Beef: The Ultimate Meat Substitute

Beef is the king of protein because it’s chock-full of zinc, iron, protein, and B vitamins plus 6 other essential nutrients, making it the ultimate “meat substitute.” Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. put their creative juices to work along with celebrity chefs and came up with some recipes to make beef the substitute of popular “other” dishes. Think Beef in a Blanket, Beef Parmesan, and Cowlamari. Explore these recipes and more below and then try them at home!

Beef in a Blanket with Chef Brooke Williamson

Chef Brooke Williamson offers a beefy twist on the tailgating classic, Pigs in a Blanket, with Beef in a Blanket featuring Braised Beef Short Ribs and a Gochujang Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.

Link to video HERE.

Beef Parmesan WITH CHEF CARRIE BAIRD

Chef Carrie Baird beefs up a tried-and-true crowd pleaser turning Chicken Parmesan into Beef Parmesan.

Link to video HERE.

Cowlarmari with Chef Lamar Moore

Lamar Moore is one of Chicago’s favorite chefs, but he knows that squid isn’t always so popular. Watch him replace surf with turf and turn Calamari into Cowlamari.

Link to video HERE.

Maple-Mustard Glazed Ribeye Roast with CHEF HUGH ACHESON

Chef Hugh Acheson uses maple syrup to put a Canadian twist on Glazed Ham for a juicy maple-mustard glazed Ribeye Roast.

Link to video HERE.

All photos and videos courtesy of Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.

Meet Your Rancher: Tim Petersen

While Tim Petersen is a first-generation rancher, ranching wasn’t his first career path. He was raised in Arizona, spending most of his life outdoors hunting, fishing, and camping with his father, who did work as a carpenter on several ranches, and taught his son a love for the outdoors. This love for the land and the outdoors gave Tim a genuine appreciation for those who managed and cared for the landscapes, leading him to his eventual career as a rancher and owner of Arizona Grass Raised Beef Co.

Tim’s career path varied and has included stints in mule training and real estate appraisal, which eventually led him to real estate development. When the great recession hit in 2008, he was at the top of the real estate game with custom home features in high-end magazines across the state of Arizona. However, 2008 would disrupt that success, as it did for many across the country. While this was a crushing blow to many, Tim used it as an opportunity to pivot, learn and grow, deciding he would do something different, which would pull from his diverse background and heritage. His father worked on ranches in northern Arizona, and his grandfather owned three butcher shops in Chicago, meaning the ranching and meat business made sense for Tim.

The ranching and meat businesses are not easy ones to break into, and Tim knew that. He came into the game with the financial knowledge on managing a successful ranch from his appraisal days. To fill in knowledge gaps, Tim took time to work on a friend’s ranch and even worked at the local Bashas’ meat department, where he learned the basics of cleaning the saw blades and other essential equipment care to the more complex requirements. These jobs may seem menial and unimpressive to some, but Tim had a greater goal in mind, and he took it all as a learning experience. The ranch he was working on at the time was leased, and he eventually took over that lease, where he was able to kick off his ranch and beef business. From there, it’s a tale of hard work and ingenuity.

Photo by Hazel Lights Photography.

What started out as a small business that relied on a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected harvesting facility over 100 miles away has resulted in a more integrated company built piece by piece, from hard work and creative thinking. When Tim started selling his beef directly to consumers, he would haul cattle to the University of Arizona Food Product and Safety Lab. Not long into this business, he located a harvesting facility in Chino Valley, which was ready to sell and, with his business partner, Tim purchased it. This was the best business decision as it allowed him to control the quality of the end beef product and the flow of that product. This harvesting plant is also UDSA inspected, meaning all the beef produced there can be sold anywhere in the USA.

Cattle produce about 60% edible beef, and the rest is bones, fat, tendons, etc. Tim doesn’t like to see anything go to waste, as many harvesting plants don’t, so he was keen on figuring out what to do with all the extra byproducts. His business partner is health-conscious and suggested they start producing bone broth. Bone broth is nutrient-dense, providing vitamins, minerals, and collagen. Those who are focused on their physical health find it very beneficial. Tim found a commercial kitchen to execute this idea where they eventually started to also make beef and other animal tallow (fat) which is used by restaurants. Pet treats are made from the lungs and other organs. Beef jerky is made from cuts that might not have the marbling needed for a steak or roast but is a better product in jerky form. Ground beef is a popular product, but as anyone who has raised a steer for harvest knows, there is always a lot of ground beef. So, Tim is currently developing a beef jerky that uses ground beef, ensuring that the product is used and not wasted.

