• 05.01.09

The Business of Barbecue

Where’s the beef? During National Barbecue Month, it’s usually sizzling over charcoal with pork, poultry, and (sometimes) veggies. As Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of the summer grill season, looms, the industry remains red hot. Here’s a tasting platter of stats.

The Business of Barbecue

More than 74 million American barbecued in 2007.

Last year Americans bought roughly 900,000 tons of charcoal briquettes. Kingsford, a unit of Clorox, has about 80% market share.

According to a Web survey, most Americans decide when to take their food off the grill by cutting into it, seeing “if it looks done,” and/or “poking it with a fork.”

But 21% just “wing it.”

A record 17.4 million grills and smokers were sold in 2007.

That same year, revenues at leading grill maker Weber-Stephen Co. neared $200 million.

The Natural Born Grillers of Olive Branch, Mississippi, beat out 261 teams to win $26,000 at last year’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis, Tennessee. They served a whole hog.


Holidays that get the most grills fired up: Memorial Day (69%), Labor Day (74%), and the Forth of July (86%).

The George Forman grill has sold almost 100 million units since its 1995 debut.

19% of Americans prefer to grill indoors.

People who make $100,000-plus are 7% more likely to time their barbecue and 3% more likely to use a thermometer.

In the summer, the average American grill owner spends 4.4 hours barbecuing each week.