Prime grilling season is about to fire up and the manufacturers of grilling equipment are rolling out new models and touting their latest product innovations, bells and whistles.
With accessories like griddles, woks, and built-in steamers, grills have become so sophisticated now that their makers claim you can prepare nearly any kind of meal—including dessert—with the BBQ grill. As a result, more manufacturers of gas and charcoal grills are targeting women with their marketing efforts.
Men remain the primary masters of the grill. In roughly two-thirds of American households, it’s the man who wields the BBQ tongs—and guys tend to stick to the basics…grilling steaks, chops, burgers, chicken and the like. Women, on the other hand, are accustomed to preparing a wider range of dishes in the kitchen, so it seems likely they might be more adventurous with the Weber cooker out on the deck. At least that’s the theory espoused by the grill marketers.
Reality cooking shows and the latest BBQ cookbooks aim to expand grillmasters’ repertoires regardless of gender. Choices like apricot mascarpone tarts, fondue, halibut ceviche, and hearts of palm are featured as cutting edge grilling options on shows such as TLC’s “BBQ Pitmasters,” and Food Network’s “Best in Smoke.” These culinary creations, frankly, do seem like choices women would be more likely to try than dudes.
Weber, for one, has gone on record with its stated goal to find an equal balance of the sexes. The company employs Edna Schlosser as a grill tester, to get a woman’s perspective. She checks on whether BBQ tongs are too unwieldy and how to help prevent blouses from catching fire during the grilling process.
While grill makers try to lure new converts with souped up cookers that feature halogen interior lighting, rotisseries, searing burners, and infrared heating elements, they have also tried to simplify with easy-to-start electric units that might appeal to the fairer sex.
It will be fascinating to follow this food trend and to see if men are really willing to let the gals start to encroach on their BBQ turf.
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