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Beef Chat

Sep192014

Fall Traditions

Published by Heath Larson at 3:32 AM under Beef Team | Coffee Shop Talk | General

We are “fall-aholics” at our house.  Each year, our calendar for the months of September and October is jam-packed with every conceivable fun event and family tradition.  With the start of football season, we can again listen to Mitch Holthus give the colorful play-by-play our Kansas City Chiefs on Sundays.  Football season means there are fantasy drafts to be held and injuries to monitor.  We load up the car early and spend an entire day at the State Fair in Hutchinson, visiting the livestock, watching the shows, and of course, taking a ride on the “Ye Olde Mill” haunted boat ride.  We begin scouring the stores for the perfect pumpkin for our jack-o-lantern.  Speaking of pumpkin, don’t forget to plug in the pumpkin air freshener, get out the pumpkin hand soap, and have a pumpkin spiced beverage or two!

 

The beginning of fall also holds some running traditions for us.  High school cross country season begins, and we usually find time to get out to a meet or two and push our kids at breakneck speed across the course, cheering on the “young guns” in our double stroller.  Our favorite local trail race is this weekend, a 6.5 mile meat grinder featuring 3 water crossings ranging from knee-deep to chest deep, rugged rocky terrain, stout competition, and awesome homemade post-race cookies.  The following weekend, my hometown’s fall festival occurs, featuring a 5k race, organized by my sister. 

 

I began training consistently for the 2014 running season in January, and after the September races, I am headed for a few weeks of sorely needed time off.  It’s been a long season of early mornings, windy days, late night runs to squeeze in one more training run, and of course…interminable time on those awful, punishing machines:  Hotel treadmills. While this may be the end of training season, I can’t shake the fact that running is part of who I am as a person.  I will run fairly regularly, especially when the weather is nice.  However, the pace will be much slower, and the schedule more flexible, in order to refresh my body and recharge my mind in preparation for the training schedule that lies ahead in 2015. 

 

 

Many people also consider fall the end of “grilling season.” I always chuckle at the idea of grilling season, because we grill at least twice per week, year round at our house, and eat grilled leftovers for multiple meals during the week, too.  To have a grilling season, one would have to have a “non-grilling season.”  For our family to have a non-grilling season, we would have to institute a “non-eating season,” and with our family, merely missing a meal is asking for a household rebellion!  At our house, the hardships encountered while grilling year-round are well worth the dividends in taste.  Flank steak fajitas, tri-tip roast, sirloin steaks, and blue cheese burgers are better cooked over charcoal, and that’s the only way we ever cook them.  Firing up the grill forces us to slow down, sit back, and, thankfully, slow down and enjoy life…if even for a moment. 

 

Cheers to fall!



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Sep102014

Make Life Happen

Published by Kassie Curran at 8:11 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

I’ve been told that time flies and it goes even faster as we get older, which I am continually finding out. What makes this idea so hard to accept sometimes is that life is happening all throughout that time whether we are making the most of it or not. Do you sit around waiting for something to happen? Or do you make the most of each day and make life happen?

This idea has really hit me the past few weeks as I think about the Blythe family. Over the past few weeks Tyler Blythe went through a life-changing medical emergency and needed a liver transplant as an 18 year old. This probably happens more frequently than I’d like to think, but this particular case hit a lot closer to home for me as it was some of my friends’ little brother. Although their lifestyle with a big family of 5 kids can get a bit hectic, just like my family, they are a pretty normal family. The Blythe family has a cattle ranch in the Flint Hills of Kansas and are active in their community – they are great people who do great things. But life throws challenges your way regardless of who you are, what really matters is what you do and who you are in spite of the adversity you face.

Tyler finished his senior year of high school this past May with plans to attend K-State in the fall, but became extremely sick toward the end of the summer. His condition worsened and he was moved up on the liver transplant list and had to postpone his college plans. It’s hard to imagine that something so extreme can happen so fast. After being diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Tyler received a liver just 20 days later because of how badly his condition has worsened. Luckily, Tyler was blessed with a new liver and will continue to recover thanks to the gracious donation of a liver from a family that didn’t even know him. I know that Tyler will continue to heal and make the most of the gift of life. He plans to come to K-State in January and live his life to the fullest.