Timing seems to be Tim’s best skill, as they launched an aggressive online business about two years ago, right before the COVID pandemic hit. When consumers were unsure about the reliability of their food supply, Tim and his company could keep harvesting cattle, producing beef, and selling it to people around the country. Tim reports that about 80% of his business is now done online. His product is also distributed by well-known foodservice companies such as Shamrock, Sysco, Peddler’s Son, and Custom Foods.

Tim supports the entire beef community and says, “American ranchers and feeders are raising some of the healthiest beef we’ve ever raised.” He’s found a niche in the grass-finished world of beef, and he has done everything he can to ensure the entire animal is used to the best and highest use. Grass-finished beef is a small portion of the overall beef product in the US, but there is a demand for it, and Tim is happy to fill it. Overall, Tim is a businessman who cares about what he sells to his customers. He is always willing to find a solution to a problem and find a niche to fulfill. Tim often says, “The market never lies,” and he’s proven that time and again with his current business and career path.

Photo by Hazel Lights Photography.

Advocating in Our Own Way

This summer we are thrilled to have Kailee Zimmerman as our summer intern. A past Arizona Beef Ambassador and Arizona FFA State Officer, Kailee shares about her roots, and how she continues to share about the beef community.


A recent study by the American Farm Bureau Federation showed that the average American is now at least three generations removed from production agriculture.  Rapid population increase and urbanization has left just two percent of United States citizens actively involved in raising, growing, and producing food.  We find ourselves in the middle of a reality that we have never faced before – the fact that American farmers & ranchers and consumers are divided by a large gap of knowledge and understanding. 

Whew!  Now is the time when we can take a deep breath!  While these statistics may seem daunting, there is great hope!  We also live in a world where many people are more interested than ever about their food and where it comes from.  We see foods marketed as “farm to table” and “locally grown” becoming more popular.  In order to bridge the knowledge gap between food producers and food consumers, it is so important for agriculturalists to share their story!

Picture of the Weathersby Ranch where my Nana grew up. This photo was used in the Arizona Highways magazine in 1957.

I believe that the story of American agriculture (especially, the beef community!) is one of triumph and inspiration.  Why wouldn’t we want to share it?  I am blessed to come from a family with ranching roots.  My Nana grew up on a ranch in Southeastern Arizona in the Aravaipa Canyon.  As a little kid, I loved hearing stories about the ranch and the adventures my family would have there.  However, as I have gotten older, through these stories and experiences, I have also grown a deep appreciation for the work that goes into raising cattle that will produce nutritious, sustainable protein.  I am also grateful for the example of hard work, integrity and perseverance that my Nana and other family members on the ranch set for me.


2T Ranch Show Team at 2019 Maricopa County Fair

While I did not grow up on a ranch like my Nana, I am grateful to have experienced a small degree of what it is like to raise cattle and provide food for families by raising and exhibiting show cattle.  I have raised market steers since I was 11 years old and have shown them at countless jackpot shows and fairs across Arizona.  It is hard for me to list all of the lessons that I learned from raising livestock and showing cattle, but one of the most important things I learned was how important it is to be a good representative of the agricultural community.  When we first started showing, my parents taught my brothers and me about the importance of being advocates for agriculture as we interacted with community members and visitors at the fairs we attended.  Though it was routine for us to care for our cattle and get them ready to show, this was very foreign to many people who attended the fairs.

My Nana’s Younger Brother, Jake, on the ranch.

Throughout my time exhibiting cattle, I was able to have many conversations with people who were unfamiliar with agriculture and knew very little about where their food came from.  I loved getting to talk to them and help give a little more understanding about what farmers and ranchers do to provide us with a safe, healthy and abundant food supply.


Kailee & Steer, “Switch”, and the Maricopa County Fair.

