May is National Barbecue Month and marks the beginning of peak grilling season. It’s a time when home cooks across the country are firing up the grill for a quick weeknight dinner, festive backyard barbecue bash, or relaxing weekend brunch.

“As the weather is heating up, so are grills across the country,” said Jack Goldman, president and CEO, Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. “Our most recent consumer survey finds that grilling has become a lifestyle choice, with growing interest in cooking out for a wide variety of reasons. We at HPBA are discovering why people grill and are learning that although there are many unique reasons why consumers turn to the flame, their love for grilling is unanimous.”

Consider these five facts from the most recent HPBA “State of the Barbecue Industry” consumer survey*:

1. Why do people grill? Of all grill/smoker owners, top reasons are:

• Flavor (72%)

• Lifestyle (52%)

• Entertainment (40%)

• Convenience (33%)

• Health (18%).

2. Seven in 10 U.S. adults own a grill or smoker, and in Canada, ownership is 8 in 10.

3. Gas is the most popular grill type (64%), followed by charcoal (44%), then electric (9%).

• Memorial Day and July 4 remain top grilling days. The most popular days to grill are:

• Mother’s Day (34%)

• Memorial Day (60%)

• Father’s Day (45%)

• July 4 (63%)

• Labor Day (58%).

4. Grilling is becoming a year-round lifestyle choice. Chilly temperatures don’t stop many consumers from grilling for the Super Bowl (23%), Thanksgiving (14%), Christmas or Chanukah (10%), and New Year’s Eve/Day (9%). Beyond holidays, 49% barbecued for birthday parties, 24% on a camping trip, 21% at a vacation home party, and 11% during tailgating activities for sporting events.