The Grilled Food Preferences of Americans (Survey Data)

Warmer weather means it’s grilling season. Whether it’s a charcoal grill or a gas grill, there’s nothing like firing it up and grilling up your favorite food. Whether it’s just for you, for your family, or a group (social distancing, of course), grilled food is a crowd pleaser.

But just what exactly are the favorite grilled foods of Americans? We decided to find out. We surveyed over 3,900 Americans and asked them questions about their favorite foods and how they like them to be cooked. Read on to see our full results. 

Americans’ Favorite Grilled Food

One of the first questions we asked was on respondent’s favorite grilled food. We offered a selection of seven classic options and threw in pineapple as an eighth. Let’s take a look at the overall results.

Chart of Americans' Favorite Grilled Foods

Turns out, “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner,” rings true. Just over 1 in 3 respondents said their favorite grilled food is steak (34%), the most common response. Hamburgers and chicken came in second and third at 19% a 18%, respectively.

Pork chops came in as the least chosen at 3%. Even grilled pineapple had more favorite picks than pork at 4%.

Next, we asked how Americans liked their steak cooked. 

Looking for a grill? Check out our best gas grills under $500 review.

Chart of how Americans like their steak cooked

Looking at the overall results, medium rare was the most common answer at just over 27%. Medium was second (25.6%), medium well was third (23.5%), and well done was fourth (19.4%). Rare was a distant fifth at 4.2%. 

Let’s take a look at the results on a state-by-state basis. 

U.S. map of how Americans prefer their steak cooked

When looking at the survey responses by state, the results are fairly varied. Medium rare has a significant portion of the states but doesn’t dominate. It’s not surprising that rare wasn’t the most popular in any state. However, well done was the most common response in four states: Georgia, Alaska, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.

What’s grilling without the right accessories? Read our reviews of the best grill tongs, the best grill brushes, and the best grill spatulas

Chart of how Americans like their steak cooked by count of states

The above chart analyzed the data by cooking preference by count of states. Medium rare was the most common response in 20 states, followed by medium (15), medium well (11), and well done (4).

Below is a table of the percent of responses for each preference by state. The table is both sortable and searchable. 

Hamburgers or Hot Dogs?

Hamburgers and hot dogs are staples of any cookout. One of common questions asked is, “Do you want a hamburger or a hot dog?” We asked respondents to choose which they prefer.

What we found is that Americans overwhelmingly prefer hamburgers. 81% of respondents said they preferred hamburgers over hot dogs. While we weren’t surprised that hamburgers were the favorites, we didn’t expect it to be a landslide victory.

Final Thoughts

Grilled food is not only delicious, it’s an easy way to cook for yourself, your family, or whoever you need to feed. Our survey shows that Americans clearly have their favorites, but we all like something a little different. Perhaps this grilling season we can all try something new as well as our tired-and-trues.  

Check out some of our grill reviews:


Grill Cook Bake surveyed 3,950 Americans in May 2020. The respondents were a mix of ages and genders. We estimate the margin of error is less than 3% with a confidence level of 90%. 

Looking for a new grill and not sure where to start? Check out our grill buying guide.

And if you’re looking for other cooking options, try out a meal delivery service. Read our in-depth reviews on: