Beef Sustainability

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.

BEEF SUSTAINABILITY FACTS

THREE PILLARS OF SUSTAINABILITY 

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.

SOCIAL

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. 

ECONOMIC

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

ENVIRONMENTAL

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.

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENTS

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. 

Learn more about economic sustainability.

SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH THE BEEF LIFECYCLE 

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

Learn more about cattle’s unique ability to upcycle.

Article originally published on Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.‘s website. LINK

  1. https://www.beefresearch.org/CMDocs/BeefResearch/Sustainability_FactSheet_TopicBriefs/ToughQA/FS18SustainableFoodSystem.pdf
  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.

Beef Cooking Lesson: Grilling Basics

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.

REST RELAX

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.

FINISHING TOUCHES

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 
  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Avoid pressing down on burgers and only flip burgers once during cooking.  

For more cooking lessons just like this, check out www.BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com .

Celebrating Heart Month with Arizona Beef

February is Heart Month, both in terms of love and the actual thing beating in your chest. We celebrate all that is love on the 14th of this month with romantic dinners for two and give extra attention to keeping your ticker ticking all month long. We want you to have the best Heart Month ever, so we’ve compiled a list of nutritional resources on how to include beef in a heart-healthy diet along with ways to get your significant other’s heart racing with love, beef included, of course.

Beef as Part of a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

Eating for a healthy heart and enjoying one of your favorite foods—these two things don’t have to be at odds with one another! Recent research shows that eating lean beef as part of a heart healthy dietary pattern can help maintain normal cholesterol levels.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Penn State University found that people who participated in the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) Study, maintained healthy blood cholesterol levels while consuming a dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans, with lean beef as the primary protein source. The BOLD diets contained 4-5.4 oz (weights before cooking) of lean beef daily, while providing less than 7% of calories from saturated fat, consistent with current fat intake targets. The BOLD study is the latest addition to the body of evidence that supports including lean beef in a heart-healthy diet. In fact, over 20 studies of lean beef in healthy dietary patterns support a role for lean beef in a heart healthy diet and lifestyle. Learn more by clicking here.

Lean Beef – A Super Satisfying Balance of Taste and Nutrition

If you are looking to celebrate Heart Month with something a little more lean, you are in luck. Beef has that too! What does lean mean? A cut of cooked fresh meat is considered “lean” when it contains less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams (3½ oz) and per RACC (Reference Amount Customarily Consumed), which is 85 grams (3 oz). Per 100 grams: Less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol. Odds are that you’re probably already cooking lean cuts at home or choosing one when dining out. Good for you! A telltale sign that a cut is lean is if the word “Round” or “Loin” is in the name—that’s quite a lot of cuts if you think about it!  In fact, thanks to enhancements in cattle breeding and feeding as well as improved trimming practices, more than 60 percent of whole muscle beef cuts found in the supermarket are considered lean when cooked with visible fat trimmed.1 Learn more about lean beef here.

The Nutrients You Need with a Taste You Love

When it comes to beef and your health, you can rest easy knowing that along with being delicious, beef contains important nutrients that your body needs. In just one 3 oz. cooked serving, you’re getting 10 essential nutrients, including about half your Daily Value for protein! Learn more about the nutrients in beef by clicking here.

Need Some Heart-Healthy Recipe Inspiration?

Enjoying lean beef in a heart-healthy lifestyle is easier than you think with these recipes featuring lean beef, fresh fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. These Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. recipes are all certified by the American Heart Association®. Click here for the recipe collection.

Fancy Night In: Filet Mignon with Mushroom Wine Sauce

And finally, because sometimes you just need a delicious meal to celebrate your Valentine on Valentine’s Day, Brooke from Brooke Appetit has the perfect solution. She created a delicious dinner for two for the Arizona Beef blog. She does a great job of giving you all the details so the shopping and preparation are easy to follow with a big payoff. Your mate will be extremely impressed with your culinary skills. Click here for the full recipe.

