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Outdoor Cooking Trends for 2012 Unveiled

March 09, 2012

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) is revealing new products and trends for the barbecue industry in 2012. The organization recently held the HPBExpo, an indoor-outdoor living show highlighting the latest products for barbecues, outdoor kitchens and tailgates.

Approximately 86 percent of North American households own a grill or smoker, and the majority (62 percent) of grill owners use their grills year round. Shipments of grills and smokers reached more than 14.7 million in 2011 alone.

"With the continued popularity of outdoor cooking, manufacturers are looking for new ways to keep the spark of this favorite activity alive,” said Leslie Wheeler, HPBA communications director. “The focus of 2012 is all-in-one work areas, multifunctional grills, keeping safety a top priority and continuing to innovate accessories for easier and fun cooking experiences.”

One of the trends that will be seen during 2012 and beyond is one-stop shopping. New outdoor cooking units are focusing on offering more with stainless-steel refrigerators, bottle openers, beverage centers, brick ovens and other cooking elements built right in, providing a convenient outside cooking experience.

Safety, a prominent concern, is seeing new innovations. From new propane tank carriers that sit upright in the trunk or back seat while in compliance with published safety standards, to grills that use a turbo-effect cooking method created by a blower system, which does not use any propane or explosive fuels, these products are being designed with safety in mind.

Cooking on-the-go is taking on a new life with practical and durable portable grills and smokers. Ideal for tailgates, picnics and camping, today's portable grills and smokers are not only lightweight, but come equipped with new features and technologies, such as infrared grilling.

One of the most popular trends of 2012 is the creative outdoor cooking accessory. Pellets now come infused with spices to give food intense flavor with no mess or soaking. Also new this year, an all-in-one grilling utensil with a heat shield grip to ensure users can grill food and be protected from the heat. Attachments may include fish flippers, slider flippers, fork attachment and barbecue sauce brush attachment.

Pictured: Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet’s revamped K900 hybrid grill.
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