These experiences taught me that we each play an important role in advocating for agriculture – even if it feels like our part is small.  I hope that the conversations I had left an impact on the people I spoke with.  We each just have to be willing to share our story with those around us.  As we share our experiences with kindness, people are more likely to listen and respect what we are sharing and, in turn, we are better able to understand their perspectives and experiences.

“Nana” (Mary Smith) Showing Polled Herefords from the ranch.

Though there are challenges facing the agriculture community today, there are also great successes and innovations like we have never seen before.  The future is so bright!  We each just have to do our part and share our story when we are given the opportunity. 

Summer Beef Recipe Round Up

Summertime is the perfect opportunity to try something new and delicious in the kitchen or on the grill. Here is a round up of some of our favorites from www.BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com.

Hawaiian Ribeye Steaks with Grilled Pineapple Salad

Pretend you’re in a tropical location and put this on the grill. Ribeye Steaks are spiced up with cilantro, cumin and ground red pepper and served with a simple salad of pineapple, red pepper and lime. Link here.

Grilled Top Round Steak with Parmesan Asparagus

Try out a cut often overlooked with this recipe. After soaking in a tasty vinegar-garlic marinade, this Top Round Steak is grilled alongside fresh asparagus. Link here.

Salad Shakers

Trying to keep it on the healthier side this summer? Shake up your lunch and dinner routine. Mix your favorite salad ingredients with Ground Beef on top. Link here.

Mediterranean Beef and Salad Pita

Traditional ingredients like feta, olives and pita bread give this salad a Mediterranean twist. The addition of Ground Beef gives it a boost of power-packed protein. Link here.

Barbecue Chipotle Burgers

Burgers are always a safe bet for a family cookout, but try this recipe to shake up the same ole’ same ole’. Whip up your own beer-based barbecue sauce, then slather it on a perfectly prepared Ground Beef patty. Serve it all up in a “bun” of delicious Texas Toast. Link here.

St. Louis Burgers

There’s a new burger in town! Try our St. Louis burger, featuring Ground Beef, cheese ravioli, marinara sauce and ricotta cheese. Link here.

Classic Smoked Beef Brisket

Do you have a smoker sitting at home but not quite sure what to do with it? Check this out. Sliced or shredded, this smoked Brisket is great on its own or in a variety of applications. Link here.

Smoked Tri-Tip Street Tacos

Now you know how to use the smoker, here’s an idea for the end product. Smoked and roasted Tri-Tip is unexpected in a street taco. Try this flavorful version with your favorite toppings for a satisfying meal. Link here.

For even more recipe ideas, check out www.BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com.

Beef in the Early Years with the Selchow Family

Life with a toddler is hectic, to say the least. Their little brains are working harder than they literally ever will (fun fact: from birth to age three, children’s brains are learning something every second resulting in a million neural connections per second). And do they ever stop moving? Tiffany Selchow, Director of Social Marketing and Consumer Outreach at the Arizona Beef Council, shares in this blog how her family includes beef in their busy lifestyle, made only that much sweeter (and crazy) by their young daughter, to help ensure all nutrient needs are met.


Hayes Katherine, my three-and-a-half-year-old spit fire, is as active as ever and learning more every day. She only holds still for a few seconds at a time and is taking in every word those around her dare to let past their lips. Luckily for us, we live on a working cattle ranch so there are lots of places for her to go to burn off her abundance of energy. During the cooler months, we like to go on long walks down the dirt roads, learning about the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert and sometimes do so in her best Elsa dress. She also enjoys helping her dad check on the cows, splashing in muddy puddles, and dragging the ranch dogs along with her on most of these adventures. The heat doesn’t stop this girl. Even when it is hot, she wants to be outside, riding her bike or one of the patient ranch horses.

Keeping up with her energy and nutrition needs tends to be a challenge, because another difficulty of toddlerhood is finding food you can both agree on. Children at this age are literally supposed to question everything we tell them, and they take that job VERY seriously. This is where beef saves the day for us. It’s probably pretty obvious that in our house, we eat a lot of beef and should come as no surprise that beef was one of Hayes’ first foods.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Women Infants and Children’s Program (WIC) and now, for the first time ever, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, all recommend the introduction of solid foods, like beef, to infants and toddlers, in order to pack every bite with protein, iron, zinc and choline. Babies’ tummies are small, but their nutrition requirements are great. It’s our job as parents to ensure that nutrient-dense foods, like beef, get into that small space and fulfill those requirements.

