2021 Trend Watch: Grilling

Although many aspects of consumers’ daily lives have changed during the pandemic, one thing that hasn’t changed is their love of backyard grilling. With many staying home due to lockdown restrictions, outdoor grilling has skyrocketed in popularity as people are looking for safe ways to connect with friends and family. The trend has continued this summer as consumers to enjoy gathering safety outside, enjoying the weather, and flexing the culinary skills they developed during the pandemic lockdown. Join us at Advanced Biotech as we take a look at some of the trends we think will be popping up this barbecue season.



While cooking meat low and slow is not a new technique by any means, as people have been using it as a method of preservation for centuries, smoking has undergone a newfound surge in popularity as consumers confined to their homes during the lockdown took the opportunity to revamp and prefect this time-honored tradition. Low and slow once meant simply cooking a tough cut of meat for a long time on a low setting to tenderize it, it now means incorporating many different techniques, devices, and ingredients to truly elevate the dining experience. Natural elements like wood chips and herbs are now being used to infuse meats with unconventionally delicious flavors like maple, cherry wood, and rosemary. Beers, wine, and spirits like bourbon are being added to the smoking process to enhance aromatics and add another level of flavor.



                With many having to forego vacations this year, consumers are turning to international flavors to fulfill their sense of adventure. Korean BBQ, which utilizes a sweet and savory mashup of ingredients like garlic, brown sugar, apples, pears, and spicy pepper paste, has become extremely popular among US consumers over the past year. Yakitori is a traditional style of charcoal grilling that has been a staple in Japanese casual dining for decades. Chicken is skewered on bamboo or metal stakes and is grilled over open charcoal and basted in a sweet, savory, and salty sauce that consists primarily of soy, ginger, and sugar and is often complimented with green onion. Braai is a type of South African barbecue in which lamb, beef, and chicken is grilled over a fire and is heavily spiced with natural ingredients like onion powder, coriander, paprika, and dried thyme.



                Veganism is a lifestyle trend that is here to stay as many consumers are looking to eat a more plant-based diet for both health and animal rights purposes. Consumers’ shift to more meatless meals has driven up a creative need to find new and innovative ways to find substitutes. Cauliflower steaks and smoked watermelon have become hugely popular while classic vegetables like corn, zucchini, and mushrooms are getting a kick from spices like ancho and chipotle proving that meatless doesn’t mean flavorless.


Grilling has given families and friends kept apart by lockdown restrictions the opportunity to gather safely and budding home cooks a new way to expand upon their newfound hobby. From innovative techniques, interesting ingredients, and new takes on old classics, grilling is a time-honored technique that will only grow in popularity this season.