Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association Searches

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Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association Searches

    Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association Searches

    May 21, 2007

Barbecue Trends

Weekend Grill Phenomenon **HPBA/Deidra Darsa/NBM**

    Financial Times London, England; May 19, 2007

    Simon Busch

Before buying, think about these 5 things **HPBA**

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch St. Louis, MO; Ventura County Star (CA)

    May 19, 2007

    Amy Hoak (MarketWatch)

    The Thrill Of The Grill Lights Cooks' Fires, But Where To Begin? Gas, Charcoal, Flavored Pellet, Electric: Consider Your Needs To Narrow Options

    **HPBA/Leslie Wheeler**

     Providence, RI Washington Post; Providence Journal

    Joan Cirillo (Associated Press) May 19, 2007

Fire. Meat. Yum! The Evolutionary Drive For Food Cooked Outdoors Has Led To Today's Grills


    Albany Times Union Albany, NY

    May 21, 2007

    Dan Howley

Choosing and Using a New Barbecue Grill **HPBA**

    Richmond Times Dispatch Richmond, VA

    May 19, 2007

    Julie Young

Fire Up The Barby **HPBA**

    Blue Springs Examiner Independence, MO May 19, 2007

    James A. Foley

Outdoor Living Trends

Outdoor Showers Picking Up Steam **HPBA** Springfield, MO

    May 20, 2007

    Anne Wallace Allen (Associated Press)

Hearth Trends

    SCSA Convention Offers Certification Opportunities **NFI** Alternative Energy Retailer May 21, 2007

Weekend Grill Phenomenon **HPBA/Deidra Darsa/NBM**

    Financial Times London, England;

    May 19, 2007

    Simon Busch

    Not only is it National Barbecue Month in the US but American-style grilling is possibly more popular than at any time since the discovery of fire. Last year, the country's barbecue industry experienced its biggest year-on-year sales growth since records began. Grills are bigger and better in the US, and, says Deidra Darsa of the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association, one of the trends discernable from recent sales figures is to make them bigger and better still.

    "Grills are getting more sophisticated," she says. Multiple burners, in-built convection ovens and infra-red elements - such as in models by Capital Cooking and Char-Broil - are becoming increasingly sought after. As distant as such features sound from the appeal of twigs crackling on an open fire, they do have tempting culinary advantages, says Derrick Riches,'s grilling guru and a kind of roving proponent of outdoor cooking.

    Infrared burners, for example, "provide temperatures of well over 1,000 degrees. You get a very intense heat, which causes a lot of searing and caramelisation on the surface of the meat. You get a nice, crusty outside while leaving the middle rare if you want." The highest of the high-tech grills - top models from Viking or Dynamic Cooking Systems, for instance - are gleaming steel things that look as if they were developed to conduct interplanetary warfare (and are priced accordingly).

    Once you have consumed your conspicuous grill, it seems only natural to surround it with an entire kitchen - an entire outdoor kitchen, that is. Such set-ups began to emerge in the mid-1990s, Riches tells me, from hot-tub manufacturers such as Cal Spas that saw kitchens as the obvious next step in the evolution of home entertainment outdoors. Kitchens without walls now come complete not only with fridges and dishwashers but also wood-fired pizza ovens, cocktail bars, fire-pits and even built-in sound systems - everything, in other words, including the kitchen sink.

    Such ranges are "going really gangbusters," Darsa says. They bring the natural conviviality of the kitchen outside, as well as, practically speaking, saving the chef from constantly traipsing indoors. But she reaches for a wider explanation of this further trend in the grilling world. "I think, in America, 9/11 had a big effect on people in terms of their not wanting to travel so much and instead making their own home 'resort-ish'," she says. "I think people increasingly want to create their own little outdoor hideaway."