Beef contains 10 essential nutrients including zinc, iron, and protein in just a few calories. For example, one recommended serving size for adults is 3 ounces of beef. This single serving contains about 160 calories while also including almost half of your daily needs for protein. Break that down into a toddler size portion of beef (1 ounce of beef) and you have something your small human enjoys eating because it’s tasty while also offering you the peace of mind knowing they are getting the nutrients that they need.

Hayes enjoys beef in many ways, but her favorite is in the form of her dad’s delicious and almost world-famous spaghetti sauce served over pasta. While this is a closely held secret family recipe, I’ll give you a small hint: Try ground beef and some Prego sauce and you’ll come pretty close to finding out the secret. We love to do family dinners at the dining room table or out on our ranch house porch and often grill up a Flat Iron Steak while Hayes runs around with the dogs in the ranch yard. The Flat Iron Steak happens to be the second most tender cut of the whole animal so you can basically add whatever seasoning you want, grill it up, let it rest, and then slice against the grain and you are almost always guaranteed a good eating experience. As a smaller kiddo, we used to give Hayes a long slice of beef to let her gnaw away and not worry about choking. Now that she’s a little older, we cut up bit size pieces and put those next to some grapes or other fruit and cheese and she has a plate full of healthy foods she is happy to chow down.

Photo courtesy of http://www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

Serving nutritious foods babies and toddlers love to eat, like beef, is simple and easy—puree, mash, chop or shred meat at various stages to meet their changing feeding needs. Check out https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/nutrition/beef-in-the-early-years for more information on feeding beef to your small ones and don’t forget to click on the recipes tab for inspiration and kid-friendly beef meal ideas.

Unless noted, photos provided by the author.

Paradise Valley Burger Company – A Burger Joint with a Unique Flair

Paradise Valley Burger Company (PVBC), located in Paradise Valley, Arizona, sits in an unassuming strip mall across the street from Paradise Valley High School. This restaurant may be small in square footage, but it does not lack in big, unique flavors, bringing customers back to try the new weekly special or just to enjoy their usual menu favorite again and again.

Chef Bret Shapiro and a creative burger he cooked up.

Bret Shapiro, owner, and operator of PVBC, comes from a long line of culinary roots. His grandfather was a butcher in New York City and sold meat to the famous Katz’s Deli, a legendary deli in New York City, and his great grandfather was a baker. Not only is good food in his blood, but it is also a way of life. Growing up he fondly recalls his family driving an hour out of their way to get to the best Chinese restaurant, passing numerous acceptable ones along the way, but knowing the best food was worth it. His restaurant is one of those places for the modern customer. People drive from far and wide, and make sure to stop in on winter vacations. He is often asked about opening more restaurants, but his goal is to stay where he is and focus on quality.

Pictured is the classic burger called the Paradise Burger which includes 1/4 pound of beef, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pickled onions, 1000 island dressing.

The restaurant comes from simple origins and a deal that didn’t quite pan out. Bret applied to an ad about 10 years ago on Craig’s List. The company was looking for a chef partner to come in and help out in a restaurant. About halfway through the deal, it fell apart. Instead of moving on and looking for something different, he decided to take it over and thought hamburgers were the way to go. While not the path Bret had imagined, it worked out and he’s still serving delicious burgers ten years later.

Paradise Valley Burger Company is known for having new, different, and sometimes wild flavor combos on their burgers. Initially, Bret stuck with the traditional burger set up but was looking for a way to bring people out to his side of town. The restaurant sits on a busy intersection, so it’s challenging to get people to stop and come in. He decided to get them to stop he had to put something on the menu that they couldn’t find anywhere else. The unique Brulee burger has always been a staple with its 1,000-island dressing, bacon, egg, Havarti cheese, pickled onion and burnt sugar bun, but he just kept coming up with new ideas and continues that to today.

This is the Brulee burger which includes 1/4 burger, bacon, egg, Havarti cheese, pickled onions, lettuce, 1000 island, all on a burnt sugar bun.

