Heart Health Month: How Beef Can Play an Important Role

aha-logoValentine’s Day and Heart Month make such a cute couple, don’t you think? New evidence shows lean beef and heart healthy diets go pretty well together, too. In a new study published in the January 2017 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Wayne Campbell, PhD, professor of nutrition science at Purdue University, and his research team conducted a review and analysis of 24 clinical trials on daily red meat intake and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Many doctors recommend that patients limit red meat intake to less than 3 servings a week, but this new study shows that eating greater than 3.5 servings per week does not negatively affect short-term cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol.  These findings can help put to rest some of the outdated notions against red meat consumption.

Putting all this great info into action takes delicious recipes. For the past six years, the American Heart Association has approved eight whole muscle cuts of beef and extra-lean ground beef for use in their Heart-Check mark program. We are excited to announce beef’s involvement in a new recipe certification program by the American Heart Association that we hope will inspire you to incorporate beef into heart healthy meals. Here are some examples of approved recipes that feature beef cuts that also meet criteria for “extra lean:”

confetti-beef-taco-saladConfetti Beef Taco Salad

citrus-marinated-beef-and-fruit-kabobsCitrus-Marinated Beef and Fruit Kabobs

sweet-potato-beef-mash-upSweet Potato Beef Mash-Up


Beef and Wine: A Classic Match

Beef and wine have an undeniable affinity for one another. The profound, meaty, complex, rich flavor of beef is complemented by a beverage that’s equally complex, savory and delicious. Nothing fits the bill better than wine. There’s also the all-important issue of texture. Mouth filling concentrated wines provide just the right counterbalance to beef’s dense texture. Like the perfect gastronomic seesaw, a sip of wine makes you want another bite of beef, and a bite of beef makes you want a sip of wine.

There are wine and beef pairings for every taste and preference. From a full red which pairs perfectly with prime rib to a sweet white which combines with stir-fry or Thai inspired dishes, you can find a combination to fit even the most discerning palate. Below is a list of our favorite recipes which require wine, be that in a glass at the dinner table or as an ingredient, with a few sips stolen while you cook it up.


Perfect Pot Roast by The Pioneer Woman
The cooking guru herself admits on this recipe that the perfect pot roast is hard to come by. This method gives you the secrets to preparing this mythical dish correctly every time.

the-braxton-22rub22-your-meat-will-thank-you-4The Best Meat Rub and Beef Tenderloin Recipe: The “Braxton” by Fantabulosity
An extra special night deserves an extra special cut of beef, and the tenderloin is that cut. Jessica at Fantabulosity has got you covered with the perfect way to prepare this yummy cut, and a glass of full red wine is the cherry on top.

Braised Short Ribs by Anne Burrell
Because these are always a huge hit and you need a recipe to guide you down the right path.

Wine-Marinated Grilled Flank Steak by Beef It’s What’s for Dinner
What better combination is there. Some wine, a grill, and beef? None. There is no better trio. Be sure to serve it with a medium red wine.

3-simple-steps-for-stir-frying-13 Simple Steps for Stir-Frying Beef 

In only 3 easy steps you have a stir-fry fit for an emperor. This meal pairs perfectly with a glass of sweet white wine.

For more information on beef and wine pairings visit our website for a complete guide. Good luck and as Julia Child always said, “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.” Happy cooking!

Hobe Meats

There are many ways one can buy great beef – from large warehouse clubs to a neighborhood grocery store, directly from a rancher or from a local butcher. We visited with Bret Pont of Hobe Meats in Phoenix to gain perspective about what it’s like to be a smaller butcher shop and meat market, and what services are offered to customers.


Arizona Beef Council: Hi Bret! How long have you been in the meat business?
Bret Pont: I’ve been in the meat business for about 30 years. I started in Oregon working for Swift and Mapelli Brothers in shipping and receiving then worked my way up to the meat cutting room which was a prestigious position. That’s where I got my “ears wet.” 25 years ago, I moved to Arizona and started working for a small butcher shop and found it intriguing and have stuck with it ever since. I love this business because I get to meet people one-on-one. We get to shake hands and get to know each other by name. I enjoy developing friendly customer relationships.

ABC: Where does the name “Hobe” come from? 2-24-2017_hobe-meats-5
BP: The Hobe brand originated with Dave Hobe when he started this business 1962. I acquired it 8 years ago. Dave ran it with his brothers until the late 1970s.

ABC: What is the most common question you receive about beef?
BP: We often receive questions about the beef quality grades and whether it is grass-finished or grain-finished. We are glad to answer our customer’s questions. We carry primarily Prime beef and upper two-thirds Choice graded beef. Most of our beef is wet-aged a minimum of 30 days to increase tenderness. Customers can have the same Prime beef experience at home as one would at a nice steakhouse.

ABC: Do the popular cuts vary year-round?
BP: Steaks for grilling are popular year-round. In Arizona, it doesn’t matter if it is December or July, we still sell Ribeyes, Tenderloins, New Yorks. They are popular all year long. We do see an increase in interested in roasts – Chuck Roasts, Pot Roasts, Short Ribs – in the winter when people want to make stews, roasts, and chilis.

