Grate Reflections of 2018
As we wrap up 2018 and prepare for a new year it’s fun to reflect on the year that has passed and look for themes and trends that defined the year. In grilling we noticed a couple of strong trends. The argument of gas versus charcoal is finally over and neither won! The Pellet grill took the crown in 2018 in several important ways.
Pellet Grills Reached an Important Tipping Point In 2018
This year a pellet grill became my daily go-to grill. My reliable Weber Genesis gas grill has yielded the starting lineup to a pellet grill and not just any pellet grill. To knock the gasser to the bench required a grill that would easily sear hot and fast as well as run low and slow. For the most part we grill regularly 4-5 x a week, and occasionally smoke big meats usually on weekends and holidays. In between is a lot of reverse searing- but always with a hot sear and pellet grills can now do it all- sear, roast and smoke.
“The RecTec Bullseye sparked my change to using a pellet grill as an every day grill.” Brad Barrett- owner GrillGrate LLC
Pellet Grills Rarely Were a First Grill- Until Now
2018 marked another inflection point this year as many people new to grilling are opting to start with a pellet grill. Until recently pellet grills were bought by aficionados and grill geeks who were on their second or third grill. Now the newbie griller is plugging right into pellets. That’s good for the industry and great for pellet grill manufacturers. It only took 35 years for pellet grills to go main stream!
The Mid Century Modern Kettle
What’s old is new again and that certainly goes for the iconic Weber Kettle. 2018 is the year we (Chef Michael and I) re-discovered the Weber Kettle. Along with the phenomenal rise of pellet grills we see a parallel trend of getting back to basics with charcoal and live fire. The Kettle turned 65 last year and is as relevant on the grilling scene as ever. The Slow ‘N Sear charcoal system along with GrillGrates significantly enhance the versatility of the Kettle. Where does that leave gas?
The Kettle is like a stick shift car that every griller should learn how to grill on
The Portable Kitchen PK 360- a modern take
on a another charcoal classic
Gas Grills are Fading Fast
Statistically gas grills still sell more than pellet or charcoal grills but will that trend continue? We think not. Invest in pellet and charcoal futures!
While the grill scene is evolving so are the things people are doing with their grills. We’ve seen that with GrillGrates. 2018 is the year we saw the flip side become as common a grill surface as the rail side. We can thank Meathead for leading the way here nearly 10 years ago- but as we’ve seen it takes a while for trends to go mainstream.
Is Griddling the New Grilling? After reading
Paul Sidoriak’s new book you will think so!
Steak Cookoff Association Hit Critical Mass in 2018
The SCA sanctioned over 200 cook-offs in the US and dozens more in Europe, Australia, Japan, Mexico and more. Grilling the perfect steak is a right of passage for most grillers and now you can win good money doing it too! Two aspects about Steak Cookoffs that are particularly notable: the number of husband and wife teams that compete separately or together and the family nature in general of steak cookoffs. The SCA truly is a big family that grills and chills together!
The Steak Cook-off trend is sure to continue strong into 2019 with 300 US events already on the books.
Kids Q + Family Grilling = The Grilling Lifestyle
The rise of family grilling is an outgrowth of the rise in food sport and the grilling lifestyle. Many events now include kids competitions and kids are helping their parents and joining in event festivities. The popularity and smiles coming from these events is probably the best trend of 2018. The family that grills together doesn’t just eat well. The family that grills together spends the most important time of the day together- preparing and eating great meals.
The grilling lifestyle is perhaps the biggest trend of 2018.
We’d love to hear what grilling trends you saw in 2018?
GrillGrate, Eat Well & Prosper!