Meet Your Arizona Rancher: Timm Klump

The Klump family has a long and storied history in the southwestern United States. Like many multi-generational ranch families, there were ups and downs in the past but something all these families have in common is the ability to overcome adversity. Ranching is often said to be in a person’s blood, and it seems this statement holds true for the Klump family. Timm Klump, a fifth-generation Arizona rancher, shared his family’s history while also looking to the ranch’s future.

Arizona rancher Timm Klump sharing his family history. Photo by Hazel Lights Photography.

Timm’s great-great-great-grandfather was the first to start in the ranching business. After fighting in the Civil War, he slowly made his way west through Texas, New Mexico, eventually settling in Arizona, west of the Dos Cabezas Mountains. There he raised a family and began to pass down his cow sense and passion for ranching. Timm’s great-grandfather was a skilled cowboy and well-known as such in the community and with the big cattle outfits of the time, working on many of them. According to Timm, though, it was not until his grandfather was older that he started planning for the future of his family and their place in the ranching community.

Timm’s grandfather had many brothers and as they grew, their focus turned towards saving, keeping records on their financials and cattle, and purchasing small parcels of land as they were able. They always paid with cash and never sold their heifers (female bovine who have not yet had a calf), which meant every time they bought a new stretch of land, they had cattle to stock it. At one point during this generation, the Klump ranch stretched, non-continuously, from Willcox, Arizona to the New Mexico state border.

Tucker Klump, Timm’s oldest son, is the sixth-generation of this passionate, hard-working family. Photo by Hazel Lights Photography.

As it sometimes happens with family, the ranch eventually split apart, but Timm’s father was able to maintain his portion. In the early 2000’s, a major drought hit Arizona, causing the Klumps to sell most of their cattle. Timm did not see a future on the ranch so he went off to college where he completed his bachelor’s degree. The job of a rancher is to care for the cattle and the land, but it is also their job to find a solution when there does not seem to be one. Johnny, Timm’s father, comes from a long line of problem solvers who figured out a way to keep ranching and in this case, he was no different.

The drought left the Klump ranch with few cattle to its name. Johnny took what some would consider high-quality cattle and sold them. With that money he invested in smaller cows or ones that were not as popular in the cattle market at the time. This meant he could purchase and stock his ranch with more cows which were bred to produce more calves. There is often a large emphasis on quality cattle without thought given to the situation or environment a rancher might be in. To combat what might be considered the lower quality cows he purchased, Johnny invested in bulls who carried desirable genetics. By improving his cattle over several years while also producing more calves to sell, the Klumps were able to keep the ranch afloat. This also allowed him to save money for future investments and necessities. Timm has five brothers who all work alongside himself and his dad on their ranches, a story that is not often heard of in the ranching community.

Timm and Tucker take a moment to look at part of their ranch. Photo by Hazel Lights Photography.

Many things have changed on the ranch in Timm’s lifetime including the usage of vaccinations to help ensure all their cattle stay healthy and are able to produce quality beef. The Klump family also breeds their own horses because the work is never ending, and the horses must be able to keep up. They choose genetics for horses that can go all day and cover many types of terrain, both flat and mountainous.

Because Timm is passionate about caring for cattle and raising beef, he enjoys helping to correct common misconceptions about beef, particularly about food safety, proper cooking temperatures, and shopping for beef.

Myth: Rinse beef under water before cooking.

Fact: One issue that is of particular importance is how to properly handle beef to ensure its safety upon consumption. Timm has heard the rumor that one is supposed to rinse beef under water before cooking which is incorrect. Storing beef at 40 degrees or below, thawing in the refrigerator, and cooking to an internal temperature of 140 degrees for steaks and roasts and 160 degrees for ground beef are ways to ensure food safety when cooking with beef in your kitchen. Check out this link for more food safety tips.

Myth: One method of raising beef is better than the other.

Fact: Another misconception he hears a lot is that beef bought straight from the ranch tastes better. Timm often consumes the beef he raises but commented that he’s also often had excellent beef from the grocery store. Most of the beef you find at the grocery store has followed the traditional beef lifecycle with its last stage of life spent at a feed yard. Feed yards work with a cattle nutritionist to mix the perfect ration (the mixture of feed fed to the cattle) to ensure health for the animal but also to add marbling and flavor to the end product, the beef. No matter where you get your beef, there is a family like Timm’s who has helped to raise it.

