With the 4th of July right around the corner, we decided to take a look at the grilling preferences of different states across America.
There were some expected results, with California loving tri-tip and Alaska loving salmon.
But also some unexpected results. Would you have guessed that Oklahoma’s most uniquely popular item to grill is asparagus?
Let’s jump right in.
The most popular Fourth of July dishes
- Wisconsin and the surrounding states love grilling up brats. Brats were first introduced to America by German immigrants who settled in Wisconsin. Since then, they’ve become a staple at sporting events and parties throughout the state (and beyond).
- Alaska is crazy for grilled salmon! But that’s no real surprise because salmon is Alaska’s state fish.
- California and its neighbors Arizona, Utah, and Washington are partial to some grilled tri-tip. Tri-tip was virtually unheard of before the 1950’s when Bob Schultz, the owner of the Santa Maria Market in California, started serving the lean cut of meat.
- If you’re in Louisiana this 4th of July weekend, you’ll probably be eating grilled shrimp. Grilled shrimp doesn’t have a stronghold in many states. But Louisiana has stayed loyal to its roots and will be showcasing its prized seafood.
- Want some grilled chicken? Head on over to New England and the North East – you’ll find plenty. Wings, breasts, and thighs.
- Oklahoma, North Dakota, Idaho, and Hawaii are the only states that prefer grilling vegetables over meat. Oklahoma opted for asparagus and North Dakota, Idaho, and Hawaii for corn.
- Only two states went for my favorite thing to grill, which is some nice juicy ribs.
Here’s the full state list and its corresponding winning dish. A summarized tally of states is also included at the bottom of this article.
|State||Favorite thing to grill|
|District of Columbia||Burgers|
|New Hampshire||Chicken thighs|
|New Jersey||Chicken wings|
|New York||Chicken thighs|
|North Carolina||Pork chops|
|Rhode Island||Pork chops|
The most popular Fourth of July side dishes
Every barbecue needs some tasty sides to serve alongside the main attraction.
Here are the most popular side dishes in each state over the Independence Day holiday.
- The tropical taste of guacamole is a favorite in Hawaii, which makes sense because it’s one of only three states where avocados can grow. But guacamole also tops the list in Arkansas and New Jersey, which aren’t quite so tropical.
- In the Southern states, you’ll be served up the Southern classics of deviled eggs and baked beans (check out what else goes well with deviled eggs here). Ever wondered why they’re called deviled eggs? It’s because of all the spicy ingredients in the mix! Psst… I can also tell you how to thicken runny deviled eggs.
- West Coast residents are fans of a macaroni salad, and Nevadians like to go all out with a hearty macaroni and cheese. But as you move over to the Northeast, the macaroni salads make way for pasta salads.
- Surprisingly, corn on the cob is only the most popular in two states: Utah and Indiana. It’s loved universally across the country but not disproportionately so.
- Macaroni and cheese is loved by all but was only top of the charts in two states.
- Watermelon is also a massively popular side dish over the 4th of July, with watermelon sales regularly exceeding $150M over the holiday period. But when it comes to specific dishes like a watermelon salad or grilled watermelon, the searches are very low. Hence why it didn’t make it onto our list.
For the full list of winning side dishes by state, see the table in the figures section below.
‘How to grill’ search trends over the Fourth of July weekend
- Wyoming, Mississippi, and Wisconsin are the states where the most grills will be fired up on 4th July (or maybe they’re the states that know the least about grilling!)
- Alaska and Hawaii are not massive fans of grilling. It’s no fun grilling when it’s too cold or too hot.
- If you look at the popularity of grilling searches over an entire year instead of just the holiday weekend, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin come out on top.
- Interestingly, over the entire year, Washington D.C. had the least interest in grilling. But over the 4th July weekend, DC Residents showed the 4th highest interest in grilling in the country.
Most popular Fourth of July grilled foods (summary)
|Grilled Food||Number Of Winning States|
Most popular Fourth of July side dishes by state
|State||Winning Side Dish|
|South Dakota||Baked beans|
|New Hampshire||Corn salad|
|Rhode Island||Deviled eggs|
|Utah||Corn on the cob|
|Indiana||Corn on the cob|
|North Carolina||Baked beans|
|New Mexico||Macaroni salad|
|South Carolina||Baked beans|
|West Virginia||Macaroni salad|
|New York||Macaroni salad|
|Nevada||Mac and cheese|
|District of Columbia||Mac and cheese|
First, we compiled a list of the most popular things to grill in the U.S. (according to Semrush search volume data). We cross-referenced each item in the list against Google Trends and shortlisted the 16 most popular items nationally.
Using data from Google Trends, we calculated both the national average and the state average for each item.
The overall winning item in each state was determined by how much it over-indexed compared to its national average.
Time Period: 4th July weekend 2021.
For more information on our methodology, or to request access to this study’s base data, please reach out to us at [email protected]