Let's grill homemade chili dogs, burgers and mushrooms this Memorial Day

Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Entertaining

If there's one thing we can count on come Memorial Day, it's that most of us will spend at least part of the holiday weekend hunkered over a hot grill.

Summer means being outdoors, and most cooks can't wait to trade their ovens, air fryers and Instant Pots for the smoky, sizzling pleasure of cooking on a gas or charcoal grill.

Grilling has only increased in popularity over the years, thanks to a growing interest in home cooking and entertaining. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 70% of all households and 80% of American homeowners own a grill or smoker, a 6% increase over 2019. By 2032, experts anticipate the barbecue grill market will reach a whopping $10 billion in revenue.

And it's not just for dinner. About 12% of homeowners grill for brunch and 7% like to prepare their breakfast on a hot grate outdoors.

Memorial Day is second only to July 4 for grillers so chances are you'll be out there, poised for action. You might even have some cool new tools or gadgets: One of the busiest days of the year for purchasing new grills is the Saturday before Memorial Day, known in the industry as "Back to Barbecue Day."

The only question is what to cook — and by which method.


HPBA's latest "State of the Barbecue Industry" report notes that gas is still the most popular method for grilling. But charcoal, which many agree is better for flavor, is quickly catching up, jumping from 49% of ownership in 2021 to 65% in 2021.

Also not that much of a surprise: two of the most popular foods to grill are also among the easiest and least expensive to prepare, hamburgers and hot dogs.

It's estimated that Americans will consume roughly 7 billion hot dogs over the course of summer — that's 818 hot dogs every second from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We love our burgers even more, collectively eating some 20 billion burgers a year, according to the USDA. Wowza!

If you're hosting a crowd for your Memorial Day cookout, it's tempting to keep it simple. But it's also a holiday. So why not step it up a notch with extra-special recipes that will elevate this year's party?


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