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Anna Schremmer, K-State Research & Extension Family Consumer Science Agent for Phillips-Rooks District #5

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 11:55
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Beef is King Of The Grill

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Going back to my childhood, beef was a staple food at our house.  We may not have had much money, but we had the best food. We planted a garden, milked cows, raised chickens for both eggs and to eat, and we raised cattle.  We have all heard “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner!” slogan but did you know that May is Beef Month?

May has been celebrated as Beef Month for 35 years. Beef is the largest agricultural commodity in the state of Kansas.

From cattle ranchers to feed manufacturers and processors, thousands of people play an important role in beef's journey from pasture to plate. Beef also plays a very important role when it comes to our nutritional needs each day.

• Beef is the number one dietary source of protein, and helps build strong bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 51 percent of the Daily Value for protein.

• Proteins from animal sources, such as beef, are referred to as “complete” because they deliver all of the essential amino acids, or building blocks, that people need for optimal health. Vegetables and grains also contain proteins but in lesser amounts.

• Beef is the number three dietary source of iron, which helps carry oxygen to body cells and tissues, assists in making new red blood cells and supports the immune system.

This grilling season, it’s clear that when it comes to grilling, Americans prefer beef. In fact, nearly three out of four American grillers say the one meat they most often grill is beef (69%) versus chicken (25%) or pork (6%).  And their first meal of the season is no different. When they fire up the flames for the first time this summer, nearly two-thirds of grillers will cook beef (62%) instead of chicken (28%), pork (6%), fish (3%) or turkey (1%).

When grilling at home, follow these summer grilling tips from the Kansas Beef Council for great summer steaks and burgers:

--Cook over coals that are the proper temperature to ensure the meat cooks evenly; if coals are too hot, meat can char on the outside and still be raw inside.

--For charcoal grilling, when coals are ash-covered (approximately 30 minutes), spread them in a single layer and check the cooking temperature.

--To check the temperature, cautiously hold the palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to pull it away; approximately four seconds is medium heat.

--Gas grill brands vary greatly and grilling times may need to be adjusted, so consult your owner's manual for specific grilling information.

--For best flavor and texture, grill meats just until they reach the desired degree of doneness; do not overcook.

--Use an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the side of burgers and steaks to check doneness. Thermometer should penetrate the thickest part or center of the burger or steak. Cook steaks to 145 degrees F (medium rare) or 160 degrees F (medium). Cook burgers to at least 160 degrees F. The color of cooked ground beef is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

Dust off your grill, throw on some hamburgers to enjoy this weekend. Oh yes, and thank a rancher for producing the delicious, nutritious Kansas Beef.

“Knowledge for Life” provided by Phillips-Rooks Extension District #5 and K-State Research and Extension.