near home, instead of a traditional vacation away from home." Once having the term explained to them, more than half (51 percent) of the respondents said they plan to take one or more staycations this summer-including 24 percent who are changing their traditional summer vacations to include a staycation. As a result, 46 percent of them say they will spend more money on grilling this year. In fact, among grill owners planning staycations, a whopping 80 percent plan to grill weekly, including 41 percent who plan to grill at least several times each week. And 40 percent say they plan on trying new grilled foods or recipes. "Barbecue has a rich history in this country and has become a traditional favorite for most Americans, says B. Smith, restaurateur and Lawry's spokesperson.  While different regional areas of the U.S. often vie for the title of best barbeque, there is no denying the cooking style's global roots.  When English colonists arrived in the U.S., they brought the word barbecue and this unique method of cooking with them.  American barbeque is claimed by the South as the originator of this method in cooking.  What started in the South is now enjoyed across the nation, and is prepared in varying ways depending upon the region visited.   The East coast is known for using pork as its meat of choice, accompanied by vinegar-based sauces.  The East is also known for adding cole slaw and hushpuppies as a side dish.  In the South, the meat of choice is beef or mutton, which is slowly cooked.  The barbequed meat is accompanied by sauces that range from sweet tomato sauces, to fiery hot sauces.  In the central South, the meat of choice is, and has remained for many years, pork, and pork ribs.  Typically, the meat is pulled apart rather than chopped into pieces and is later slow-cooked, shredded and then covered in sauce.  "No matter what grilling method is preferred, barbecued meals always seem to hold a special place in the hearts of most Americans," adds Smith. Have a happy and safe Independence Day.