All items on the menu are freshly cooked ensuring quality both in the traditional combos and the more exciting ones. The beef is brought in every day and pressed into patties at the restaurant. Each burger, no matter the flavor combo, comes with a double patty, giving you a quarter pound burger. The individual patty is thin for a reason: it gives the maximum amount of char contributing to the flavor profile and allowing that to happen all the way through the burger. No detail is missed at Paradise Valley Burger Co. The brioche buns are sourced from a local bakery where they come in the traditional circle shape. Bret and his staff cut them into squares because this allows for a better bread-to-burger ratio, allowing for more even toasting on the flattop. Bret wants every bite to include all the ingredients on the burger and the square shape allows that to happen.

Not only are the burgers fun and innovative, but so are the sides. Sure, the menu includes the traditional French fries, but it also cooks up things like sweet Maui onion potato chips, French toast fries complete with a side of maple syrup, and even homemade ice cream like “The Canadian” which is vanilla ice cream, short bread cookies, and maple frosting. Every week, Bret puts on his creativity hat and comes up with a new burger, sides, and shakes. His goal is to keep the menu fresh. This gives the regulars the opportunity to come in over and over again and find something new, but he also keeps his classics for those who like the predictability.

This place isn’t just burgers! It’s also fun sides including these pictured which are French toast fries.

COVID affected PVBC like every other sector of foodservice, but Bret was fortunate to have a loyal following who wanted to see this valley classic stay afloat. His goal was to continue to serve quality food in whatever way he could. At the beginning of the pandemic when restaurants were closed, they offered pickup and delivery for a short time. As soon as dine-in services were allowed to resume, customers flocked back to the restaurant to load up on these tasty burgers.

Bret’s passion for his craft is evident and numerous TV producers have noticed. He and his restaurant has been featured on Man Versus Food, Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, Guys Grocery Games, and Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives- America’s Favorites Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives- Takeout. Bret is an open, friendly person who obviously works hard and does a great job of connecting with the folks around him. After being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives the first time there was a noticeable uptick in business. The locals who had found this burger joint organically kept coming, but now the people who saw it on TV and wanted to try out one of these delicious burgers for themselves were showing up. No matter how customers stumbled upon this delicious burger joint, they come back. Whether they are on the hunt for the fresh, classic cheeseburger, or coming back to try the newest creation by Chef Bret, this is not a restaurant you only visit once.

Take a visit to this delicious burger place and you won’t be disappointed!

If you know a great Arizona restaurant which features beef on their menu and think we should feature their establishment on the Arizona Beef blog shoot Tiffany an email at tnselchow@arizonabeef.org.

Beef and Dairy Farmers are Committed to the Environment

By: Clint Gladden, Saddle Mountain Dairy, Buckeye, Arizona

Sunrise on the dairy.

Continued concerns about climate change and the desire to protect our natural resources have people all over the globe looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly. These important conversations often lead back to food production – something that, as an Arizona dairy farmer raising crops, beef and milk, I am very passionate about.

My family and I are proud of the role we play in providing high-quality beef and milk in the most sustainable way possible. The U.S. is the leader in sustainable beef and milk production due to the dedication of the entire beef and dairy industries, especially those like my family, who have been farming and raising dairy cattle in Arizona since the late 1930’s.

Clint Gladden, William Thomas “W.T.” Gladden, Josh Gladden, and Sheri & Danny Gladden.

I am a fourth-generation farmer in Palo Verde, Arizona. In 1938, my great grandfather James Edward Gladden started a dairy farm with 12 Jersey cows in Chandler, Arizona. Over the years, we slowly moved west until we reached Palo Verde, where my wife Brooke and I currently farm and raise dairy with my parents (Danny and Sheri) and my brother and his wife (Josh and Heidi).

Up close inspection of the ration we feed our cattle.

