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2016-10-11 Trends In Cooking

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What we cook is changing as we learn more about food and as cooking techniques are modernized. Here are some trends I see developing. Thanks to the members of our Pitmaster Club, Brigit Binns, Robyn Lindars, Clint Cantwell, and Prof. Greg Blonder, for their contributions to this list. Tell me in the comments section what we missed.

Click here for some not so serious predictions about the future for foodies.

  • “Clean labels” is the watchword and it covers a whole range of issues: There is consumer pushback on many issues. They want want additives removed from livestock, especially antibiotics and hormones. They want humanely raised livestock, no battery cages for chickens, no pork gestation crates, better feedlots.
  • They want fewer ultra-processed foods but they are buying more convenience foods such as marinated meats and precooked BBQ.
  • There will be more backyard smokers alongside backyard grills. Pellet smokers are the hottest category.
  • More restaurants are grilling over hardwood.
  • BBQ restaurants and brewpubs will be in every neighborhood just like pizza joints.
  • Sous vide is coming on strong as the devices drop in prices to close to $200. Sous vide followed by searing on the grill will be big with the barbecue crowd.
  • Cooking on salt slabs is slowly building. It may be a year or three from taking off. Not sure it will ever be big.
  • Restaurants featuring gourmet burgers in the 6-9 ounce range with exotic toppings and sauces are hot and show no sign of slowing. We will see more pork, turkey, and other burgers.
  • Lesser known cuts are becoming popular: Coulotte, bavette, rib cap, Las Vegas strip, cheek, jowel. Nose to tail cooking in restaurants is helping to fuel this.
  • Formerly cheap meats are expensive, i.e. ribs, belly, brisket, so the hunt is on for bargains as meat scientists go exploring deep into the shoulder and rump for muscles that can be sold at a premium.
  • Heritage breeds and premium meats are in demand: Wagyu beef, Ossabaw hogs, Narragansett turkeys, heirloom tomatoes. Dry aged and prime meats are appearing in more groceries. And there are more upscale groceries.
  • New meats will get a toehold: Goat, llama, ostrich, domesticated game.
  • People want to know their meat source. They want to know the breed and area of origin for meats. Will meat labeling become like wine? Will we be asking for 28 day Wet Aged Eastern Nevada Clover Grazed Black Angus?
  • Sausage is the new bacon. House made sausages with exotic ingredients and all sorts of charcuterie are being made in restaurants and at home, especially pastrami curing everything such as duck breast, goose, pork belly.
  • More of us will be grilling and smoking veggies, salads, desserts, breakfasts, and drinks.
  • There will be a lot of fusion and mashups of BBQ & ethnic cuisine, especially Asian and Mexican.
  • Regional BBQ styles have broken out of their regions and they are now everywhere. You can get South Carolina Barbecue in Kansas City.
  • Reverse searing of everything, even cheesecake.
  • Dry brining is replacing wet brining.
  • Spatchcocking of chicken and turkey is catching on.
  • More automation and smartphone interfacing of cooking devices.
  • Booze in everything, from sauces to marinades.
  • Gourmet hash.
  • Exotic ingredients such as black garlic and lemongrass.
  • Quick pickled everything.
  • Grilled cheese, Mac & Cheese with smoked meats. Cheese everything.
  • Science. People want to know about how and why when it comes to food. They want to know about collagen and what happens when heat hits meat.

Published On: 9/2/2015 Last Modified: 3/10/2021

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  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.


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Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

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Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

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Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

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With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review


Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps temperature magnet
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.

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