Tucker was basically born on a horse as most of the Klump kids are. Photo by Hazel Lights Photography.

Timm is in many ways a typical millennial. His wife, who is originally from California, has probably helped in this regard, but Timm loves sushi, avocado toast, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and of course, steak. He also knows what it means to work all day, through blood, sweat, and maybe tears. He knows what it means to put other creatures before his own wants and needs to protect and care for them. He also sees the myths and misunderstandings that circulate about the beef community. He feels if he could talk to every person on this earth, he could explain a lot of what happens on a ranch and why, thus helping others to feel more comfortable with eating beef.

When asked what the best part of ranching is, Timm shared that it is doing something tangible. He witnesses the birth of new calves every year and raises those animals until they are sold to the next stage of the beef lifecycle. The feel of the leather reins in his hand, the saddle creaking under him, and his horses’ hooves on the ground are all things he enjoys and encounters almost daily. He knows the struggle, hardships, and passion that go into this line of work and he continues to do it day after day, year after year. We think if Timm did have a chance to talk to everyone, he would have a lot of new friends who feel good about enjoying beef.

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

Top Ten Most-Read Arizona Beef Blog Posts of 2020

It’s the beginning of a new year, full of possibilities, but we can’t just forget about 2020. It was a year of ups and downs but the Arizona Beef blog continued to share the story of Arizona beef. Check out our annual round up of the Arizona Beef Blog’s top ten most-read posts. We visited with ranchers across the state to bring you more information on how beef is raised, delicious beef meals were cooked and shared so you can recreate them at home, and much more. Enjoy!

10th Most Read Blog Post

What is Range Management and Why is it Important?

A blog post all about what range management is and why it’s important with information collected from our many visits with Arizona beef ranchers from across the state.

9th Most Read Blog Post

Brooke Appetit: Beef Shish Kabobs with Lebanese Rice

Brooke is no stranger to our list! She has been on here before and she deserves to be here again with this delicious recipe. You probably want to check this one out if you haven’t already.

8th Most Read Blog Post

The Beef Lifecycle

The beef lifecycle can be confusing, and we mapped it out in this blog post.

7th Most Read Blog Post

From Ranch to Kitchen: Rancher and Chef Collaborate

A Q&A with executive chef Ryan Clark and Arizona rancher Dean Fish was compiled after they had the chance to visit each other’s places of work for a special collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. and Chef’s Roll.

6th Most Read Blog Post

Meet Your Ranchers: Emmett and Lori Sturgill

Some of our most favorite blogs are about the ranchers who raise the delicious Arizona beef we eat. This one was no exception! This blog and many others on this list were generously funded by the Arizona Cattle Industry Research and Education Foundation.

5th Most Read Blog Post

Arizona Beef’s Simple and Easy Prime Rib Roast

Lauren has worked on this recipe for literally years and it’s about as close to perfection as it can be. So we shared it with you this year! The goal of this particular recipe was to make it simple. And that it is! You’ll want to save this one so it’s ready for your next special gathering.

4th Most Read Blog Post

Meet Your Ranchers: Anita Waite and Sherwood Koehn

Another blog funded by the Arizona Cattle Industry Research and Education Foundation and another great visit with a hard-working Arizona beef rancher. Anita and Sherwood place heavy emphasis on leaving the land better than they found it while raising high-quality cattle to give us delicious beef.

3rd Most Read Blog Post

Meet Your Rancher: Angie Newbold

Angie is a first-generation rancher with true passion for the beef community. She also happens to be a dedicated runner and this blog highlights how the two worlds mesh.

2nd Most Read Blog Post

Meet Your Sale Barn Owners: The Shores Family

The Shores family embodies heritage, dedication, and passion for what they do. They share all about the sale barn life, how important this portion of the beef lifecycle is to the community, and all about the genuine devotion this family has for the families in their community. Blog funded by Arizona Cattle Industry Research and Education Foundation.

