8 in 10 millennials think they grill better than the parent who taught them

NEW YORK — Six in 10 millennials have pretended not to know how to cook to avoid having to help. That’s according to a recent survey of 3,000 U.S. adults, divided evenly among Generation Z (ages 18–25), millennials (26–41), Generation X (42–57), and baby boomers (58–76).

Overall, more than half the poll (55%) say they are often reluctant to grill. Most find ready-made meal kits to be more convenient (49%), or simply think others are better at grilling (48%). While the majority of millennials prefer simple meal kits to traditional grilling (56%), most Gen Zers are reluctant to grill because they think others are better at it than them (47%).

Meanwhile, are millennials downplaying their grilling prowess? Six in 10 (62%) rated their grilling ability as “excellent” or “good.” Nearly three-quarters of millennials (74%) think they’re just as capable of lighting a grill, compared to 61 percent of boomers.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of TABASCO Brand, the survey also found that millennials were the most likely to grow up watching their parents or guardians cook food on a grill (69%). Nearly four in five (78%) also believe the student has surpassed the teacher — as they believe they’ve developed better grilling skills than the person who taught them.

Regardless of generation, the average respondent takes over grilling duties from their parents at age 16, with 58 percent saying they’ve taught a parent how to cook certain foods on the grill. In fact, a whopping 75 percent of millennials have taught older generations to grill certain foods.

grilling cooking

Is it ever too early in the day to grill?

Fifty-three percent of millennials say they’ve grilled their breakfast, compared to only 24 percent of boomers. Results also revealed the generations can sometimes differ when it comes to their sauce preferences.

Gen Zers like hot and spicy sauce flavors on grilled foods the most (38%), with baby boomers least likely to favor these flavors (28%). Overall, though, more than three-fourths of all respondents (79%) enjoy their foods dipped, drizzled, or smothered in sauce.

“It’s interesting to discover that the ‘meal kit’ generation is also the one that considers themselves to be the most skilled when it comes to grilling,” says Kate Neuhaus, Global Marketing Director for TABASCO Brand, in a statement. “We’re firing up the grills this summer to see how the generational divide is changing up the rules of backyard grill outs and rooftop BBQs.”

Boomers are the most likely generation to cook American BBQ (50%) and prefer it to other flavors. Culinary preferences aside, burgers (45%), chicken (43%), and hot dogs (43%) top the list of foods people think they’re the best at grilling.

“Interestingly, people of all ages seem to be united in the versatility of BBQ sauces — most (42%) said they use BBQ sauce as both a dip and a marinade.” Neuhaus adds. “Whether they find joy in the 24-hour marinade or they would rather spend time on the mix, BBQ is a tradition for all the ages.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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