Memorial Day weekend

May is National Barbecue Month, the kick off to the peak outdoor cooking season, and consumers are eager to fire up their grills and smokers and get cooking. According to new nationwide poll results from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), the great outdoors is the preferred place to cook during the warmer months, with an overwhelming 8 percent of consumers preferring to cook outdoors on the grill or smoker versus indoors on the stove.


"Outdoor cooking continues to increase in popularity year after year, and it is safe to say cookouts are now a mainstay rather than a trend, especially true as we move into the warmer months," says Leslie Wheeler, HPBA communications director. "Consumers agree that the superior flavor, affordability and fun atmosphere that outdoor cooking provides are top reasons why this summer will be all about the cookout."

With the majority of grill and smoker owners cooking year-round (62 percent), not to mention the fact that 56 percent of grill/smoker owners are cooking outdoors one to two times per week during the peak outdoor cooking season, it's important to choose a grill/smoker that best fits your outdoor cooking lifestyle. Sixty-nine percent of households that own a grill or smoker own a gas product, followed by charcoal (47 percent) and electric (7 percent).


Flavorful food is a key component to the cookout. Consumers said they prefer their food tender (57 percent) and juicy (56 percent), but also smoky (44 percent), savory (42 percent) and spicy (21 percent).


But don't forget Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. In 1915, Moina Michael, who had the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day, wrote this poem of remembrance.

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led.

It seems to signal to the skiesThat blood of heroes never dies.