After watching the outdoor cooking industry serve up some amazing things last year
I have a few outdoor cooking predictions for 2019.
Here are a few of my Outdoor Cooking Predictions for 2019.
The Griddle Grill Will Replace The Gas Grill
In June, I released the first cookbook dedicated exclusively to outdoor griddle cooking.
I have been cooking on an outdoor griddle for years as a cooking surface accessory for my existing grills but now dedicated griddle grills have all but replaced my old, heavy cast iron griddle surfaces.
In 2018 there were three popular griddle manufacturers. You could buy an outdoor griddle grill at most national retailers like WalMart, Home Depot, and Lowes as well as some national sporting goods stores.
This year the griddle grill will be absolutely everywhere. It may be the second or third grill on your patio but chances are it will get the most use.
The popularity of griddle grills is almost obvious.
Just about anything you can cook on your stove in a pan can be cooked on a griddle grill.
Compared to cooking over an open flame, griddle grills are far less intimidating to cook with.
Griddles are approachable for all members of the family. It’s fun to let everyone grab a spatula and get in on the action.
Griddle grills are evolving to become full-on cooking stations with clever accessories like built-in paper towel holders, and drawers to store utensils making the experience even more fun.
Look for manufacturers to release complete griddle cooking stations where friends and family can all gather round and get in on the action and the eating.
Smart Cooking And Remote Temperature Monitoring Will Be Everywhere
I am using more and more products which connect directly to my smartphone or tablet which can monitor the outdoor cooking process. Remote temperature monitoring although not a necessity is a luxury I truly enjoy.
Sometimes smoking meat can be a very long process.
I like being able to roll over in the middle of the night, grab my smartphone and see what temperature my meat and pit are cooking at. It's much more convenient than putting on my boots and heading outside. Especially here in Montana.
Thermometers and pit controllers have got an early start with the convenience of remote monitoring but grill manufacturers are getting in on the action too.
The Traeger Timberline grill which launched in 2017 uses what they call WiFire technology. This allows you to remotely monitor the temperature of your food while it is cooking and adjusts the temperature of your grill.
It’s a pretty neat trick when you bump into a friend at the store and they ask you what’s cooking. You can bust out your phone show them you have a brisket which is about done and you need to get going.
But more importantly, you can adjust the temperature of your cooker remotely as well. This is especially handy if you are out doing something fun and want to speed up or slow down the cooking process to have dinner time on your terms.
Craft Meat and Heritage Breeds Will Be On The Menu
People are purchasing with their palate these days. Quality meats have never been more accessible. Ordering craft meats online is simple and usually arrives at your door frozen solid in 2-3 days.
Although craft beef has lead the charge for online sourcing I think other artisan proteins will become more prominent as add-ons to your beef order. Heritage pork, chemically free chickens and properly handled seafood will become more and more available.
Charcoal Becomes Something You Ask Santa For
The iconic Weber Kettle grill has been the go-to charcoal grill since it first became available in the 1950s. It’s still one of the most impressive and versatile charcoal grills on the market but it is not without competition.
Brands like PK Grills are producing functional charcoal grills which are built to last a lifetime. They are aesthetically gorgeous. They're perfect to set them up for two zone cooking. This allows you to roast meat indirectly on the cooler side of the grill while it develops smoky flavors and then sear the meat directly over hot coals for additional char and flavor.
Ceramic Kamado Grills are also becoming more and more popular. They cook efficiently and work well as both a grill and a smoker.
Kamado grills are heavy and once they come to temperature, they tend to stay at that temperature efficiently for long periods of time.
A Kamado grill can often maintain a lower temperature for over 20 hours without requiring more charcoal
Kamado grills typically use all-natural hardwood lump charcoal as fuel versus charcoal briquettes because the lump charcoal produces less ash than briquettes.
Kamado grills designs have not seen many improvements for decades but the accessories are evolving rapidly. Some recent accessories which make kamado cooking more appealing than ever before include:
- Multi-level racks which can hold more food
- Fans which can control the grill's temperature
- Rotisserie attachments
- Attachments to make cooking pizza more fun and efficient
- Charcoal baskets for better airflow and easier cleanup
- Salt Blocks, Soapstones, and other surfaces like GrillGrates for cooking things like Smashburgers, fish, and scallops
Kebab Grills Will Be The New Fondue Pot
Fondue pots may have gone out with the shag rug in the ski chalet. But I still manage to drag mine out once a year during the first snowstorm. The kebab grill is something you can use whenever you have friends over. It's an intimate way to connect around the dinner table.
The communal aspect of kebab cooking makes it perfect for any small gathering or cocktail party.
People already love Korean Barbecue. You cook a variety of meats and veggies over a small grill. Then enjoy them with a variety of condiments and sauces. Supermarkets are making it even easier offering pre-marinated meats which are sliced thinly and ready for the grill.
Anytime you can have grilled pork, chicken, beef, and seafood at the same meal is probably going to be pretty awesome.
Customers will spend more money with brands they develop a personal relationship with
It's harder and harder for manufacturers to stand out in the outdoor cooking space. With an estimated 90% of households owning at least one outdoor grill, many companies are competing to be both on your patio and on the dinner table.
With social media, we are seeing business owners, chef's pitmasters, and even manufacturers engineering teams getting in front of the camera to explain the benefits of the products they sell.
Brands who have a purpose will become recognized
Code 3 Spices of Collinsville, IL is a great example of a small business who refuses to lose sight of the company's mission. Donating a portion of each sale to charities who support Police, Fire, Medical, and Military personnel.
Try this the next time you are in the grocery store. Go to the spice or barbecue sauce shelf. Notice how many dozens of choices you have and consider how you decide between one or the other.
Picking one can be daunting. But if there is a brand who you know supports a cause you support, it makes the decision-making process much easier.