    A traditional, brutish T-bone risks looking out of place in a six-figure outside kitchen, which must partly explain the emergence of more suave dishes to replace it. Among the "epicurean grilling options" proposed in a recent issue of Details magazine are Provencal leg of lamb and sea scallops with orange tarragon butter sauce. Yet the problem with sophisticated grilling on sophisticated grills is that it risks obviating the distinction between inside and outside cooking altogether - and thus the point of the latter. Products such as the Wolf IG15, which, promising

    "outdoor grilling from the comfort of your kitchen", creates a "grilled effect" on your "steaks, kebabs and fish", further illustrate the confusion.

    We should be thankful, then, for another, dialectical trend towards simplicity in grills. One form it has taken is the growing popularity of portable grills, for camping and caravanning or just taking around to a friend's place. Folded up in its canvas shoulder bag, the Hotspot Carry & Go sweetly resembles a laptop. (Just don't mistake it for one before a business presentation.)

    But the appeal of grilling lies, at the root, in its atavism. Without recourse to always dubious evolutionary psychology - and despite its no doubt being the subject of many a grill-side discussion - I would argue that one rarely feels more of a man than with tongs in one's hand. Thus armed, the mind lopes back past the outdoor kitchen, past the birth of the Weber kettle charcoal grill in the 1950s and, before it, the passage of the US GI bill which, with its home-buying incentives, created the suburban back-yard - to be filled with grills. It flies past the invention of standardised charcoal briquettes, following the invention - by Henry Ford, from the waste material of his automobile assembly lines - of modern charcoal itself, all the way back to the primal scene when, anthropologists hazard, early man first noticed that if you brought raw animal flesh in contact with fire, it tasted better.

    "I know people who grill all the time but don't even know how to light a fire," Riches says. "There's a call to return to that simplicity." The high-end grills are "great - they give you very even cooking, a very professional quality - but you lose a certain amount of fun compared with cooking over something in a more primitive style. What a lot of people want out of back-yard cooking is a degree of unpredictability - something that demands your attention, that gives you a point of focus.

    "A lot of people are going back to charcoal," he continues. "Sales have climbed in the past 18 months. People are buying a small, inexpensive charcoal grill and using it at the weekends. They're using their gas grills and very predictable appliances to cook during the week and to do large parties but using small charcoal grills to cook up steaks at the weekend. It's more fun and more entertaining." He calls it "a phenomenon: the weekend grill".

    My first grills, I tell the FT's sage cookery writer, Rowley Leigh, were haphazard things of old bricks and building mesh, with an invariable lean. (Or was that the beer?) "It's nice to have a bit of sophistication," he replies. "You can't turn a wood or charcoal grill down, so you have, at least, to be able to lift the food further away from, or closer to, the flame."

    Try cooking a whole rabbit, splayed out, on the grill, he suggests, or a sea bass, lightly brushed with olive oil. "I'm a very keen outdoor cook," he says. "I don't think food can ever taste better."

Before buying, think about these 5 things **HPBA**

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch St. Louis, MO; Ventura County Star (CA)

    May 19, 2007

    Amy Hoak (MarketWatch)

Grills aren't just for summer anymore.

    The trend of outdoor living and the popularity of grilled cuisine have more people using this appliance throughout the entire year. Still, as summer approaches, some consumers might be weighing a new grill purchase in time for peak grilling season.

First, do some thinking about your wants and needs and maybe most

    importantly, your budget.

    "Get the biggest grill that makes the most sense for you," said Steven H. Saltzman, deputy editor for the home and yard franchise of Consumer Reports magazine. The magazine reports on grill performance in its June issue.

The average price of a gas grill the most popular type, according to the

    Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is $263, Saltzman said. Prices, however,

    will range wildly depending on the size and features.

    And ask these five questions before buying. Answers come from Saltzman and Rob Schwing, vice president of marketing and product development at Char-Broil.

How much grill do you need?

    Figure out how many people you'll usually cook for and how much space is available for the grill on the deck or patio.

What will you use the grill for?

    If you don't think you'll use add-ons, such as the side burner or rotisserie, buy a slightly smaller grill with more cooking space or better storage.