Sustainable practices are the heartbeat of our farm. We recycle all water and utilize the manure from the cows as fertilizer on the crops that we raise to feed our cows. The alfalfa, corn, sorghum and wheat that we grow all go to the dairy for cattle feed. Additionally, cattle are fantastic upcyclers – meaning, their ruminant digestive systems turn things that humans can’t eat, like grass, other forages, and byproducts, into beef and milk for human consumption. Examples of byproducts that our dairy’s nutritionist formulates into our cows’ diets are cotton seeds (from the production of cotton), almond hulls, spent distillers grains (from breweries and ethanol production), and bakery and produce waste (that might be expired or too “ugly” from grocery stores) and would otherwise be sent to a landfill. By upcycling these materials we add nutritional and environmental value, while cutting down on waste and producing high-quality protein for humans. These are common practices by farmers and ranchers across the country, making the most of the resources available where they raise cattle.

The reality is that farmers and ranchers, like us, make their living from the land and we want to do everything in our power to protect the environment. Preserving natural resources is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes our farm better and allows us to continue farming, year-after-year, generation-after-generation.

Health check of the heifers.

Contrary to widespread confusion and due to misrepresentation of U.S. beef production with global numbers, you’ve likely heard that U.S. livestock’s contribution to climate change is immense. Americans must understand that this is not true. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), beef production in the U.S. is only responsible for 2% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Even when the production of animal feed, fuel and electricity necessary for beef production is factored into the equation, it is still responsible for just 3.7% of GHG in the United States.

Source: BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

The same is true for the dairy community: we are always working to have an even lower footprint. Thanks to increasingly modern and innovative dairy farming practices, the environmental impact of producing a gallon of milk in 2017 shrunk significantly, requiring 30% less water, 21% less land and a 19% smaller carbon footprint than it did in 2007.

Source: USDairy.com

While caring for the environment and our natural resources, we are also producing high quality and nutritious beef and dairy products to feed a growing global population. Supplying 10 essential nutrients, including protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins, beef supports a healthy lifestyle with many delicious cuts, like Flank Steak, Flat Iron and Ground Beef, which are some of my favorites.

Likewise, the milk from our cows contains 13 essential nutrients including high-quality protein, calcium and vitamin D, that help build and repair muscle tissue, build and maintain strong bones and teeth, and help support a healthy immune system.

We love what we do and want future generations to have the same opportunities we have, therefore making our stewardship of the land and cattle a top priority. Every day we are working to improve our farm and dairy, in turn, benefiting us all. There is something so satisfying about seeing it all come full circle. From seeing newborn calves starting their journey, to a bare field turning into high quality cattle feed over a season, then the cattle enjoying that feed, ending with getting to see milk tankers and cattle trucks leaving the farm headed for a grocery store near you with high quality nutritious and delicious beef and dairy products. It culminates for me when I get home from work to a delicious meal prepared by my wife Brooke loaded with Arizona beef and dairy.

We thank you for supporting Arizona beef and dairy farmers. We are committed to continuously improving the way we care for our land and cattle, to ensure a sustainable food supply.

Clint and Brooke Gladden, with Duke.

Beef and Chorizo Burger, Flavors of Arizona by Chiles and Smoke

What’s more Arizona than a cheeseburger topped with beef chorizo and grilled nopales? We can’t think of much. Brad, Phoenix-based master BBQ chef of Chiles and Smoke, is bringing us another delicious recipe and this time it’s to highlight National Beef Burger Day. Check out his blog here and be sure to bookmark or save this page for future use. Brad’s helpful step-by-step tutorial video is at the end of the recipe.

Brad Prose, of Chiles and Smoke, created a delicious recipe National Beef Burger Day.
Beef and Chorizo Burger
  • Author: Brad Prose
  •  Prep Time: 10
  •  Cook Time: 10
  •  Total Time: 20
  •  Yield: 2–3 1x
  •  Category: Beef
  •  Method: Griddle
  •  Cuisine: Burger

Description

Arizona inspires this beef and chorizo burger, topped with charred nopales, creamy muenster cheese, and refreshing cilantro crema.