If you were given a second chance at life, would you sit around or make life happen? I hope you would choose the latter, but more importantly, why not choose to make life happen every day no matter what?

For more on Tyler’s condition and his recovery, keep up with Debbie’s blog at http://www.kidscowsandgrass.com/. While I don’t wish this tragedy on anyone, it certainly brings up the idea of whether you would consider donating your organs to benefit another life? If you’d like to consider it or learn more check out http://organdonor.gov to become a donor.

Eat Beef & Make Life Happen!

Kassie



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Sep042014

Savor the Flavor - Mushrooms and Beef

Published by Amber Groeling RD LD at 8:23 AM under General | Recipe

Fall is the perfect season for harvesting mushrooms. Although they are available year-round, mushrooms are in peak season during the fall and winter months. In fact, September is National Mushroom Month—how suiting! 

Mushrooms are a truly inexpensive, versatile vegetable. Mushrooms are a delicious complement to any cuisine, adding exquisite flavor, savoriness and volume as well as boosting vegetable intake. The earthy, umami-rich taste of mushrooms allows them to blend well with a variety of flavors. Umami is one of the basic tastes, along with sweet, salty, sour and bitter. This taste, created by the amino acid glutamate, is described as pleasant and savory and is found in foods such as meat, dairy, fish and vegetables. When you pair two umami foods like mushrooms and lean beef they create a flavor explosion for your taste buds to enjoy! 

Mushrooms and lean beef are, without a doubt, nutritional powerhouses. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat and sodium, and they provide antioxidants which may protect our body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. They are an excellent source of riboflavin, a B vitamin that is important for energy, growth and red blood cell production. Mushrooms are also a good source of:

  • Selenium: A mineral known for its antioxidant properties; may play a role in preventing cancer of the colon, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophagus and stomach

  • Copper: A mineral necessary for producing and storing iron

  • Potassium: A mineral which aids in lowering blood pressure

Beef is high in 10 essential nutrients.  Those nutrients include protein, iron, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, zinc, phosphorous, niacin, riboflavin, selenium and choline. Protein helps preserve and build muscle, while iron helps your body use oxygen The B vitamins found in beef will give you energy and help maintain brain function.  Choline is especially important for pregnant and nursing moms as it has been linked to brain development. 

Many people have been told to stay away from red meats if they have high cholesterol or want to keep their heart healthy. However, beef can be part of a heart-healthy diet. The BOLD (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) study is one reason for new viewpoints on beef. The BOLD diet contained 4 ounces of lean beef each day while the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet limited red meat. The study found that BOTH diets lowered LDL cholesterol in participants by 10%, providing evidence that beef may not be as bad for cholesterol and heart health as once thought.

There are more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for “lean.” An easy way to identify lean cuts of meat is to look for the word “loin” or “round” in the name. Some of the lean cuts of meat include tenderloin, top sirloin, round steak and ground round.

 

Try this savory dish to create an umami flavor explosion.

 

 Seared Steak with Mustard-Mushroom Sauce http://bed56888308e93972c04-0dfc23b7b97881dee012a129d9518bae.r34.cf1.rackcdn.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/standard/recipes/MB8173_Ardito.JPG

Serves 4 (3-ounce steak and about 1/4 cup sauce each)

Active time: 25 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

All you need:

1 to 1 1/4 pounds Hy-Vee Angus Reserve Top Sirloin, trimmed

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons Hy-Vee all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Kitchen Basics unsalted beef stock, or any low-sodium stock

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon Hy-Vee Dijon mustard

All you do:

  1. Pat steaks dry; cut into 4 equal portions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Cook the steaks until browned on the bottom, 2 to 4 minutes. Turnover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare. Set aside, covered with foil.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat the vegetables, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour in broth and wine and cook, stirring and scraping up the brown bits, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in mustard and any juices from the steak. Serve the steak with about 1/4 cup sauce each.