Mind your BTUs

    A high number of BTUs doesn't necessarily guarantee faster heating or improved searing. What's really important is the evenness at which the grill cooks and the ability to control the heat. Even if a grill has a high number of BTUs, it won't make a difference if the energy is disbursed over a large grilling, cooking or warming space.

Know what you're buying

    Porcelain-coated cast iron grates do a much better job of searing than steel grates and are more expensive. Infrared grill features flash sear food or provide constant heat to a rotisserie. Pay attention to the outside of the grill, too. While stainless steel is popular, it has also gotten more expensive and will discolor over time.

Safety and sturdiness

    Make sure the grill isn't going to tip over if it gets bumped, and look for sharp edges. Examine knobs for sturdiness. Also, make sure there is enough space between the handle and the cover so that fingers or hands aren't burned by touching the lid surface when the grill is hot.

The Thrill Of The Grill Lights Cooks' Fires, But Where To Begin?

    Gas, Charcoal, Flavored Pellet, Electric: Consider Your Needs To Narrow Options **HPBA/Leslie Wheeler**

    Washington Post; Providence Journal Providence, RI

    Joan Cirillo (Associated Press)

    May 19, 2007

Grilling has never been so hot.

    The industry is growing at a record rate, but that's made shopping for a grill a little like shopping for a car: How to decide among all the makes and models and accessories?

    "First step is to figure out your grilling personality," Steven Raichlen, award-winning author of 27 books and television host of "Barbecue University," said in an e-mail.

Be precise because you're about to face a plethora of options.

    Grill shipments grew 66 percent from 1992 to 2006, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association. Last year was the industry's most successful, with nearly 17.3 million grills shipped from manufacturers to retailers, up 15 percent from 2005, according to the association.

    Leading the trend was a growth in outdoor kitchens, portable and charcoal grills, and grills with multiple burners and uses, industry experts said. Multifunctional grills can include infrared burners for restaurant-style searing, rotisseries, griddles and flat grill plates, drop-in smokers, and side burners, among other features.

    It's not hard to see why grilling suits Americans today. "It's really a convergence of a lot of things going on," Raichlen said in a phone interview.

    For starters, "that casual lifestyle has permeated every part of our lives," said Leslie Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the barbecue association. "People like the casualness of eating and cooking outside."

    People are entertaining more at home, and a good number of new books and TV shows teach grilling techniques, Raichlen said. Home cooks are more educated now, especially about international cuisine, and prepare meals from start to finish on their grills, he said.

    And don't forget grilling's advantage for the time-pressed: "There aren't any baking dishes to clean," Wheeler said.

    Manufacturers have used inexpensive labor in China to build increasingly sophisticated but affordable grills, Raichlen said. The result is a dizzying variety.

    Viking, a leader in equipment for outdoor rooms, offers more than 100 outdoor cooking products. A new line of gas grills this year includes built-in canopy lighting for night grilling and a 120-volt electric ignition system.

    Weber-Stephen Products, whose charcoal kettle grill is an icon, brought out its largest line this year, with 23 new gas grills in colors including deep blue, green and copper. And Char-Broil's new Tec series combines gas and infrared heat grilling.

So, where to begin?

    Decide which of the four basic grill types you want. These include gas, the most popular for its ease and clean burn; charcoal, preferred by some for flavor and versatility; pellet, which uses wood pellets in flavors such as oak, hickory and mesquite; and electric, good for seniors and people who live in fire-restricted dwellings.

    Frequent entertainers will want a large gas grill with four or more burners, or several grills. Those cooking for two will be fine with a gas grill with two or three burners or a charcoal grill, Raichlen said.

Enjoy the process? "You're a candidate for charcoal," Raichlen said.

    More result-oriented? "You'll probably prefer the convenience of push-button ignition and turn-of-the-knob heat control associated with gas grilling," he said.

"My personal belief is that you should own both," he added.

What about cost?

    Grills range from less than $100 to thousands of dollars. "People should think about a grill as an investment," said Elizabeth Karmel, author of "Taming the Flame," in a phone interview. "This is like buying an oven for your home. If you buy a good one, it will last you forever."