Most Read Blog Post of 2020

Meet Your Rancher: Cassie Lyman

Finally, our number one most-read blog post of 2020 features Cassie Lyman of Lyman Ranches. To say Cassie is a powerhouse would be an understatement because she is much more than that. She is a mother, a devoted church member, a dedicated wife, a volunteer, a business owner, a rancher, and the list goes on. This was the first blog post we published in 2020 and it did not disappoint.

Thank you to each of our readers for reading along. Please let us know what you want to see more of in 2021. We will be here, sharing the story of dedicated Arizona beef ranchers working hard to raise delicious beef for their families and for yours.

From Ranch to Kitchen: Rancher and Chef Collaborate

The journey to deliver high-quality and safe beef requires collaboration from pasture to plate. At each step of the process—from the beef farmers and ranchers who raise beef and adhere to Beef Quality Assurance standards to the chefs and restaurateurs who prepare beef in their restaurants, there is a strong commitment to delivering high-quality beef that consumers love. That’s why Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner., in partnership with Chef’s Roll, brought beef farmers and ranchers together with chefs to learn about each other’s segment of the beef business.   

Executive Chef Ryan Clark of Casino Del Sol in Tucson met with rancher Dean Fish, manager Santa Fe Ranch in Nogales, Arizona. In a day on the ranch, Chef Ryan learned about environmental stewardship, management of the land and water resources as well as proper cattle handling techniques to ensure animal safety. Likewise, Dean spent a day in the kitchen with Chef Ryan as he cooked and served his popular Cowboy Ribeye that he currently serves in his restaurant.

In addition to these Arizona beef-aficionados, Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. and Chef’s Roll will be featuring four additional beef ranchers and chefs from Oklahoma, Georgia, Idaho, and California. 

The stories and videos from the ranch and kitchen are featured on Chef’s Roll’s digital properties (see video here). Chef’s Roll is a global digital community that inspires culinary professionals through knowledge sharing with their 18,000 members and followers from 147 countries. They are chefs, wine professionals, mixologists and hospitality professionals. The Chef’s Roll team creates photo and video content to share with their members and social media followers as well as creating live events for chefs. 

Arizona Rancher Dean Fish (left) and Chef Ryan Clark (right)

We asked Chef Ryan and Dean to share a little more about their time spent together. We hope you enjoy hearing about their unique perspectives.

  • Chef Ryan: When did you realize you had a passion and skill for cooking?
    I started cooking in Tucson at a small boutique restaurant. Everything was from scratch and it really opened my eyes to the amount of work and passion that goes into preparing a meal. My first big promotion was at 17 when I took over as the Chef De Cuisine… and I never looked back.
  • Dean: When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career raising cattle and sharing about ranching?
    I have craved being a part of the beef industry and the western lifestyle since I can remember. I have always enjoyed being around cows and horses while learning more about them. I pursued all opportunities to get more knowledge in all aspects of cattle production and management. I now get to do it every day and realize that it is a great responsibility to produce a safe, wholesome, nutritious and tasty product while taking care of the land, wildlife and other resources.
  • What did you find most interesting in learning from each other?
    Chef Ryan: My favorite part of the tour was seeing how Dean interacted with the livestock daily. His relationship with them went far beyond what most would expect. You could tell from his words and actions that he not only respects the process but also loves telling the story. It is moments like these that will continue to push me to visit the ranchers and farmers that make our food possible.
    Dean: Chef Ryan is a world-class talent that has a passion and a flair I have rarely seen in any field. He is top notch at what he does and makes it look easy. His creativity in preparing the cuts we showcased was the most surprising part to a guy like me that uses salt, pepper and mesquite wood for everything. Chef Ryan was also an exceptionally good communicator and took the time to share his process and explain the steps to me.
  • Chef Ryan: What part of your visit to the ranch will you most likely share with customers, colleagues and friends?
    I think as a chef it’s more important than ever to visit our ranchers and farmers. You take back a different respect for food when you see the process firsthand. It helps refresh your outlook and food philosophy and find new inspiration. Every time I make a trip, I come back into the kitchen with new ideas and energy that helps create dishes that tell the story.
  • Dean: What part of your visit to the kitchen will you be most likely share with visitors to the ranch, colleagues and friends?
    The creativity was the biggest takeaway for me and encouraging people to try different flavors and preparation techniques.
  • In what ways can beef farmers and ranchers and chefs continue to work together?
    Chef Ryan: Collaborations are so important. Our guests love to know where the food comes from that they are eating. Having a beef farmer or rancher come to the restaurant for a special dinner and interact with a guest is an experience like none other. 
    Dean: I think anytime that producers can see the talent, work and effort it takes to showcase beef and encourage the consumer to choose beef is valuable. On the other side, helping chefs realize the work and care it takes to produce beef helps to create appreciation for the process. Ranchers assume beef just gets cooked and sold and chefs may assume beef just shows up in their restaurant. These connections are very valuable and I am a huge Chef Ryan fan!
  • What is your favorite beef meal (cut and preparation)?
    Chef Ryan: Anything braised.  I don’t want to say that quick cooking methods are easy but there is something about the process of an all day braise that you can really taste in a dish. Oxtails, Short Rib and Chuck Roast are a few of my favorites.
    Dean: Trick question here! I love all of the cuts. If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to say a bone-in Ribeye cooked over a wood fire would be my favorite. Followed closely by a marinated flank steak cooked the same way and eaten in a homemade flour tortilla!

