BBQ lovers are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to enjoy their favorite foods.

BBQ is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean it always stays the same. Joining the tried-and-true classic BBQ cuts and preparations are up-and-coming options. Head-turning BBQ recipe trends are limited only by a chef’s culinary creativity. The following BBQ trends have been identified by Smithfield as the hottest ones to watch.

Hear more about BBQ trends straight from the mouths of BBQ chefs and champion pitmasters. Watch our BBQ videos now.

Let the extensive line of fine Smithfield pork products help you satisfy today’s BBQ lovers. For additional product information, complete our contact form, or call a sales representative at 888-327-6526.

Pork Cuts and Preparation Styles

According to Technomic, 57% of the Top 500 operators offer barbeque pork dishes on their menus, up from 48% in 2011. BBQ is also the leading preparation style for pork in many restaurant categories1:


Pork Ribs: The Reigning Champ.


– The current leading pork cut, and also the fastest growing!2
– The leading cut at both Fast and Limited Serve Restaurants.3
– 95.5% menu penetration.4
– The leading cut in both lunch and dinner applications.5

Pulled Pork Sandwiches for Everyone!


– The leading pork entree at both lunch and dinner.6

Barbecued, followed by grilled, are the commanding preparation style leaders for pork dishes. But coming up fast in 2017 is “low-and-slow cooking”, such as smoked, roasted and pulled.7 Much of it’s popularity with consumers is derived from the fact that its not the easiest prep method to use at home.


Today’s Lip-Smacking Flavors


Preferred barbecue flavors for pork dishes9


In 2017 “Operators will position flavorful barbecued pork in lighter, healthier preparations for lunch and dinner, which will also appeal to health-conscious consumers.”10 In general, 37% of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a restaurant with healthy options, even if they don’t order them.11

Bowls and salads will feature a variety of barbecued meats served atop rice, grains and greens, from brisket to pulled pork to carnitas to barbacoa. These items will be positioned as healthy, protein-rich meal options packed with flavor.12

Popular Pairings with Pork

No matter if it’s BBQ as a side dish. Or a side dish with BBQ pork. Sides are bigger than ever.

Pork consumer preferences when barbecued/pulled pork is the main dish.13


1-3, 5, 6-13 Technomic 2017 Center of the Plate Report
4 2017 Datassential Menu Trends

Watch as our distinguished group of chefs discuss the evolving state of snacking today.

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More and more busy consumers are opting for smaller meals throughout the day. And Smithfield knows snacking.

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From handhelds to sharables to mini entrees, Smithfield offers a collection of irresistible recipes for snack lovers.

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