AMES- Fire up those grills, because May is Beef Month! Let’s celebrate by enjoying an All-American juicy hamburger or a thick, delicious, mouth-watering steak fired up on the grill during the summer grilling season. A great meal starts with proper food safety and grilling preparations.
Storage and Preparations
When shopping, make sure to pick up beef just prior to checking out. If it will take longer than thirty minutes to get home, transport beef in an iced cooler to ensure it remains cold. Upon arriving at home, refrigerate as soon as possible. Place beef packages on the lowest shelf in your refrigerator on a plate or tray to catch any juices.
To avoid cross-contamination and prevent foodborne illnesses while preparing food, follow these few guidelines: Wash hands well in hot, soapy water before and after handling raw meat and other fresh foods; keep raw meat and meat juices away from other foods, both in the refrigerator and during preparation; wash all utensils, cutting surfaces and counters with hot, soapy water after contact with raw meat; and keep carving boards separate from other food preparation areas and serving platters. Lastly, take beef directly from the refrigerator to the grill for cooking.
Trim visible fat before grilling to help prevent flare-ups. For best results, grill over medium heat. If the food is grilled over too high heat, the exterior can become overcooked or charred before the interior reaches the desired doneness.
For charcoal grilling, when coals are medium, ash-covered (approximately 30 minutes), spread charcoal out in single layer and check cooking temperature. To check 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 4 seconds for medium heat. For gas grilling, gas grill brands vary greatly and grilling times may need to be adjusted.
Determining Proper Doneness
To determine proper degree of doneness for ground beef, insert an instant-read horizontally from the side into the center for patties to ensure an internal temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.
For steaks (1/2 inch or thicker), insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally from the side, so that it penetrates the thickest part or the center of the steak, not touching bone or fat. After cooking, let steaks rest before serving to achieve desired degree of doneness, which may range from Medium Rare (145°F), Medium (160°F), and/or Well Done (170°F).
Widely popular, easy to fix, wholesome and satisfying, burgers and steaks have earned a place in the hearts of Americans and delivers 10 essential nutrients, all in one tasty package. These nutrients, including zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins, are important to good health. The Iowa Beef Industry Council, representing beef producers across the state, believes a burger or steak at home or at your favorite restaurant is a highly appropriate way to celebrate May Beef Month.
For beef recipes and additional inspiration for beef meals, visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com
Photo courtesy of Carnivore Style – https://carnivorestyle.com/