Recently someone asked me, "What explains the popularity of barbecue right now?" I remember how barbecue really seemed to take off about 10 year ago when BBQ competitions started appearing on television shows, but the whole "barbecue thing" seems to be hyper-popular (if that's a word) right now.
Barbecue is everywhere. Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri dedicate entire episodes of their TV shows to barbecue. You've got BBQ Pitmasters on television. Where I live in the SF Bay Area, over the past 4-5 years we've had chain BBQ restaurants like Dickey's of Texas come to town. You've got barbecue-influenced foods showing up on the menus of non-barbecue restaurants. At the time of this writing, Outback Steakhouse is featuring a new "Moonshine BBQ Menu". Arby's and Costco are selling brisket sandwiches. There's a proliferation of barbecue sauces and barbecue-flavored items at the grocery store, including dipping sauces, pre-cooked and shredded meats, and snack foods. A guy got a deal on the TV show Shark Tank for boneless pork ribs and is making a fortune. People are standing in line at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX for 5 hours waiting to try Aaron Franklin's brisket.
Are we in a "barbecue bubble"? Is barbecue becoming too popular? Is this a fad that will "pop" just like the "dot com bubble" of the late 90's and the "housing bubble" of 2008? And if that happens, will that be a good or bad thing?
What are your thoughts? Why is barbecue getting so popular right now? What forces are driving the trend? And where is barbecue headed? Onward and upward? Over a cliff? Somewhere else?
Interested in your thoughts,