Seventy-seven percent of US outdoor grill owners say Fourth of July their favorite grilling occasion, followed by Memorial Day at 62% and Labor Day at 60%, survey says

SHEBOYGAN, Wisconsin , June 12, 2014 (press release) – Backyard Barbecues Expected to Turn into Sizzling Sausage Fests for Grilling Season

Hang it up, hamburgers. Do it over, dawgs. Check out, chicken. Things are getting spicy, as American grillers say they are looking for something new to fire up this summer.

In fact, according to a new survey of 1,000 Americans who own outdoor grills, the majority (57%) say they are looking to get creative this grilling season while many (29%) say they are bored with the same old burger and hot dogs – especially women (32%). Meanwhile only 20% of men want to stick to the basics of their backyard grilling routine.

America's favorite grilling occasions are the Fourth of July (77%), Memorial Day (62%) and Labor Day (60%), while the average grill owner uses the grill about three days a week during the height of grilling season (Memorial Day – Labor Day).

Sausage and brats are on the scene, poised to be the hot grilling trend of 2014. Last year, Americans grilled or cooked up $3 billion worth of sausage, with the summer months seeing the most spending. "Summer 2014 is poised to be the Summer of Sausage and we're set to inspire people to turn basic backyard barbecues into sizzling sausage fests," said Johnsonville owner and "Sausage King" Ralph Stayer. "We're seeing grillers getting more adventurous and asking for more variety of flavors and spices. It's going to be one hot summer."

Hot products to watch this year include Johnsonville's Firecracker Brats with spicy peppers, Chipotle and Monterey Jack Brats, and Cheddar and Bacon Grillers – gourmet burgers with extra ingredients designed to be a more flavorful alternative to the typical beef burger. And when it comes to buns, while most people eat their brat with a bun (72%), more people are going bun-less this year. One in four women say they typically skip the bun (24%), while younger Millennials are also likely to forgo the bread and may opt for something healthier – like lettuce wraps (7%) .

When it comes to topping, mustard is still the condiment of choice (42%), particularly for Gen Xers (45%) while ketchup is king among Millennials (43%). Boomers favor onions more than anyone (26%). When asked about other top toppings, survey respondents say Sriracha, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce and even curry are making their list of flavor enhancers this year.

To spice up summer, go beyond basic burgers and explore these easy, great-tasting ways to take grilling greatness to the next level:

Smoke It Up – Create a smoke-inspired menu starting with Hickory BBQ Grillers, topped with a smoked Gouda cheese. Add some spicy and smoky Chipotle and Monterey Jack Brats to the grill and top with salsa. For a fun beverage, grill some lemons for grilled lemonade. For dessert, put slices of angel food cake on the grill for that burnt marshmallow flavor and serve with seasonal strawberries.

South of the Border Fiesta – With flavors like Chipotle and Monterey Jack Chicken Sausage, Jalapeno and Cheddar Brats, and Chorizo Sausage, it's never been easier to create a Mexican-style fiesta any day of the week, using these different sausage varieties. Put a new twist on Taco Tuesdays and set up a brat buffet for the family with toppings like chili, beans, salsa and even crunchy tortilla chips.

Fill Up the Hot Tub – It's not a sausage fest without a Brat Hot Tub and it's an easy way to serve a variety of fresh or smoked brats to a hungry crowd. Simply put a large tin or aluminum pan on the grill, pour your favorite beer into the tin, add butter, onions, and the grilled brats. Any remaining brats can be left in the hot tub to soak up even more flavor for late party or tailgate stragglers.

DIY Toppings Bar – Heat things up with Fresh Italian Hot Sausage Links and invite your guests to customize their toppings with a condiment bar that goes beyond the basics. Tap your
pantry for creative toppings, like giardiniera, sweet and savory chutneys, salsas, Sriracha sauce, harissa and barbecue sauce.

For more inspiration and ideas, with or without a bun, visit and join us on Facebook/Johnsonville.

About Johnsonville Sausage, LLC

Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage is the No. 1 national brand of brats, Italian sausage, smoked-cooked links, fresh breakfast sausage and meatballs. Johnsonville employs approximately 1,400 members. Each member takes ownership of product quality to ensure the excellence and "Big Flavor" of Johnsonville Sausage. Founded in 1945 by the late Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, the company remains privately owned today. For additional Johnsonville company information, the latest recipes, contests and the Big Taste Grill tour schedule, visit

Sources: 2014 Johnsonville Sausage Report, 1,081 adults 18+ by Impulse Research Mintel, HPBA

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.