Nutrition facts per serving: 239 calories, 12g fat, 3g saturated fat, 62mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 24g protein

Source: Adapted from Eating Well, Inc.



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Aug282014

Labor Day

Published by Katie Sawyer at 7:32 AM under General | Nutrition | Recipe

Summer is rapidly coming to a close. School is back in session for most, the football season will officially kick off Saturday and Labor Day – the unofficial end of summer – is just a weekend away.

 

Before you pack up the grill and resort to oven-baked meals, use the three-day weekend to enjoy some great beef recipes. Beef is a great source of protein to keep kids full longer and vitamin and nutrients, which are essential to everyone’s diet.

 

If you are looking for more great beef recipes or information on beef cuts and marinades, log onto www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com. Most importantly, the site has a great list of 30-minute meals for those busy, weekend dinners.

 

Here is a great recipe for your last grilled feast:

 

 

SMOKY STRIP STEAKS WITH MEXICAN-STYLE GRILLED CORN

INGREDIENTS

1.      2 beef Strip Steaks Bone-In, cut 1 inch thick (12 to 15 ounces each)

2.      4 ears corn, husked

3.      1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

4.      2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

5.      Salt

6.      Lime wedges (optional)

 

Seasoning:

1.      1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder

2.      2 teaspoons brown sugar

3.      2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SMOKY STRIP STEAKS WITH MEXICAN-STYLE GRILLED CORN

  1. Combine seasoning ingredients in small bowl. Spread 2 teaspoons seasoning mixture evenly onto beef steaks. Spread remaining seasoning mixture onto corn. 
  2. Place corn on outer edge of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; grill, covered, 15 to 20 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, times remain the same) or until tender, turning occasionally. Place steaks in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 9 to11 minutes (on gas grill, 9 to 12 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.
  3. Spread mayonnaise and sprinkle cheese evenly over corn. Carve steaks into slices. Season beef and corn with salt, as desired. Squeeze lime wedges over beef and corn, if desired. Serve beef with corn.



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Aug212014

Learning Never Ends

Published by Robin Kleine at 10:39 AM under Agriculture | General

My Grandma Paula used to tell me that that day you stop learning is the day you die. A life long learner and educator, she taught me to enjoy reading, to bake a darn delicious pie and that family was the most important thing.

A picture from my grandparents’ farm in the 90s.


Although she died six years ago, I think of her often. My love of learning stems from my grandmother, and now as we enter fall, I’m reminded of her often.

While I might not be in school anymore, I still think of the end of August and the start of school as a time to start new. When I was a student (although I told my friends otherwise) I always looked forward to the start of school and absorbing as much knowledge as possible.

I’m doing my best to make use of my animal science degree, helping my family raise cattle on our farm. Contrary to popular belief … beef producers have to be proactive and open to learning new methods and/or technologies. Thanks to new advances in genetics, nutrition, vaccines, etc., we are always researching ways to raise our cattle better.

Websites such as Beef Magazine http://beefmagazine.com/ and association publications such as The Angus Journal http://www.angusjournal.com/ or the Kansas Stockman http://www.kla.org/kansasstockman.aspx all provide content about the latest technology and research in the beef industry. Some of the most informative and interesting pieces are stories from ranches and farms similar to ours, where the owners discuss how they are thinking outside the box to meet the consumers’ demands.

Often we begin utilizing these new technologies, products or feed additives in the fall after we wean the calves. On our farm, we’re weaning our spring born calves right now. This means we take the 4-6 month calves away from their mothers, and the calves begin eating grain thus starting their journey to the feedlot or the replacement heifer pen. 

 

Cows in the pasture at RJ Show Cattle


So, you could say that we as cattlemen also get to start new in August. This is a chance to use what we learn from fellow cattle producers in a constructive manner.

