In the past, your Memorial Day barbecue was a no-brainer. You grabbed the dogs and the burgers, called your friends and neighbors and fired up the grill.

This year is going to be different. You’ll have to think twice about what you’re buying since the cost of your cookout has gone up significantly. wanted to track how much BBQ costs have risen. Their study found that what cost you around $75 last summer is gonna set you back around $85 this year.

Adobe Express
Adobe Express

They provided a map from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which tracks month-to-month and year-to-year changes of common food and energy prices.

This shows just how much retail barbecue food will cost you this year compared to the cookout prices in the rest of the country.

They base these prices on the Census regions of the Midwest, West, Northeast, and South and on a cookout serving 10 people, each getting one plate of food.

Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock

This could also be looked at as a minimum price, as things like alcohol are not included in the cost analysis. Also, this is based on only one plate of food per guest. If you have the brother-in-law or uncle who takes seconds and thirds, your costs will be more.

For the study, here’s what they included on each plate of food.

4 oz. cheeseburger with lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup, mustard, and bun.

Hotdog with bun.

Serving of baked beans

Serving of potato salad

Serving of potato chips

Serving of strawberries

Serving of vanilla ice cream

Serving of cookies

12 oz of soda

I’d probably skip the strawberries and vanilla ice cream, but here’s how the costs break down in our region. (Northeast)

Hamburger buns (2 packages of 8) - $3.98

Hot dog buns (2 packages of 8) - $3.98

3lbs ground beef (for at least ten 4 oz burgers) - $16.20

1lb cookies - $5.23

2 packs of hotdogs - $9.00

16 oz bag of potato chips - $5.83

32 oz of baked beans - $3.49

1lb tomatoes - $2.14

1lb lettuce - $2.99

1lb American cheese - $4.77

2lbs of potato salad - $7.98

2 pints of strawberries - $5.30

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream - $6.16

Ketchup & mustard - $1.99

1lb onion - $1.45

Two, 2 liters of soda - $5.00

This makes the total minimum cost for a 10 person cookout in NJ is $85.49, which is up 11.74% from last year.

Nationally the cost has increased 12.3% on average, according to the study.

We’re certainly doing better than the western states, whose cookouts are up to 93.29, maybe we should we start a new Memorial Day tradition in NJ: Fast food instead of BBQ. At least until food prices level out.

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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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