Grilling season is a time of year that brings excitement and anticipation for food enthusiasts and barbecue lovers alike. It is a time when individuals gather outdoors, fire up their grills, and indulge in deliciously grilled dishes. Grilling not only adds incredible flavor and texture but it also infuses a smoky taste that is hard to replicate through other cooking methods. Grilling allows for the natural sugars in foods to caramelize, creating a rich and amazing flavor. Whether using a gas grill, pellet grill, or even a hot grill over direct or indirect heat, the options for creating delicious grilled dishes are endless. From barbecue chicken to marinated vegetables, grilling offers a versatile and healthy cooking process. So, while grilling trends might come and go, the joy and satisfaction of cooking and sharing grilled food will always have a special place in our hearts and on our plates. So, fire up the grill, gather your family and friends, and get ready to savor the flavors of grilling season.
Why is Grilled Food Trending? Less Fat, More Flavor!
Grilled food is currently trending for several reasons, but two key factors stand out: the health benefits it offers and the delicious, flavorful results it delivers.
One of the main advantages of grilling is that it helps eliminate excess fats and oils from proteins. When food is grilled, the fat drips off the meat and into the grill, resulting in healthier options. This makes grilled food a popular choice for individuals looking to watch their fat and calorie intake while still enjoying a satisfying meal.
In addition to being a healthier cooking method, grilling also infuses natural flavor into foods. The smoky, charred taste that grilling provides enhances the taste of meats, vegetables, and even fruits. This natural flavor means there is less need for additives like excessive amounts of salt, sugar, or oils. Grilled food can be enjoyed in its purest form, allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through.
Fast-casual restaurants have recognized the convenience and versatility of grills. They offer grilled options on their menus as they allow for quick and efficient cooking. Grilling provides a way to prepare delicious meals without compromising on taste or quality, making it an ideal option for fast-casual dining.
Overall, the combination of reduced fat content, enhanced natural flavors, and convenience has made grilled food a popular choice for health-conscious individuals and food enthusiasts alike. It is a trend that is expected to continue growing in the coming years.
Grill Trends of 2023
Grilling has always been a beloved cooking technique, but in 2023, we are seeing some exciting trends that are shaking up the world of outdoor cooking.
1. The Adventure of Exotic Meats
Venturing beyond the familiar terrains of beef and chicken, 2023 witnesses an increased appetite for unconventional meats. Branzino, a European seabass, is becoming a favorite due to its mild, buttery taste. Bison, leaner than beef and rich in nutrients, is another sought-after choice for health-conscious grillmasters. Ostrich, known for its red meat characteristics, is being celebrated for its beef-like texture and taste.
However, diving into exotic meats isn’t without challenges. The demand surge can lead to unsustainable farming and hunting practices. Moreover, sourcing these meats ethically and ensuring they meet health standards is a daunting task for suppliers.
2. Plant-Based Meats: The Green Revolution on Grills
The booming trend of vegetarianism and veganism has propelled the creation and perfection of plant-based meats. These aren’t your old-school veggie burgers; companies have invested heavily in R&D to mimic the texture, juiciness, and flavor of real meat. Beyond Meat’s burgers “bleed” thanks to beet juice, while Impossible Foods employs heme iron to recreate meaty flavors.
But as rosy as this plant-based narrative seems, challenges lurk. Achieving the right balance of taste and texture, ensuring the products are nutritionally equivalent or superior to meat, and battling the stigma of “processed foods” are just a few hurdles brands face.
3. Frozen Meats: Convenience at Hand
Another emerging trend is the acceptance of frozen meats for grilling. In the past, fresh meats were often preferred, but now frozen options are gaining recognition for their convenience and quality. Advances in freezing techniques have improved the texture and taste of frozen meats, making them a viable option for grill masters. This trend allows for more variety and flexibility in meal planning, making grilling a year-round activity.
4. Seasonings and Flavors : The Global Palette Merges
In 2023, the grilling world isn’t just mixing meats; it’s blending global flavors. African-inspired seasonings, with their rich, bold spices, are finding their way to American backyards. Tropical rubs, imbued with pineapple, mango, and coconut, promise a summery delight with each bite. And for those who adore a fiery kick, sriracha and habanero-infused concoctions are becoming a staple. One of the standout trends is the rise of African grilling, which is gaining popularity for its bold and vibrant flavors. African grilling techniques, such as open-fire grilling and the use of unique spice blends, are becoming more widely embraced. Dishes like peri-peri chicken and suya skewers, marinated in flavorful spice rubs, are becoming favorites among grill enthusiasts. This trend adds a new level of excitement to the grilling scene with its rich and distinct flavor profiles.Companies like PS Seasoning, Kosmos Q, and Meat Mitch have introduced a range of new flavors that will take your grilling game to the next level.
One of the standout trends in flavor innovation is the incorporation of fruit flavors. PS Seasoning has introduced their Big Kahuna Pineapple Teriyaki Rub and Sauce, which combines the tangy sweetness of pineapple with savory teriyaki flavors. This tropical treat adds a unique twist to your grilled meats and vegetables.
If you prefer a bit of heat in your grilling, Kosmos Q has you covered with their Dirty Bird Sriracha Rub. This blend combines the rich flavors of their original Dirty Bird rub with the spicy kick of sriracha. It’s perfect for those who like a little extra heat in their grilled dishes.
In addition to fruit flavors and spicy elements, companies like Meat Mitch are introducing unique spice blends that bring a whole new level of flavor to your grilling. Their Whomp! Rub and Sauce is a mouth-watering combination of brown sugar, chili powder, and other secret spices. This blend adds depth and complexity to your grilled dishes, creating an unforgettable flavor experience.
Yet, this flavor explosion isn’t without pitfalls. Companies tread a fine line between innovation and overcomplication. They must ensure new flavors resonate with the palate while retaining the essence of traditional grilling.
5. Snacks Imitating Grilled Flavour: Capturing the Essence of Smoke and Fire
If you’ve ever craved the smokiness of grilled foods in a snack, 2023 is your year. From chips exuding BBQ aromas to nuts roasted with grill-inspired flavors, the snack aisle is transforming. Even dairy products, such as cheeses and yogurts, are dabbling with smoked and grilled profiles.
While these products satiate grill cravings any time of day, the debate about natural versus artificial flavorings intensifies. Natural advocates argue for authentic flavors, while the other side points to consistency and longevity provided by artificial counterparts.
Balancing Trade-offs: Walking the Tightrope of Innovation
Every innovation is a balancing act, especially in the food industry. Pre-flavored meats ooze convenience but grapple with perceptions of freshness and added preservatives. Similarly, while plant-based meats champion sustainability, they often involve processing and might lack certain traditional meat nutrients.
The shadow of sustainability looms large over grilling innovations. Overfishing threatens marine ecosystems, while the charcoal industry contributes to deforestation. Even packaging, especially for pre-flavored and processed products, exacerbates the waste crisis.
Thus, integrating meat with plant-based options, employing sustainable farming and fishing practices, and exploring eco-friendly packaging are not mere options but necessities.
2023’s grillers are spoiled for choice with pre-flavored meats and snacks. These ready-to-grill products, marinated or seasoned to perfection, promise flavor-packed dishes without the fuss. However, there’s a flip side. Preservatives to prolong shelf life, concerns about authenticity, and the environmental impact of packaging are issues brands must grapple with. The grilling landscape of 2023, rich with innovations, is both a chef’s dream and a conundrum. As this world expands, marrying tradition with innovation, flavor with ethics, and community with safety will be the fulcrum of future successes.