We have always been a nation with a passion for barbecuing. It has now become a lifestyle with families using their grills not just on the week-ends but even on ordinary week-days. And in the coming years we will no doubt see year see barbecue culture become an even more integral part of our homes with our kitchens and dining areas extending to our backyards. Food will more frequently be served from grill to table with massive grilling plates now doing double duty as serving platters.
The year will see increasing sales in gear and apparatus associated with the barbecue. More and more people will be buying unique, cutting-edge barbecue equipment, smokers and wood-burning grills, as well as the accessories required for convenient barbecuing. You will also see a lot of food, if not being barbecued, served to taste like it. The smoke flavor will be experienced not only in food like ribs and briskets but also in food like cocktails, salads, and desserts.
You will see more wood this year – and of a wide variety. Wedges of olive wood and planks of wine barrels will be used to enhance grilling sessions. More hickory and mesquite will used to grill chops and steaks, oak to barbecue seafood and chicken, and mild-flavored pear or apple wood to grill fruits and vegetables. Single varietal wood like maple or cherry, as well as wood blends like mesquite and oak will continue to be popular.
Another interesting movement is towards barbecuing food that are organic. People are now taking notice of not just how their dish is smoked but from where and how it comes to the table. People are now looking for farm to table freshness in their barbecue dinners and lunches. They want beef that is grass-fed, free-range chicken, pork untouched by antibiotics and growth hormones, fresh wild caught salmon and shrimp that are free from environment toxins, and fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Organic has become a buzz word even for barbecue.
In the recent past, nobody thought much about the side dishes which came with the barbecue. Nobody had second thoughts about eating store-bought bread with the barbecue or having three-bean salads which came straight from a can. These days, however, in concurrence with the demand for healthy and wholesome barbecues, people are looking for side dishes which are just as natural, nourishing, and top quality. Restaurants now offer their own freshly-baked breads. Salads are likewise prepared with much solicitous care and style, using only the freshest first-class vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients.
Even expensive and upscale restaurants are now using wood-burning grills. Restaurant regulars are now looking for their food to be barbecued, instead of being baked or sautéed as usual. Cod and pork chops cooked to perfection in grills also come accompanied by likewise-grilled lemons. Many restaurants recognized for their French, Italian, or Spanish cuisine are adding more barbecued dishes to their menus. There are even restaurants building their kitchens, as well as their menus, around swank and high-priced wood-burning grills.