One of the things I love most about the agriculture industry is that we’re always willing to share and help other succeed. My grandmother was also entirely selfless, so I think that she would be proud that we are continuing to learn and grow our business. Maybe one day we’ll even venture into Herefords, like she and Grandpa raised.

What does August and the start of school mean to you?

Best,
Robin



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Aug062014

Excuses, Excuses

Published by Heath Larson at 9:47 AM under Agriculture | Beef Team | General | Nutrition

As a longtime runner, I've heard plenty of excuses and smart remarks when others find out about my distance running hobby.  One of the classics I've heard multiple times is:  "I only run if someone is chasing me."  Oh really?  Well, consider the following situations:

 

It's early spring.  On the ranch, that means it's time to round up the cattle from the feedlot and take them to pasture.  While the "take them to pasture" part is the near-celebratory end to a winter of feeding and calving in brutal weather conditions like we had last winter, the "round up" part never fails to create excitement.  There are gates to open, vehicles of all types to drive, and at the end of it, hopefully some 80+ cow/calf pairs and their calves end up in the loading pen for preventive medication before being hauled to pasture for the next 4-5 months.  During our last roundup, we had several cows with no desire of going where they needed to be.  At one point, after an hour of fruitless attempts to bring them into the loading pen, we were close to completing the task.  Then, without warning, the "crazy one" turned around and bolted for the open pasture, with 10 more cows trailing behind.  There was no time to jump in a pickup, turn it around, and give chase.  There was only time to run.  I may not have set a world record for "fastest 3/8 mile across a rutted pasture in jeans and work shoes," but I like to think I came close.  I barely beat the leader to the open gate on the other side of the pasture, and we managed to get the job done shortly thereafter. 

 

I travel for my career, and frequently have tight connections between flights.  Most of the time, I am able to get to my gate in plenty of time by utilizing a brisk walking pace.  However, when I'm trying to catch the last flight home that day and I have 20 minutes to get to the train, go up and down 6 different escalators, and walk at least 1/2 mile with my carry on in tow...well, it's not really a walk anymore.  While I haven't always "made it," I know my family is appreciative when I do get home on time.

 

When it comes to helping out on the ranch or getting home to see my family, there's no time for flimsy excuses.  Do I enjoy training for my next race?  Not usually, because it takes a lot of time and effort to stay in shape!  But I often fall back on my training when life calls for a little extra speed, endurance, or adventure, and that is invaluable to me.

 

Along the same lines, flimsy excuses have no place in your nutritional plan.  I hear how unhealthy "red meat" is from my colleagues frequently...but what is their basis for this?  And have they considered how using beef as a lean source of protein compares with other animal and plant protein sources?  Nothing else comes close!  I also hear "I don't eat red meat because of the hormones they put in it."  First off, if hormones are a problem for you, you can find plenty of non-hormone beef out there.  Second, the hormones in a typical serving of beef are far, far less than are found in many common vegetables that make up a huge part of healthy diets nowadays...not to mention the elevated amount of hormones found in many human medications taken daily!

 

Find the truth.  Ditch the excuses.  Then, go outrun everyone that still thinks you're crazy, and celebrate your victory by refueling with lean beef!



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Jul242014

Taste the Homegrown Goodness

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you do not grow your own garden, you can still enjoy fresh, local produce.  And, you may not even have to travel to a farmers’ market or farm stand to pick up your local produce, many grocery stores including Hy-Vee have teamed up with local farms to ensure the freshest, most nutritious choices right where you buy the rest of your groceries. 

The term local often means that the food was grown within 400 miles from where it will be consumed.  While this is not near as close as your back yard, you will find many vendors much closer, all you have to do is ask. At Hy-Vee our Homegrown label ensures that you are purchasing the freshest items from local family farms. The Homegrown signs indicate where your food was grown and how far the farm is from your Hy-Vee store.

According to the Food Marketing Institute’s U.S. Grocery Shopping Trends report, the top reasons for purchasing locally grown foods include freshness (82%), supporting the local economy (75%) and taste (58%).

