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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 VersusFood, 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beef and Chorizo Burger
Author: Brad Prose
Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 10
Total Time: 20
Yield: 2–3 1x
Arizona inspires this beef and chorizo burger, topped with charred nopales, creamy muenster cheese, and refreshing cilantro crema.
Mix the ingredients together for the crema. Season and adjust. Keep in the fridge until needed.
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.
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.
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.
Toast the buns. We have that delicious chorizo fat for a reason.
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.
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.
Build your buns with the crema, and then the burger and toppings.
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.
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.
Check out the list below of our favorite beef burger recipes. Click on the title of each for the full recipe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ranchers: Layton Cattle Company: Steve and LaRene Layton and family: Kolter Layton & Rokelle Reeve (me) (& family).
Located: Beaver Dam, AZ /Arizona Strip (northwestern corner of Arizona).
Segment of beef community: We have a ranch which houses a herd of cows who produce calves each year. We keep our calves each year for a short period of time after they are weaned to give them an opportunity to grow some more before we sell them.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and about your ranch:
Rokelle: My great-grandpa purchased our family’s ranch in 1948 and we have raised cattle on it ever since. My two kids are the 5th generation to raise cattle here, which shows our dedication to the land and to the cattle. Our cow herd grazes on the Arizona Strip, which is north of the Grand Canyon, and the land we lease is all made up of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. We have a hay farm and feedlot in Beaver Dam, AZ which is where I grew up. Every year, we bring our calves that we raise on the ranch into the feedlot and feed them over the winter which is called backgrounding. This allows them time to learn about life in a feedlot, meaning they will feel less stressed when they move to a feedlot later in their lives, and it gives them some extra time to grow. Then our calves are sold in the spring at an auction where they will most likely go to a feedlot and continue in the traditional beef lifecycle.
Has the technology you use on the ranch changed since 1948?
Rokelle: We have so much technology at our fingertips! Probably the biggest one we use now is building water catchments (which is a large heavy-duty sheet of plastic that catches the rain/snow and funnels the water into a large storage tank which holds about 100,000 gallons). The range where we place these catchments would not be accessible to cattle because there is no other source of water. Because the water is better distributed, our cattle can more efficiently utilize rangeland and we can rest and rotate our pastures. Resting the grass and other plants cattle use for feed gives them time to reseed and regrow after they have been grazed. With this knowledge we have now about the science of range management, we are able to manage grazing for the benefit of our environment. By cattle utilizing renewable resources like rangeland, we produce beef!
What are some common misconceptions that you think people may have about the way your raise your beef on your ranch?
Rokelle: I think a common misconception is that livestock are not treated humanely. At our ranch, we are very focused on the well-being of our cattle and how they are handled. If animals are not handled properly, it causes them stress and can put us, ranchers, as well as our cattle, in danger. We have found that by working cattle slowly and quietly and working with their natural instincts, things get done a lot safer and easier for everyone, our cattle included.
What is the most important thing that you do on your ranch every day to make sure you are raising safe beef for the consumer?
Rokelle: The most important thing we do to raise safe beef for the consumer is make sure we are raising healthy cattle. This is done by following a good vaccination program to prevent disease, ensuring animals receive proper nutrition, and reducing stress that may be caused by improper handling.
What is the most important piece of information that you want people to know about you and the work you do on you ranch every day?
Rokelle: I think the most important thing I would want people to know about me and my role as a rancher is how much I care for the animals I raise. We as ranchers have a responsibility to keep our animals healthy and well-cared for as well as taking care of our land. I take this very seriously and know other ranchers do to. These animals are not only our livelihood; they are a part of our family. It is also important to ensure the land we raise our cattle on is cared for properly. This rangeland environment is critical for our cattle to survive in. We pay particular attention to the land’s conditions through various monitoring methods such as collecting plant frequency data over time to track the trend of the plants, photo monitoring to watch how things change over time, and we also keep track of the levels of utilization of the plants cattle like to graze on.
If you could describe in one word the life of a rancher, what would it be?
Rokelle: Enjoyable! It is a labor of love for the land and animals!
Lastly and of course most importantly, what is your favorite cut of beef and how do you like to prepare it?
Rokelle: You can’t beat any cut of beef, but I love a good chuck roast in the Instant Pot!
Not only is beef delicious and nutritious, but it’s also a highly sustainable food source. Numerous proven sustainability practices are utilized throughout each and every step of the “pasture-to-plate” process that contribute to the way beef is responsibly raised today.
Though the path to sustainability is never complete. It is a continuous journey being carried out by farmers and ranchers responsible for raising and supplying beef to the U.S. and across the world. To the beef community, sustainability comprises much more than environmental considerations. Today, a sustainable food supply balances efficient production with environmental, social and economic impacts.
Let’s take a look at how today’s beef farmers and ranchers are contributing to a more sustainable food supply.
A sustainable food system is comprised of three different, but intersecting, pillars: social responsibility, economic viability and environmental stewardship. True sustainability is a balance of these three aspects. Beef farmers and ranchers are dedicated to producing beef in a way that prioritizes the planet, people, animals, and progress.
Perhaps the least explored of the three pillars is social sustainability. We define this as community and organizational resilience, based on principles such as equity, health, social capital, and well-being. For beef production, social sustainability includes worker safety, animal welfare, antibiotic and technology use, and the culture and traditions of beef producers.