Ingredients
Cilantro-Lime Crema
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema
  • 1/8 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste
Beef and Chorizo Burger
  • 2 cactus paddles (nopales) trimmed and washed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 fresh chorizo
  • 2 beef burgers, 3-4oz each (80/20 preferred)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 slices muenster cheese
  • 2 buns, brioche
Instructions
  1. Mix the ingredients together for the crema. Season and adjust. Keep in the fridge until needed.
  2. Preheat the heating surface to medium-high heat. If using a flat top or griddle, set up a 2-zone area with the second side at low.
  3. Lightly salt and sear the nopales for 3-4 minutes per side until lightly charred. Flip as needed. When cooked, remove from heat and slice into thin strips.
  4. Cook the chorizo. Stir frequently, making sure it crisps but doesn’t burn. Right before it’s finished, stir in the nopales to mix together. Remove from heat. If using a flat top or griddle, move to the cooler side.
  5. Toast the buns. We have that delicious chorizo fat for a reason.
  6. Mix the salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder together. Season one side of the beef burger and sear it on the griddle, face down. Season the top of the burger. Allow it to crisp up on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Flip when you have a nice crust and continue to cook until patty reaches 160°F as measured by a meat thermometer.
  7. Divide the chorizo and cactus into small piles to go onto the burger. Place a slice of the muenster cheese on each pile. The cheese will melt, holding everything together. Slide this pile on top of the burger and continue to cook until the preferred temperature.
  8. Build your buns with the crema, and then the burger and toppings.

Notes

Brad recommends using a lighter bun, such as brioche or white bread. The burger and toppings are heavier and rich so you want to make sure the bun isn’t as well.

Grilling season is here!

Living in Arizona gives us certain advantages over other states and one of the most important ones is the fact that grilling season lasts all year long! But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something extra special about gathering in the back yard on a warm summer evening as burgers, steaks, and hot dogs sizzle on the grill, the sounds of chatting and play drape across the grass, and a cold drink perspires in your hand. So even though we are blessed with the ability to fire up the grill year-round, let’s celebrate the official start of grilling season with some of our favorite beef burger recipes and cooking tips.

Burger Recipes

Check out the list below of our favorite beef burger recipes. Click on the title of each for the full recipe.

Image and recipe courtesy of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Classic Beef Cheeseburgers

Master this classic burger recipe and you’ll be the king (or queen) of the grill from here on out!

Image and recipe courtesy of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Caribbean Beef Burgers with Mango Salsa

Spicy, sweet and oh-so-simple. Ground Beef gets a peppery boost from jerk seasoning, and the freshly chopped mango salsa gives the dish a cool finish.

Image and recipe courtesy of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Deli Burgers

Six ingredients are all you need to prepare these delicious, delectable deli burgers.

Image and recipe courtesy of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Cheesehead Sliders

Because everyone loves a slider and it is made all the better with lots of cheese.

Cooking Tips

Image courtesy of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Grilling Basics

Because grilling season just isn’t grilling season without a grill, here is a link to all the grilling tips you could want and need. This will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to ensure success with all of your guests’ taste buds.

Image courtesy of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Food Safety

We know you know how to keep things on the up and up, but it doesn’t hurt to review your beef food safety knowledge just to be sure.

For more recipes like these and information visit www.BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com and www.ArizonaBeef.org.

Meet Your Cattleman: Job Luque

Meet Job Luque! Job is the general manager of Five Rivers Cattle Company Feed Yard in Wellton, Arizona. In this Q&A, Job shares his history in the cattle community and his role at the feed yard where he shares their focus and dedication to raising high-quality, sustainable beef.

Arizona Beef Council (ABC): Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and the feed yard:

Job Luque: My name is Job Luque and I grew up in a ranching family about an hour south of the US-Mexico border. Ranching and caring for cattle is in my blood so there was never a question in my mind what I would end up doing for my career: it would involve cattle. I earned a degree in animal science. At the end of my college career when I was close to graduation, a representative came down to my university from the Five Rivers Cattle Company, large cattle feeding company, to talk to our department about career opportunities. I interviewed with the company and the next thing I knew I graduated and received a job offer in the panhandle of Texas. I didn’t realize the amount of cattle there was in that area of the world until I was offered this job. My family and I spent eleven years in that area where I enjoyed learning about and working in the cattle feeding business. I was offered a chance to move to Arizona when the company purchased a feed yard in Wellton, Arizona. This was much closer to my hometown and easier to visit with family, so it was a logical move for us. At the time I was the assistant manager at the feed yard in Texas, and with my transfer to Arizona I was given the opportunity to step up in management. This was a big move for me. I worked under another colleague for a year and then I was promoted to general manager.

