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We grilled Americans to find out their favorite barbecue foods

A study of 2,000 adults in the U.S. revealed the nation’s favorite and least favorite barbecue foods.

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leisure and people concept - happy friends eating and drinking at barbecue party on rooftop in summer
(Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

Burgers, hot dogs and chicken wings have been given the official “God tier” status according to BBQ fans – proving the classics have stood the test of time, despite the rise of alternative menus across America.

This guide to the best of barbecue foods shows the likes of cauliflower ‘steak’, couscous and halloumi appear lowest on American’s wishlists.

Seafood makes up a huge portion of the “good” tier including salmon, lobster and white fish.  

Second from the bottom – the “meh” tier – features sweet dishes such as banana and pineapple, as well as lamb chops and tuna steak.

Somewhat controversially, bacon was also in the ‘meh’ category.  

The study of 2,000 US adults revealed the nation’s favorite and least favorite barbecue foods with 49% preferring traditional dishes compared to 26% who opt for alternatives.

The likes of avocado (38%), hummus (36%) and eggplant (33%) are considered ‘elevated’ barbecue foods.

Commissioned by St Pierre Bakery and conducted by OnePoll, the study found 65% believe traditional grill dishes have stood the test of time, with 57% claiming hot dogs and burgers are unbeatable.

“The god tier ratings are definitely a conversation starter and everyone will have their own opinion on the best and worst barbecue foods”, said a spokesperson for St Pierre.

“We know the Labor Day weekend will be a popular time for grilling and while the weather can sometimes surprise us, it could well be the last barbecue opportunity of the year.

“This list is perfectly timed to help inspire hosts on what to serve hungry guests.

“It’s clear that Americans are not enticed by a fruity dessert on the barbie such as bananas or pineapple but hosts looking to impress should offer a variety of bread options for burgers and hot dogs to feed the crowds.”

The study also found 41% plan to host a barbecue this Labor Day while 47% will be attending one.

Almost half (45%) like to try out new dishes when grilling to impress others.

Meals to impress at a cookout include a whole chicken (32%), beef brisket (29%) and upgrading from standard bread to brioche rolls (25%).

Many describe their own barbecues as unique (48%), flavorful (48%) and even chef standard (39%).

While 63% stick to the basics when cooking as they assume that’s what their guests want, 66% try – and fail – to cook something other than traditional foods.

For half barbecues have become healthier in the last decade, and 44% think they are more suitable for all dietary requirements.

When hosting a barbie, hot dogs and chicken are the go-to, as well as burgers, potato salad and steak making the cut.

Meanwhile, bread rolls (53%) and brioche (37%) are among the most popular breads to serve.

When it comes to condiments, ketchup (51%), mayonnaise (49%) and aptly barbecue sauce (47%) are the most popular for going alongside the likes of burgers and hot dogs.


  • Burgers
  • Chicken wings
  • Hot dogs
  • Chicken e.g. breasts, legs, thighs etc
  • Steak
  • Ribs
  • Burger cheese
  • Potato salad
  • Corn on the cob
  • Beef brisket


  • Pasta salad     
  • Pork chops        
  • Kebabs/skewers     
  • Lobster
  • Chicken souvlaki
  • Whitefish e.g. seabass, halibut
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Pulled pork
  • Salmon     
  • Avocado


  • Sweet potatoes  
  • Potato rolls   
  • Crisps
  • Grilled mushroom        
  • Lamb chops   
  • Onions
  • Banana        
  • Bacon
  • Pineapple
  • Tuna steak


  • Coleslaw
  • Lamb doner
  • Bread rolls
  • Pitta/flatbread
  • Chorizo
  • Eggplant
  • Grilled pear
  • Cauliflower ‘steak’
  • Halloumi
  • Couscous

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