NEW YORK (AP) - Hamburgers and hot dogs? Check. Lighter fluid? Check. Beer? Check. More money? Americans are about to fire up their barbecues for the start of the summer cookout season, and one thing has become painfully apparent: It's going to cost a lot more than it did last year to roast a burger, or just about any other barbecue favorite, on the grill.
Food inflation is the highest in almost two decades, driven by record prices for oil, gas and mounting global demand for staples such as wheat and corn, and for proteins such as chicken. And that's reaching into Americans' backyards.
The price of an average barbecue -- with burgers, hot dogs, beer, soda, condiments, salad, paper plates and lighter fluid -- could run families about 6 percent more than last year.
That's making shoppers pause as they fill their carts for the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the barbecue season.