One thing that hasn't changed or, if anything, has gotten even more popular, is backyard barbecuing. During the pandemic, people turned to their grills in order to have something to celebrate, a safe way to get together with those closest to them and to have an escape into a sense of normalcy. This year, it seems that the same trends will continue - in terms of more BBQ days, that is. If nothing else, the number of backyard BBQs will likely go up as people are just starting to see their families and loved ones as more vaccines go into arms throughout the summer.
With all of that being said, what, exactly, will the trends of 2021 be? For some time, smoking meat was popular along with grill baskets for all things non-meat, and then grill chimneys came into play and saved many people from uneven grill marks. But with 2021 bringing with it such a different air and atmosphere, many people are wondering what will be trending on social media and, possibly, in their neighbor's backyards. The expert answers might be surprising and they're definitely not what's expected of any other typical BBQ season but believe us when we say we're here for it.
Low And Slow Is Making A Comeback
According to Bay Area BBQ Islands, cooking meat low and slow isn't just coming back, it's coming back revamped and improved. Whereas low and slow once meant smoking meat or setting it to 'low' in the oven, it now means incorporating a wide range of techniques from using different barbecues, such as a kamado, to control the heat.
It also means using a different accelerant such as coals or wood chips that will take longer to go out, keeping the food warm while cooking but not allowing it to exceed certain temperatures too quickly. The overall vibe of BBQs now is laid-back and casual and the food is beginning to reflect that.
Vegan BBQs Are Now In High Gear
Veganism is a lifestyle that is clearly here to stay and the BBQ crowd isn't mad about it. The switch to meatless meals has driven up such a creative need to find new and innovative ways to find substitutes, that even things such as cauliflower and watermelon steaks have become hugely popular.
This creativity will undoubtedly be carried onto the grill this summer as more people experiment with meat-free options and realize that, yes, a watermelon can actually take on the smoky flavor of a rack of ribs.
BBQ With An International Twist
Korean BBQ has gained popularity in the U.S. and that's not the only cuisine that's catching people's attention. Out of a need for something different and perhaps more challenging, people are reaching their outstretched tongs to other countries and, in turn, other cultures, to find something that works for them.
This exchange and fusion of cuisines mean that you shouldn't be surprised when you go to a friend's BBQ and find something new there, and you also shouldn't be afraid to try it.
Charcoal Is Coming Back Into The Picture
The charcoal crowd is getting even more attention this year as people are stepping away from their traditional gas grills in favor of more flavor. The flavor isn't the only thing that charcoal has going for it, though - this is also a great way to boost the heat level while also paving the way for a drier heating process, which means smoking and other similar techniques become options.
Nowadays, there are plenty of affordable charcoal grills out there that allow people to dive right in and have almost full control over their cooking process.
Vegetables Are No Longer On The Side But Are Used For Presentation
At one point, a side of grilled zucchini or peppers would have been a great base for a grilled veggie salad. Now, home cooks are getting fancy and aren't relying on vegetables as sides - they're using them as a base for the big picture. What do we mean by this? In short, people are taking a lesson from high-end restaurants and are finally using vegetables as beds for meat main courses.
For example, if the meat of choice is a London broil, the entire thing, sliced or not, gets placed atop a bed of roasted vegetables. The presentation looks well-put-together and elevated, and the vegetables - which only need salt and pepper - get to soak up all of those juices from the meat. It's a great way to serve a crowd and get that perfect social media-worthy shot.