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What's New in Barbecue: 2018

It's officially barbecue season, and we couldn't be more excited to see what caterers have in store for summer 2018. To get the inside scoop, we spoke with a couple of industry leaders to hear about their inventive barbecue trends, tastes, and techniques.

Part of Hudson Valley BBQ Co's open-concept outdoor kitchen. Photo courtesy YTK Photography • Film

Open-concept outdoor grilling

Brandon Snooks, owner and executive chef of Hudson Valley BBQ Co, shared that his company's picnics will feature several impressive pieces of grilling equipment, including a six-foot Santa Maria grill, six-foot rotisserie spits, a smoker and a wood-fired oven. Their "open-concept kitchen" allows them to serve Patagonian-style whole animal roasts, wood-fired grilling and classic barbecue, making all the food on-site and in front of the guests.

Crave Catering's custom grill in action. Photo courtesy of the caterer

Custom-built charcoal grill

Another caterer is also pushing the boundaries of traditional grilling. Mark Lopez—chef, farmer and owner of Crave Catering—told us about the custom charcoal grill that his company built out of cinder blocks. The grill gets to such high heats that it roasts a whole pig in six hours; that’s quite an impressive (and delicious) feat.

Mixing up the menu

Lisa Richards, CEO and founder of Picnic People, shared some of the groundbreaking changes that her company has made to their menu this season. Simple tweaks, like putting the fat side of the brisket down on the grill, adding hickory to their smoking wood, and grilling seasonal vegetables everyone will like have made a serious impact.

Picnic People’s Jurassic Jungle catering menu

Focusing on themes

Richards has also been developing new themes for this season's barbecues and picnics, including a Jurassic jungle party with “brontosaurus” beef ribs. These themes are designed to make the picnic a complete, memorable experience tailored to each event.

Want to share your barbecue ideas and be inspired by other top caterers? Learn more about the ICA at

Want more food trend ideas? Stay tuned for more information on Catersource 2019. Click here for the latest information.


International Caterers Association

For motivated caterers, International Caterers Association is a resource that provides Education, encourages peer to peer Relationships and Inspires creativity while embracing all segments of the catering industry. For more information, visit