    Expect to spend $450 to $500 for a better gas grill, Karmel said. "Don't get seduced by all the bells and whistles. Think about your lifestyle and how you cook and if you're really going to use the side burners, for instance," she warned.

    "Most of the inexpensive ones, $300 or less, are going to fall apart in three years," author and television host Rick Browne said. The self-proclaimed "doctor of barbecue" looks for even heat over the surface of the grill, a grill with at least three burners and versatility. He spoke from the road as he set out to tape his "Barbecue the World" show, for his sixth season of barbecue shows on PBS.

Check out the grill's heat capacity.

    "We like high heat when we grill, so we recommend a gas grill with at least 40,000 BTU output from the grilling surface," Karen Adler wrote in an e-mail. Adler and Judith Fertig, authors of "Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens," prefer the ease of gas grills on weekdays.

    Where you live and your available space tailor your choices, Adler added. "If you are close to the ocean or have a pool, you may want to invest in stainless steel because it won't rust," she said.

    Condominium or apartment dwellers with strict fire laws may need an electric grill, but be sure it's high-powered, Adler said.

    Like a car, a grill needs cleaning and maintenance, so be sure replacement parts are easily available, Weber-Stephen spokeswoman Sherry Bale advised.

    One final piece of advice from grilling expert Karmel: "Buy a bigger and better grill than you think you'll need because once you start using it, you'll find you're using it all the time."

    Fire. Meat. Yum! The Evolutionary Drive For Food Cooked Outdoors Has Led To Today's Grills **HPBA**

    Albany Times Union Albany, NY

    May 21, 2007

    Dan Howley

    Saber-toothed tiger ribs never tasted as good as the night Ort held a slab of them over a fire behind his cave and gave the world its first adventure in barbecuing. He probably seared his fingers a few times before discovering that holding the meat on a stick was a much preferred method to just using his hands, a culinary sacrifice for which mankind owes untold gratitude. That first encounter with medium-rare tiger ribs linked us forever with our Neanderthal ancestors, who left us with the primal instinct that compels us to go outside and cook something over a fire.

    But, oh, how backyard cooking has changed since 230,000 B.C., most notably not having to kill something furry with teeth the size of butcher knives to get the meat.

    Not to diminish the 50,000 years or so it took for man to lose those unfortunate foreheads and learn to count on his fingers, but this time of year the evolution of barbecues is of more historical significance, especially if you're in the market to upgrade your alfresco cooking inventory.

    Besides, May is National Barbecue Month, evidence that the sound of steak hissing on a grill and the aroma of A-1 sauce are as much a rite of spring as robins and tulips.

    "As soon as the sun starts shining, people can't wait to get out of their little cocoons and be outside cooking," said David Taft, sales manager of Best Fire Inc. in Colonie.

    A record-breaking 17 million grills were shipped in the United States in 2006, according to the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association's Web site, a 15 percent increase over the previous year. It also said 81 percent of all U.S. households own a grill and nearly 50 percent of grill owners use them at least twice a week during the peak season.

    The estimated 500 million barbecue gatherings that are held each year in the U.S. feature all manner of grills from the $12.95 hibachi to the $79 rolltop jobs with the plastic wheels to the popular $300 to $500 gas and propane rigs. Then, of course, there are the heavy stainless-steel aristocrats of grilling that go for about $7,000 and come with infrared heaters and more knobs and dials than the flight deck of a 747.

    Taft said there is a growing popularity for the Big Green Egg family of ceramic cookers that burn real wood charcoal and can be used as smokers, grills and ovens.

    Taft said there is a resurgence in the popularity of charcoal in recent years both for taste reasons and because, in the case of the Green Egg technology, the charcoal is ready in about 10 minutes.

    "There are people who want nothing to do with charcoal and just want the convenience of hitting a striker and being able to cook," Taft said, "but (the Big Green Eggs) are really popular because

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