Local, seasonal fruits and vegetables are typically more budget-friendly because they are harvested during their peak season for you to enjoy. Many popular produce is packed with a nutritional punch!  The fiber found in sweet corn can aid in weight management and digestive health.  Bell peppers and watermelon are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C to promote immune health.  Zucchini and other squash has been found to contain compounds that may help control blood pressure.  Tomatoes are naturally sweet and a great source of lycopene which may help prevent against prostate cancer. 

Don’t hesitate! Now is the time to fill half of your plate with seasonal fruits and veggies, along with 4 oz. of lean beef and a serving of whole-grain.  Try this refreshing Steak and Grilled Ratatouille Salad to take advantage of the summer’s bounty!

STEAK AND GRILLED RATATOUILLE SALAD

Steak & Grilled Ratatouille Salad --

Total Recipe Time: 45 to 50 minutes

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 beef Top Round Steak, cut 1 inch thick (about 1-1/2 pounds)

1 small eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices

2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut lengthwise into quarters

1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half

1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise in half

1/2 cup grape tomato halves

9 cups mixed baby salad greens

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Shaved Parmesan cheese

Marinade:

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS FOR STEAK AND GRILLED RATATOUILLE SALAD

1.       Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and 1/2 cup marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for salad.

2.       Spray vegetables, except tomatoes, with nonstick cooking spray.

3.       Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange vegetables around steak. Grill steak, covered, 12 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 16 to 19 minutes) for medium-rare (145ºF) doneness, turning occasionally. (Do not overcook.) Grill eggplant and bell peppers 12 to 15 minutes; zucchini and yellow squash 8 to 12 minutes, covered (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, eggplant 6 to 8 minutes; bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash 7 to 11 minutes) or until tender, turning occasionally and basting with remaining reserved marinade.

4.       Cut grilled vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Carve steak into thin slices. Toss lettuce, tomatoes and grilled vegetables with remaining 1/2 cup marinade. Divide vegetable mixture between 6 serving plates. Arrange beef steak slices over vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Sprinkle with cheese, as desired.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION FOR STEAK AND GRILLED RATATOUILLE SALAD

Nutrition information per serving: 334 calories; 19 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 12 g monounsaturated fat); 61 mg cholesterol; 162 mg sodium; 12 g carbohydrate; 5.2 g fiber; 3 g protein; 6.2 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 1.5 mcg vitamin B12; 4.1 mg iron; 31.4 mcg selenium; 5.4 mg zinc.

This recipe is an excellent source of fiber, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium and zinc.



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Jul182014

Building a Base

Published by Katie Sawyer at 2:30 AM under Agriculture | Beef Team | General

For most runners, summer is spent on long runs, tough track workouts and sweat sessions that build character and stamina. It’s the time of year you build your mileage base, expand your CO2 capacity and simply become a better, strong runner. It’s also the season to clean up your diet by enjoying more fresh fruits, vegetable and lean proteins – hot off the grill. Hard work and dedication in the summer pays off on race days in the fall.

 

We see the summer as much the same for our cattle. No, they’re not running laps in the pasture or really doing much of any type of workout, but they are building their base and lean muscle mass through the consumption of nutrient-rich grasses in the Kansas Flint Hills. Many of our cows become pregnant in the spring, which means they spend their all-important first trimester out at pasture. The grasses provide enough calories to allow both the new calf and the mother to thrive and grow. We supplement the grass with minerals essential to a growing baby and mother and ensure the animals always have access to fresh water.

 

Allowing our cattle to graze throughout the spring and summer months pays big dividends in the winter. Our mother cows are healthy and strong enough to care for a newborn calf. And the calves that have spent their first summer with their mothers in the pastures are healthy, strong and ready to be weaned. 

 

The summer grazing season is an essential part of our cattle’s lifecycle and our feed regimen. And the summer running season is vital to feeling confident on race day each fall.



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Jul102014

Summer Slowdown?