The economic pillar of sustainability refers to practices that support economic success and equitability, without negatively impacting the social and environmental aspects of the community. This includes improving rural economies & livelihoods, affordability of beef to consumers, profitability of beef producers, and the value of ecosystem services. Beef farms and ranches represent over 30% of the farms in the U.S., making up the single largest segment of U.S. agriculture, and a significant component of the agricultural economy.1
This area is concerned with protecting and enhancing natural resources, ecosystem services, and ecological health. This pillar looks at biodiversity, carbon & water footprints, wildlife habitat, soil and rangeland health, and the ability of cattle to utilize human inedible feeds, among others.
Currently, emissions from cattle, including those that come from the feed production, fuel, and electricity only account for 3.7% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. To better understand and optimize environmental sustainability across the entire beef lifecycle, from pasture-to-plate, cattlemen and women have recently invested in an updated environmental life cycle assessment (LCA). This in-depth assessment utilizes the most up-to-date and comprehensive methodology and includes data from seven different regions across the country. The LCA provides benchmarks on environmental contributions of the cattle industry in the U.S., and is a roadmap for the journey toward an even more environmentally sustainable approach to raising beef.
An economic impact assessment for the beef industry is also being completed. This economic impact report is one way to measure economic sustainability of the beef industry and is an area that will continue to develop and progress given the significant social and economic contributions of the beef industry to the U.S. and global community.
Cattle spend the majority of their lives on pasture, from the time they are born to when they are sent to the feedlot. During this time in the their diet consists primarily of grass, forages, and occasionally crop residues from grain production. By grazing, cattle expand the land available for food production by being able to consume forages on non-arable lands that are unsuitable for agriculture.
After the cow calf and backgrounding stages, cattle may spend the last 4-6 months of their life in a feedlot, where 50-85% of their diet is composed of grain from corn and other by-products, like distillers grains. By grain-finishing cattle, it shortens the time it takes to get from birth to harvest, thereby lessening their environmental impact, while increasing the total amount of beef produced per animal.
The beef production system works in harmony to produce the most sustainable product, balancing all of the trade offs that come with it. Each sector of the supply chain plays a critical role in doing so. When grazing, cattle are able to utilize their unique ruminant digestive system to upcycle, turning human inedible products, like grass, into high quality protein for human consumption. In doing so, the beef production system is not only a net contributor (meaning the beef production system produces more protein than it consumes) to the human edible protein supply, but the quality of human edible protein produced is enhanced throughout the beef value chain. However, a trade-off of this upcycling superpower is that cattle produce methane during the digestive process. This trade-off is balanced by feedlots, where cattle are fed grain. The higher-energy, grain-based diet consumed there produces less methane emissions than a high-forage diet. However, the net protein contribution is relatively less compared to when cattle consume a forage based diet. Overall, when considering livestock’s net protein contribution, beef and dairy cattle have the highest contribution, followed by poultry and swine. It is important to consider all trade-offs when evaluating sustainability, as each component of the supply chain plays a unique and important role in healthy, sustainable beef production.2
Baber, JR et al. 2018. Estimation of human-edible protein conversion efficiency, net protein contribution, and enteric methane production from beef production in the United States. Translational Animal Science 2(4): 439-450.
With the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. 300 at Daytona this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway (the day before the big NASCAR DAYTONA 500 race) and grilling season right around the corner, we thought it was a great time to share another beef cooking lesson. This time on grilling basics. This is a popular method for preparing steak, but it’s also the one that tends to worry a lot of beginner cooks. When you follow these steps (and allow yourself a little practice), you’ll find grilling is easy and—most importantly—very satisfying. Check out our grilling guidelines for more cooking time information.
PREP PAYS OFF
Some grill experts emphasize the importance of bringing steaks to room temperature before grilling, but we don’t recommend it for food safety reasons. Likewise, our cooking chart is based on the meat going directly from chill to grill. So plan on pulling the meat from the fridge, seasoning well, and getting started right away.
FIRE IT UP
Make sure your grill grate is clean. If you’re using charcoal, follow the directions for how much you’ll need and how to build the charcoal pile. For gas grills, refer to your owner’s manual and set the grill to medium.
GRILL, BABY, GRILL
Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor doneness, let it go—don’t flip the steaks so much! One flip is usually all you need, but take care to avoid charring or burning and be ready to turn down the heat (or move to a cooler spot on the grill) if necessary. Keep in mind the internal temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes after coming off the grill.
Here’s another step novice cooks often overlook: resting the meat before serving—even if you’re hungry. It’s seriously worth the wait, because it prevents all those tasty juices from draining onto your plate. For most grill-friendly cuts, about five minutes is enough.
If you’re slicing the steak before serving, be sure to cut across the grain to maximize tenderness. There’s no shortage of tips for assembling a great burger. For steaks, we recommend topping them off with compound butter or serving with a sauce.
THREE STEPS TO THE PERFECT GRILLED BURGER
Set grill to medium and let heat for a minimum of 10 minutes if using gas or until coals turn white if using charcoal. Form patties and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place a dimple in the center of the burger patty to minimize shrinking and optimize cooking.
Place burgers on the grill and cook approximately 4 to 5 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Flip burger and grill an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the center of the burger reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
Avoid pressing down on burgers and only flip burgers once during cooking.