A daily task at the feed yard is controlling dust using water trucks and sprinklers.

ABC: What are some of the daily tasks required at the feed yard?

Job: We believe having the right people in the right jobs is the beginning of raising and handling cattle correctly. The source of the animals means a lot because the beginning of their lifecycle is going to help set the tone for their health. We must know that the people who sell us our calves follow a strict vaccination protocol and are using low stress cattle handling techniques like we are.

The right housing and environment is another important part of the equation. The arid southwest makes an ideal place to raise cattle in a feed yard, because moisture is low meaning we don’t have to worry much about muddy pens. This climate does inherently have its challenges, such as heat and dust, so we run a water truck daily to help with both of those factors. We have always had shades up in our pens, but have recently begun the transition to a cloth shade which allows for flexibility with wind and other factors and also allows for more air circulation than the traditional metal shades. They are also easier for us to repair if they do come down, but so far they have been very sturdy. The shades run from north to south so there is always shade in the pen throughout the day as the sun moves, meaning the cattle always have a place to get out of the heat.

We have both a veterinarian and cattle nutritionist on staff, who ensure the health of our cattle. The veterinarian provides protocols, which are strictly followed and reviewed often, for our employees to follow if an animal does become sick. Our veterinarian also provides a vaccination program, implemented for the animal’s long-term wellness. The cattle nutritionist helps ensure the feed ration we give to our cattle provides for all their nutrient needs while also helping us to use the feed products we have close to us, when possible.

We also have a team of cowboys who ride all day, every day, through the pens of cattle to check the current health status of each animal. This is a huge undertaking at a feed yard our size, so these guys and gals are an integral part to our team. They are extremely talented and do their jobs well. It’s really something to watch because they can pick an animal out of the pen who maybe has a head dropped too low or a dull eye and know it’s not doing its best. On the rare occasion they do find a sick animal, they move it to our hospital pens where we use the veterinarian prescribed protocols to treat that animal. It’s only returned to its original pen when its again healthy and all withdrawal times on any medication have been met.

As you can see, the care of these cattle is a huge task and it takes many people and moving parts, but we are all committed to raising cattle the right way.

Cattle feed is formulated by a cattle nutritionist and checked daily for quality and consistency.

ABC: What is the most important thing that you do on your feed yard every day to make sure you are producing safe beef for consumers?

Job: We are dedicated to the safety, well-being and health of not just the cattle we raise but also the people who work with us and the consumer we ultimately sell the beef product too. Safety protocols are in place and updated often along with training and keeping current on the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. BQA is a national program that strives to raise consumer confidence by offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef community. This program allows us to train all of our employees on how to handle, care for, and manage our cattle in the best way possible. It’s a program which is audited and updated often, using the latest research and technology, always working towards continuous improvement. Along with all of that, as previously mentioned, we work day in and day out with our veterinarian and nutritionist, strictly following their recommendations for proper care and feeding of the animals. 

A skilled crew of cowboys are tasked with checking the cattle every day to ensure health and wellness of the animals.

ABC: What is the most important piece of information that you would want people to know about you and the work you do on the feed yard every day?

Job: Our commitment to the beef community and the animals in our care is something we hold very close to our hearts. We believe no one loves the animals more than the people raising them and we know we are responsible for doing the right thing every day, no matter what. We are proud to feed the delicious beef we raise here to not just our families but to yours too.

ABC: How do you interact with your community?

Job: Wellton is a very small community which we are honored to be part of and do all we can to support. We often sponsor events at the local schools and are especially interested in the local 4-H and FFA programs. We do purchase animals at our local county fair to support youth in their efforts to raise livestock. These programs not only teach students about agriculture, but also offer countless skills used in the real world that we find great value in.

The feed ration cattle eat each day is delivered fresh and measured to make sure there is enough for each animal.

ABC: Lastly and of course most importantly, what is your favorite cut of beef and how do you like to prepare it?

Job: I really enjoy a medium rare Rib Eye with salt, especially after a long day of work.

This blog post is made possible by the generous support of the Arizona Cattle Industry Research and Education Foundation.