Published by Robin Kleine at 3:59 AM under Agriculture | Coffee Shop Talk | General

For some people, summer is a slower time. They might get to sleep in and stay up late, enjoy a few hours in the pool every day, eat tremendous amounts of cotton candy and watermelon and relax. 

 

At our house, we do a little bit of those things --- but not very often.  

 

Here’s 3 reasons why farmers and ranchers are so busy during the summer –

 

  1. We’ve got to make hay. Because cows are ruminants (their stomachs have four parts), they need to eat forage (like hay) to keep it functioning properly. Hay also provides valuable nutrients and protein to their diet. But, hay is finicky and depends on the weather. We have to have a few day window from when you mow it, to when you bale it without any rain to ensure that the hay is dry and won’t mold easily.

    IMG_1341.JPG
    Image courtesy of www.freerepublic.com

  2. Cows and calves need our attention. After all the cows are done calving in the spring, we take the cows and their babies to a different pasture for the summer along with a few bulls to breed the cows. Every day, we visit the pasture to make sure everything is in place – all the fences are still in tact, do a quick head count, and check over the herd for sickness or injuries. Also, we will run all the cows in to give them a de-wormer and treat for flies – two major problems in the summer – as well as do a pregnancy check to make sure the bulls are doing their job.

    IMG_7416.jpg
    Cow and calf on pasture. Picture taken at my farm.

  3. We’re celebrating our hard work at fairs and cattle shows. For some of us, we show our cattle and other livestock at our county fair or other shows on a state or national level. We work all year for this moment, when we get to present our animals to the judge and spend some time socializing with all our friends too.

    RKK_2896.JPG
    This picture was taken at the National Junior Shorthorn Show in Louisville, KY.

 

While, the summer might not be slow moving on our farm. We still enjoy the time we get to spend together, working as a family and preparing our farm for the winter, when we can’t grow feed for the cows and get to start calving season again! Farming is a cycle, and we’re happy to keep it going!

 

Until next time,
Robin



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Jul032014

Top Tips for an All-American Burger

Published by Kiley Stinson at 2:57 AM under General | Recipe

With the 4th of July coming up this Friday there’s no better way to celebrate with friends and family than by firing up the grill. An added bonus:  July is National Grilling Month! When it comes to grilling, a recent survey found that Americans favored beef as their go to meat when grilling. Nearly three out of four American grillers say the meat they most often grill is beef (69%) versus chicken (25%) or pork (6%)!

I love to grill burgers in the summer. It’s easy to add variety to burgers too. There are endless ways to add flavor with spices and toppings! Here are a few simple tips to help you become a master burger-griller this holiday weekend.

Prep: I often add seasoning salt or just salt and pepper to already formed patties before I throw them on the grill. However, I’ve recently started mixing in herbs and spices into the ground beef before I make the patty. (Adding jalapeños and stuffing with pepper jack cheese is ‘da bomb!) When taking this route just remember to be gentle when forming the patties so that the meat doesn’t dry out by being over handled. I also like to refrigerate formed patties just a few minutes before I throw them on the grill. I find this helps them stay together and allows me to prep side dishes without the risk of forgetting the meat on the grill. This can be super helpful when cooking for a larger group of friends or family.

Grill time: Be careful not to have your grill temperature too hot or not hot enough. Aim to find that happy medium. Medium heat on the grill allows the patties to brown nicely throughout. I find it temping to stand next to the grill and continually flip the burgers while carrying on a conversation on the deck but try your hardest to only flip each burger once. Don’t forget that trusty meat thermometer either. Since cooking times will differ be sure to achieve medium doneness at 160 degrees F.

Top and Serve: This is the best part! I challenge you to experiment with new toppings. Out with the mustard, pickle and ketchup and in with exotic cheeses, jalapeños, chipotle chili powder, or even grilled fruit like pineapple or peaches. The possibilities are truly endless.

For lots of great recipes and inspiration be sure to check out two of my favorite places for ideas at http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/recipes.aspx or http://www.pinterest.com/beeffordinner/

Cheers and Happy Independence Day!

Kiley



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