Arizona Beef’s Simple and Easy Prime Rib Roast

This week’s #AZBeef blog post is from Lauren Maehling, the Arizona Beef Council’s Executive Director. She shares with us a delicious and simple Prime Rib recipe that is sure to impress your family this holiday season.


Cooking and serving a perfect Prime Rib for a special occasion was a goal of mine but I was completely intimidated for far too long. Overseeing the quintessential holiday protein highlight is a hefty responsibility. There is a fine line between tragic or magic when it comes to preparing the main course of a special meal, and we want to help you confidently dazzle your guests with a delectable Prime Rib this holiday season. It’s taken me a few years to tinker with a recipe, and I’m honored to share this one with you.

Before we begin, I’d like to suggest a festive video to get you in the roasting spirit: behold, the Drool Log and ‘Twas The Night Before Beefmas.

Now, about this recipe. There are many ways to prepare a Prime Rib Roast that result in an excellent eating experience (BBQ, smoker, roaster, oven, oh my!). This is a simple yet tasty recipe that has become my go-to that I’ve modified and shared with family and friends over the years. Though this recipe calls for oven roasting, it could easily be adapted to another low and slow cooking method. Whether you follow this one or another preferred stand by, I hope you enjoy, and cheers to the beef farmers and ranchers who work year-round to raise delicious and nutritious beef.

Garlic and Herb-Crusted Prime Rib

Notes: Make sure to read the tips at the end. This recipe isn’t an *exact* science (except for the internal temps – don’t wing those!) But the herbs and garlic are approximate and not set in stone. If you have a little more or less rosemary, it’s going to turn out just fine. It’s ok to wing this part. Really like garlic? Keep on peeling and chopping. Tired of meticulously pulling each tiny individual leaf of thyme (or in my case, is your husband tired of plucking each leaf? 😉). If so, call it good (but see the tip about rosemary and thyme to make your life easier). I realize the recipe looks “wordy” but please don’t be intimidated. I wanted to include as much commentary to help the process.

Ingredients

  • Prime Rib Roast (officially called a Ribeye Roast and sometimes called a Standing Rib Roast) – I prefer bone-in but boneless is wonderful also. More about this cut here.
  • Fresh Rosemary: about 8 sprigs or 2 packs if you’re buying it from the market in those little herb packs. Will be about ½ cup chopped. You can use less if you have a small roast.
  • Fresh Thyme: 6-8 sprigs which is one of those herb packs from the market.
  • 2 heads of Garlic: reserve 5-8 cloves. Finely dice the rest.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Your favorite Steak Seasoning (I like one with salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley)

Prep Work for Herb Crust

  • Thinly slice lengthwise the 5-8 cloves you set aside (these will be to insert into the roast). Keep these separate from the chopped garlic.
  • Finely chop rosemary, thyme and garlic.
  • Mix together herbs with olive oil to a consistency you could rub all over the roast. It should be the consistency of a thin paste.

