Barbecues are a hit in summer

Meat and sausages on charcoal – the most popular and traditional barbecue style

When the weather warms up, food preparation often moves outdoors – barbecues are fired up and the scent of food cooking over hot embers drifts through gardens, parks and from balconies. In summer, barbecuing is a wildly popular activity, at least in Germany. In the online survey conducted by YouGov at the beginning of May*, only 21 per cent of all households stated that they never barbecue. The number people who don’t barbecue at all in their household is significantly higher in the UK. There, four out of ten (41 per cent) don’t barbecue.

There’s also a significant different in the frequency of barbecue meals: While 15 per cent of respondents in Germany barbecue about once a week, only less than half that number in the UK do – around six per cent. This difference is similar in the group that barbecues several times a month: 21 per cent in Germany, but only 11 per cent in Great Britain.

Even though there are clear differences between these nations in terms of the popularity and frequency of barbecuing, they do agree – albeit to varying degrees – on the preferred style of barbecue**. A good two-thirds (67 per cent) of Britons prefer the traditional charcoal barbecue. While somewhat fewer, the majority of Germans (54 per cent) also prefer charcoal. At 36 per cent, gas barbecues come second with the British, trailed by the electric barbecue, at a measly five per cent. In Germany, the electric barbecue comes second at 25 per cent, edging out gas barbecues at 24 per cent.

High-temperature gas barbecues, which can heat the meat up to 800 degrees, are an exotic find in both nations. Only one per cent of households in Great Britain, and three per cent of households in Germany prefer high-temperature gas for their barbecues.

When asked about favourite foods to barbecue, the answers clearly cater to stereotypes: The most popular item on the barbecue in Germany is (meat) sausages or Bratwurst at 46 per cent, followed by various cuts of meat and meat burgers at 31 per cent. These items seem to end up on the barbecue “every time we barbecue”, according to respondents. Half (51 per cent) of British households always barbecue cuts of meat or meat burgers, with sausages only appearing in 37 per cent of barbecue meals. Although many other foods such as cheese, potatoes, corn, vegetables and mushrooms also end up on the barbecue, they don’t seem to be as popular as the meaty mainstays.

When it came to meat substitutes, there are clear differences between Germany and the UK. While nine per cent of German households always barbecue vegetarian or vegan sausages during barbecue season, the figure is higher in Britain at 16 per cent. The numbers of those completely avoiding vegan products on their barbecues are high: Two thirds (66 per cent) of Germans say that vegetarian or vegan sausages “never” end up on their barbecue, while exactly half of British respondents say the same (50 per cent).

* This data has been collected in an online survey conducted by YouGov Deutschland GmbH between 5 May 2021 and 7 May 2021, where 2,061 people in Germany and 2,066 people in the UK participated. The results were weighted and are representative of their respective country’s population, aged 18 and over.

** Respondents to this survey were only those who lit up their barbecues occasionally or more often. They could indicate two preferred style of barbecues, which results in combined values of over 100%.