2024's best cities for grilling meat

Lawn Love ranked U.S. cities based on local interest in grilling, access to butchers and the average cost of meat.


Different types of meat like steak, chicken, and chops being carefully grilled.

2stockista // Shutterstock

Which cities are best for grilling a steak outside this summer?

With summer here and National Grilling Month around the corner, Lawn Love ranked 2024's Best Cities for Grilling Meat.

We compared nearly 470 of the biggest U.S. cities based on 4 meaty categories. We looked at local interest in grilling, access to butcheries and home improvement chains, and the average cost of meat in the area. We also considered ideal weather conditions for cooking outdoors, among 17 total metrics.

Fire up the grill with help from our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the cities, see our methodology.

City rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Top 5 close up

Table showing the Top 20 "2024

Lawn Love

No. 1: Melbourne, Florida | Overall score: 57.7

  • Index of Google Search Interest for Grill-Related Terms Over Past Year (adj. by population): 1 | Rank: 1
  • Home Improvement Store Chains per 100,000 Residents: 5.9 | Rank: 24
  • Herbs and Spices Shops: 3 | Rank: 93
  • Average Price of Sausage: $4.63 | Rank: 32
  • Median Air Quality Index: 43 | Rank: 72

No. 2: Santa Fe, New Mexico | Overall score: 56.58

  • Home Improvement Store Chains per 100,000 Residents: 6.8 | Rank: 5
  • Number of Butcheries: 5 | Rank: 56
  • Average Price of Ground Beef: $5.11 | Rank: 7
  • Average Price of Steak: $13.38 | Rank: 33
  • Yard Size: 0.548 acres | Rank: 5

No. 3: Apple Valley, California | Overall score: 55.67

  • Average Rating for Butcheries: 5 stars | Rank: 1
  • Average Monthly Rain (in Inches): 1.1 | Rank: 41
  • Number of Very Cold Days: 0 | Rank: 1 (tie)
  • Yard Size: 0.554 acres | Rank: 4
  • Wind Speed: 3.75 mph | Rank: 2

No. 4: Los Angeles, California | Overall score: 55.5

  • Number of Top-Rated Butcheries: 10 | Rank: 2
  • Number of Butcheries: 53 | Rank: 2
  • Number of Meat Markets: 223 | Rank: 3
  • Number of Very Cold Days: 0 | Rank: 1 (tie)
  • Wind Speed: 1.9 mph | Rank: 1

No. 5: Orlando, Florida | Overall score: 55.28

  • Index of Google Search Interest for Grill-Related Terms Over Past Year (adj. by population): 2 | Rank: 2
  • Average Rating for Butcheries: 4.45 stars | Rank: 99
  • Home Improvement Store Chains per 100,000 Residents: 6.8 | Rank: 6
  • Number of Butcheries: 10 | Rank: 21
  • Median Air Quality Index: 44 | Rank: 117

Key insights

Florida cities — like Melbourne (No. 1), Orlando (No. 5), and Fort Myers (No. 7) — broil to the top of our ranking with the biggest interest in grilling, demonstrated by local Google searches.

Meat prices are lowest in Texas cities like McAllen (No. 193), Temple (No. 116), and Beaumont (No. 80). McAllen claims the cheapest ground beef at $4.69 per pound, and Beaumont chomps down on the most affordable T-bone steaks, $12.56 on average. 

It's no wonder why there are so many vegetarians and vegans out West  — meat prices are most expensive in Anchorage, Alaska (No. 468) and along the Pacific Coast, especially in California. T-bone steaks run a price tag of $16 on average in Anchorage, followed by Oakland, California (No. 347), where they typically cost around $15.14. 

Folks of all food scenes can still enjoy a grill sesh in the Golden State, which offers ideal weather conditions and low wind speeds for grilling. However, California residents should take care to practice fire safety and note any local burn bans or restrictions, especially during wildfire season. 

Bridgeport, Connecticut (No. 466), and Newark, New Jersey (No. 467) score at the bottom of our ranking alongside Cicero, Illinois, in last place. These cities are cold and rainy with small backyards, lacking space for entertaining guests and safely cooking outside.

Behind the ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Cities for Grilling Meat. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into 4 categories: Popularity, Access, Cost, and Outdoors. 

For each of the 500 biggest U.S. cities, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. We eliminated 31 cities lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a final sample size of 469 cities.

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city's Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked "Best" (No. 1) and the lowest "Worst" (No. 469). Note: The "Worst" among individual factors may not be No. 469 due to ties.

Final thoughts: Upgrading your grilling gear

Prepare for summer beef sweats: The USDA estimates that we'll eat 58.3 pounds of beef per person in 2024.

Most people will fire up one of the big 3 this summer: gas, electric, or charcoal grills. Today, there are even more appliance options with trending flat-top griddles, pellet grills, and even AI-powered smart grills.

Studies show most people use gas grills, but residents of certain HOAs may need to opt for new equipment to keep their homes insured. While New York state is headed toward a gas appliance ban in new builds, this does not include grilling equipment. 

With anticipation for consumers upgrading their outdoor cooking equipment, the national market for grills and roasters is expected to jump by 16.1% over the next 4 years. 

Whether you sway toward burgers or hot dogs, Statista found the majority of people don't need an excuse to grill. Set your outdoor space up for grilling success this summer with help from our guides below.

Before sparking things up this summer, check with your local HOA, neighborhood, city, and state guidelines to ensure you maintain outdoor cooking compliance and avoid being fined.

This story was produced by Lawn Love and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.