Cooking

  • Preheat oven to 500˚F with oven rack in the lower third of the oven (so your roast and roasting pan are sitting in the middle of the oven).
    • Not necessary but a bonus to the Prime Rib cooking experience, tune in to the Drool Log for 2 hours of uninterrupted satisfying sizzle. It will look fabulous on your TV.
  • Make sure roast is dry. Pat with paper towels, if needed.
  • Poke holes approximately 1” into the roast with a paring knife to insert the sliced garlic (tutorial video here). I like to add the garlic all over the top fat cap of the roast. The garlic will add extra flavor, unless you don’t want extra garlic flavor, then you can skip this step.
  • Coat roast with your favorite steak seasoning. How lightly or heavily you season is up to your preference and taste.
  • Now coat the entire roast in the garlic and herb paste. Doesn’t it smell divine?
  • Place the roast bone side down on the rack of your roasting pan. If cooking a boneless roast, make sure the fat side is up. If you don’t have a roasting rack, you can make one like this DIY roasting rack.
  • Insert an oven-proof thermometer, if you have one, into the center or thickest part of the roast, taking care to avoid the bone (if cooking a bone-in roast). I like a digital instant-read thermometer that can be read outside the oven.
  • Now is the time to put this grand roast in the oven! Cook at 500˚ for 20 minutes (preheated, of course, in case you ignored that first step).
    • Keep a watchful eye on the outer crust. If it looks like it is getting too dark (aka burning), loosely cover the roast with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  • After 20 minutes, lower oven temp to 350˚F. 
  • Total cooking time will vary depending on the size of the roast. Plan on 15 minutes per pound of beef. So, if your roast weighs 8 pounds, your total cooking time will be approximately 2 hours. This is approximate as every oven is different, and that’s why it is very important to watch the internal temperature reading. Internal temperature is more important than the time on the clock.
  • Remove roast from the oven when meat thermometer registers 115-120°F for medium rare. As the roast rests (next step), the temperature will continue to rise. Some people like more done and some like more rare. It’s up to your personal preference.
  • Transfer Prime Rib to a cutting board and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Let rest 15-20 minutes. Resting is important – see note below. 
  • Time to carve! First turn the roast on its side and remove the ribs. To do this, follow the curve of the ribs as close and you can making sure to hold the roast steady with a serving fork or tongs. Once the ribs are removed, turn the roast with the fat side up and carefully slice pieces to your desired thickness. I like 1” thick slices, but if you like thinner or thicker, you do you.
  • Enjoy! You’ll have salty and crusty end pieces for the end-piece lovers, and a nice medium rare in the middle for everyone else.

Tips:

  • When picking a Prime Rib Roast, I like to choose one with a large Ribeye Cap. That’s the highly-marbled part of the roast that “hugs” the eye of the Ribeye on the outside. It’s my favorite part because it tastes like “beef candy.”
  • Bone-in vs boneless: Bone-in cuts of beef draw more flavor from the bones. Plus, the Prime Rib bones are DELICIOUS and your guests may fight over them. But if you have a boneless roast, that’s ok! It will save you one step when carving.
  • How many pounds of beef do you need? Plan on ½ pound per person (uncooked weight).
  • Following proper food safety defrosting instructions is very important. If your roast is frozen, plan for plenty of time for the roast to defrost in the refrigerator (NOT at room temperature on your counter). Here are some food safety and defrosting tips.
  • “Stripping” rosemary and thyme: Unless you want to pluck each leaf individually, easily and quickly strip the leaves off the stems by pinching the stem end with one hand and swipe down the length of the stem with your fingers on your other hand.
  • Allowing the Prime Rib to rest for 15-20 minutes is very important. Be patient to allow the juices to re-absorb into the meat ensuring a tender, juicy roast. Those few extra minutes provide a great opportunity to make an au jus from the reserved beef drippings and plate side dishes.
  • For more beef recipe inspiration and tips, visit Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.’s Expert Tips for the Perfect Holiday Roast, All About the Prime Rib and Beef Up the Holidays.

There are many techniques and recipes that result in a delicious Prime Rib. Please share with us in the comments, what is your favorite?