ABC: Do you offer custom cut options to customers?
BP: We do offer custom options and that is one of the things that makes us unique. We have the ability to cut a 4-inch thick Porterhouse Steak or a half-inch thick New York Steak. Whatever size one wants, we can custom cut to the customer’s specifications with just a little bit of notice. We are proud to offer custom options. That service can’t be found everywhere.

ABC: What is the most unique meat you carry (in addition to beef)?
BP: We have several unique offerings that range from wild boar bacon to alligator. Kangaroo is surprisingly popular – it’s a dark meat like venison – and comes in loin steaks and as ground kangaroo meat. We also carry frog legs, pheasant, quail, elk, and bison. We have Arizona’s largest selection of wild game meat.

ABC: What unique perspective do you offer to your customers?
BP: I think we offer customer service. We get to know their names and help them decide which cut is best for their needs. We offer the expertise to explain the cuts of beef and different flavors. People have lots of questions and we offer the experience and knowledge of beef production and of cooking recommendations. We keep materials on hand from the Arizona Beef Council including cut chart handouts and recipe brochures that people can take home to learn more about beef.

ABC: What is your favorite beef cut to recommend?
BP: I like the Ribeye. Some people say it is too rich for them but it is my go-to steak. I like it seasoned with salt and pepper and a little butter on top.

ABC: What does your business bring to the beef community?
BP: From start to finish, we help customers select the cut they want, offer recipe suggestions that we’ve tried, that are in the handouts, and that have great reviews so that they can have a satisfactory beef-eating experience.

Building Confidence: Both In and Out of the Show Ring

The Arizona National Livestock Show (ANLS) is an event rich in history with its first organizational meeting taking place in 1948. Throughout the years, ANLS has morphed into different things for different folks. Some people see it as a family vacation, as the time of year in which the show takes place offers a break from school and work. The Arizona weather, which is far better than in snow ridden parts of the world, is another perk. For others, this show is the culmination of a year of hard work and the grand drive is their ultimate goal. And for a few, it’s a first encounter with the idea of showing livestock such as cattle, sheep, hogs, and goats. For the students of four Arizona high schools, it’s the chance to break into a world which might not have been open to them previously.

Showing cattle at livestock shows is a huge commitment, both a significant investment of time and money. It’s a luxury not afforded to many. However, the students of Rio Rico, San Simon, Bowie, and Mesquite High School all get the opportunity to exhibit cattle at the Arizona National Livestock Show each year with the help of their instructors and the community. Each school runs their program a little differently, but all have the same end goal: to involve students in agriculture who might otherwise not have had the chance.

Prep time for San Simon and Bowie High School.

Mike Zamudio at San Simon High School in San Simon, Arizona and his wife Kelly Lyda-Zamudio at Bowie High School work in close collaboration with the Southwest Brangus Breeders Association. Ranching members of this group lend their cattle, specifically heifers (female bovine who have not yet given birth to a calf), to the agriculture students at these schools. These students work with their heifers, teaching them to halter, how to be led on a halter, and how to stand the correct way for showing. This program, which was started nine years ago after Bill Morrison approached the Zamudios asking about their interest in the idea, offers scholarships and lifelong learning. One of the most important lessons Mr. Zamudio has seen his students learn through this program is confidence. He describes it best by saying, “There is a huge boost in their confidence levels. You can see the look on their face when the heifer takes those first couple steps and starts to follow and will let them catch them right away. You can see the bond between the heifer and the kid.”

Rio Rico High School practicing their showing skills before the big day!

Rio Rico High School in Rio Rico, Arizona is another great example of an agriculture education program working with their community. Mr. Richard McPherson, the agriculture education teacher at Rio Rico High School, has partnered with Doug Kuhn, a rancher from Willcox, with many projects. Allowing students to show cattle at ANLS is one of them. This program focuses on introducing students to the idea of showing cattle allowing them to determine if this an interest for the future. Mr. McPherson mentioned this was an excellent way to show the students the hard work and long hours it takes to show cattle and gives them an idea if it’s something they want to do on their own.

Mesquite High School students with Jordan Selchow, advisor, and judge.

Students from Mesquite High School out of Gilbert, Arizona work hand in hand with the University of Arizona’s V-V Ranch, a working cattle ranch based out of Rimrock, Arizona. Throughout the year, students work closely with ranch managers to gain experience with branding, vaccination, and other working areas. During the late fall months, these students then begin preparations at their high school land lab to halter break, train, and eventually show feeder steers (male bovine who have been castrated) and heifers at the ANLS. This program started because of Jordan Selchow’s involvement with the V-V Ranch during college at the University of Arizona and the relationships he built while studying there with Dr. Dave Schafer and the Cannon family. Like the other three programs, this is an excellent way to give students the chance to show if they can’t do so on their own.

Proud students from  San Simon High School.

While each of these programs is unique, the overall goal and end results are the same: to give students a chance to experience the rewards of working hard and showing an animal at a major livestock show, while also instilling a strong sense of confidence and work ethic. When a student goes through an experience, such as training and showing a five-hundred-pound animal, something they’ve never done before and maybe even thought was impossible, confidence abounds in and out of the show ring. The lessons they learn from the extra hours of hard work along with the leadership skills they use when mentoring first-time students produce a young person who is more likely to continue forward on a successful path and might consider diving into the agriculture world. If this is a world they find interesting, these programs provide tools to build relationships and connections within this community and guide them on a path to future success.