Backyard grilling ranks right up there with baseball as a summertime tradition in the U.S. There’s nothing quite like throwing some burgers, steaks, hot dogs and corn on the grill, and then salivating as the food sizzles and the smells waft through the air.

A 2013 study by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association shows 80 percent of U.S. households own a grill or smoker, meaning millions of people from Seattle, WA, to St. Petersburg, FL, are chowing down on grilled goodies on the Fourth of July, Memorial Day or any other summertime occasion.

For many American adults, grilling “is strongly associated with positive memories and emotions of cookouts past,” says Fiona O’Donnell, multicultural, lifestyles, leisure and travel manager at consumer research company Mintel.

grilling

Photo: Flickr/Tojosan

Some places in the U.S. are better suited to creating those positive memories, though. To unearth the best of those places, we combed through data for the country’s 75 largest metro areas related to:

  • Summertime weather — The higher the number, the better the weather.
  • Air quality — The lower the number, the better the air quality.
  • Buying power — The higher number, the more power to buy items for the grill like hamburgers, hot dogs and steaks.

Each of those three factors was evenly weighted.

We then added two wildcards: the Google grilling index, measuring a metro area’s search activity related to grilling, and grill maker Napoleon’s ranking of the hot spots for grilling, demonstrating a metro area’s passion for grilling. Each of those two factors was assigned half the value of the three previous ranking factors.

When we mixed all that data together, we wound up with LawnStarter’s list of the Top 14 Metro Areas for Backyard Grilling. Read along to see whether your city made the cut.

(Details about the data sources appear at the end of this blog post. NA = not applicable.)

1. McAllen, TX

McAllen TX

Photo: McAllen Convention and Visitors Bureau

Summertime weather: 14
Air quality: 6
Buying power: 117.1
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

2. Columbia, SC

Columbia SC

Photo: Brett Flashnick/Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau

Summertime weather: 11
Air quality: 38
Buying power: 108.5
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

3. Tulsa, OK

Tulsa OK

Photo: Flickr/dogsbylori

Summertime weather: 7
Air quality: 67
Buying power: 109.8
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

4. Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati

Photo: Flickr/Christopher Fitz

Summertime weather: 27
Air quality: 99
Buying power: 110.5
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: 7

5. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta GA

Photo: Flickr/Hotlanta Voyeur

Summertime weather: 15
Air quality: 106
Buying power: 105
Google grilling index: 54
Grilling hot spot: 1

6. Greenville, SC

Greenville SC

Photo: Firewater Photography/Visit Greenville SC

Summertime weather: 13
Air quality: 85
Buying power: 112.7
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

7. Charleston, SC

Charleston SC

Photo: Flickr/Garden State Hiker

Summertime weather: 17
Air quality: 44
Buying power: 104.2
Google grilling index: 61
Grilling hot spot: NA

8. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City MO

Photo: Visit KC

Summertime weather: 21
Air quality: 152
Buying power: 106.7
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: 4

9. Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque

Photo: MarbleStreetStudio.com/Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau

Summertime weather: 16
Air quality: 82
Buying power: 103
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

10. Orlando, FL

Orlando FL

Photo: Visit Orlando

Summertime weather: 23
Air quality: 66
Buying power: 102.1
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

11. Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis

Photo: Flickr/Greg Wagoner

Summertime weather: 24
Air quality: 123
Buying power: 106.8
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

12. Tucson, AZ

Tucson AZ

Photo: Visit Tucson

Summertime weather: 35
Air quality: 18
Buying power: 102.8
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

13. Knoxville, TN

Knoxville TN

Photo: Flickr/Brent Moore

Summertime weather: 50
Air quality: 28
Buying power: 110
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

14. Columbus, OH

Columbus OH

Photo: Flickr/Always Shooting

Summertime weather: 34
Air quality: 104
Buying power: 107
Google grilling index: NA
Grilling hot spot: NA

Data sources

Summertime weather
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-summer-travel-destinations/3792/

Air quality
http://air-quality-by-city.findthedata.com/

Buying power
https://github.com/TaxFoundation/data/tree/master/real-purchasing-power/current

Google Trends
https://www.google.com/trends/

Grilling hot spots
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/whos-up-for-some-bbq-americas-top-10-grilling-hot-spots-and-other-meaty-insights-300251864.html

Top photo: Flickr/Ginny

Popular locations for lawn care services:

Olathe, KS Overland Park, KS Lees Summit, MO
Norman, OK Frisco, TX Keller, TX
Pasadena, TX

 

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