The Food On Everyone’s Lips

BBQ lovers come in all shapes, sizes, and demographics. In fact, 94% of consumers confess that they’re into it.1 And, lucky for them, the types of BBQ they can find on menus keeps growing. From grilled, smoked, and charred to slow-roasted and open-pit cooked, BBQ is popping up on more and more menus. Smoked meat sandwiches continues to trend, burnt ends have grown 45% on menus over the last four years, pork is on 96% of BBQ restaurant menus, and the brisket sandwich is up 10% on menus over the past four years.2

Origins of BBQ

So, where did this fascination with BBQ get started? According to Smithsonian Magazine, what America knows as BBQ is “a Caribbean cooking style brought north by Spanish conquistadors, moved westward by settlers, and seasoned with the flavors of European cultures.”1 Though BBQ started as a simple method for cooking meat low and slow over an indirect flame, once Americans got a hold of the concept, they haven’t stopped innovating.

A BBQ Party in the USA

BBQ styles continue to expand, but there are four main American styles for creating smoked and cured meats. Texas style is biggest and shows up on 46.8% of restaurant menus, Carolina is on 33.5% of menus, Memphis is on 27.2% of menus, and Kansas City is on 7% of menus. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. There are then four distinct styles in Texas alone, and a total of 14 styles across the U.S.!3  Americans can’t get enough BBQ, whether they’re enjoying it with friends and family at home, attending competitions, watching cooking shows and videos on social media, or grabbing the latest cookbook. While it’s a hobby for some, it’s an obsession for others!

Now Trending

BBQ knows no borders, and right now global styles and flavors are getting a big thumbs up from consumers. Korean BBQ is a fan favorite with 56% of consumers who’ve tried it saying they like or love it. Other global styles and the percentage of consumers interested in them include Jamaican Jerk (49%) , Argentinian Asado (38%), Japanese Yakitori (37%), Indian Tandoori (35%), South African Braai (29%), Philippine Lechón (24%) and Chinese Chuan’r (24%).1

Authentic BBQ is Within Reach

It’s clear by now that everyone loves BBQ and it’s on menus everywhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s without challenges. For operators lacking the proper equipment and staff expertise, it’s difficult and can feel impossible to offer low-and-slow cooked meats on everyday menus. These operators still have options to compete in this arena though. They can partner with suppliers who provide BBQ expertise and deliver right to their back door. The key is to look for one who stays true to old-world basics, offers consistent products that can be customized, and provides signature flavors to your customers.

Howdy, Partner

If you’re looking for a partner to get you in the BBQ game, help is here. With NSP, you don’t have to be a BBQ pro to offer professional-style BBQ. Ensure your position in this growing category by teaming up with the experts at NSP. We create old-world-style smoked and cured meats in every style from regional American to trending global flavors. We still hand rub spices and cook with hardwood smoke for beef or pork burnt ends, pulled pork, brisket, ribs, corned beef, and more. Talk to your NSP rep today or call 918.274.8787 to see how we can get you up and running with this exciting opportunity.


1 Datassential Trendspotting – The Next Generation of BBQ – 9/22
2 Q1 2023 Datassential
3 Datassential MenuTrends, Q4 2022
5 Next Gen BBQ Operators, Datassential Trendspotting – 9/22