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

Burgers, steak and chicken are the top items Americans love off the grill, while soda/pop, iced tea, beer and lemonade top the list of favorite beverages to wash grilled items down

Jul 22, 2015, 05:00 ET from The Harris Poll

NEW YORK, July 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- 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. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.

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).

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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

About The Harris Poll® 

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world.  The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public.  New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly.  For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit us at

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