Animal Care and Antibiotic Use in Cattle

Arizona cattle farmers and ranchers have many tools to keep the animals in their care healthy and safe, including nutrition programs, veterinary care, facilities that ensure comfort, and good management practices, such as low-stress handling, vaccines and antibiotics, when necessary. No matter the tool, when it comes to animal health, the practices are science-based, regulated and, above all, good for the animal and the consumer.

Photo by Hazel Lights Photography.

HOW DO RANCHERS KEEP CATTLE HEALTHY?

Arizona farmers and ranchers work diligently to manage their cattle for optimum health. It begins with proper nutrition. Whether out on grass or in a feedyard, cattlemen work with nutritionists to make sure the cattle are receiving the right balance of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. Cattlemen also work with their veterinarian to determine the disease risks their cattle may face and develop a “herd health plan” to minimize those risks.

LOW STRESS HANDLING METHODS CONTINUE TO EVOLVE

The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program helps to ensure the consumer, the animal, the environment and the beef community are cared for within guidelines and regulation. BQA is a program that provides information to U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers along with beef consumers on how common sense husbandry techniques, like low stress animal handling, can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under the best management and environmental conditions.

HOW ARE ANTIBIOTICS USED IN THE CATTLE RAISING PROCESS?

There has been a great deal of discussion lately about how antibiotics are used in raising livestock. The reality is that farmers and ranchers take antibiotic use in livestock very seriously and continuously evaluate their use based on the best possible science.

Let’s explore the role of the antibiotics in animal care.

  • Antibiotics are used in animal medicine to prevent, treat, or control disease, which is important to animal and human safety.
  • When an animal gets sick, farmers, ranchers and veterinarians carefully evaluate if, and when, to administer antibiotics.
  • Cattle farmers and ranchers believe not treating cattle that become sick is inhumane as part of their ongoing commitment to animal health and welfare. When administering antibiotics, they follow product label directions or the prescription provided by their veterinarian, meaning they adhere to usage guidelines to protect both animals and humans that have been rigorously tested and approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Photo by Hazel Lights Photography.

HOW ARE ANTIBIOTICS GIVEN TO CATTLE?

  • Depending on the circumstance, antibiotics may be given to cattle as individual injections or added to feed or water to treat a larger group that has been exposed to or to prevent illness.

ARE ANTIBIOTICS SAFE?

  • All antibiotics must go through rigorous government scrutiny before being approved for use in livestock.
  • Animal medicine goes through three layers of approval to determine if the medicine is safe for the animal, the environment and the humans who will consume the meat. All three areas must be evaluated before approval from the FDA.
  • Even after they’re approved, antibiotics are continuously monitored and must be re-evaluated annually. The antibiotics will only stay on the market if they continue to be proven safe.
Photo by Sarah King.

HOW ARE RANCHERS WORKING TO USE ANTIBIOTICS RESPONSIBLY?

  • Farmers and ranchers must have authorization from a veterinarian to use antibiotics that are important to human medicine through feed and water and have invested in research and education programs designed to help improve how antibiotics are used.
  • Farmers and ranchers have no reason to overuse antibiotics but rather every reason to use them as selectively as possible. Most importantly, responsible use is the right thing to do but furthermore, antibiotics are a costly input for the small business men and women who raise cattle.
  • Farmers and ranchers worked with veterinarians and developed guidelines for the judicious use of antibiotics through the Beef Quality Assurance program decades ago. The commitment by cattlemen to responsible antibiotic use continues today with BQA educational resources like “Antibiotic Stewardship for Beef Producers” released in 2016.

ARE THERE RESIDUES FROM ANTIBIOTICS IN THE MEAT I EAT?

Beef farmers and ranchers, along with veterinarians, are committed to following guidelines to ensure no meat with antibiotic residue above the FDA tolerance level enters our food supply.

The FDA sets withdrawal times for all veterinary drugs, including antibiotics. Withdrawal time is the amount of time required for the drug to be fully processed by the animal’s body; the withdrawal time depends on the drug but typically ranges from zero to 60 days.

The USDA randomly tests and monitors beef before it gets to you. By law, no meat sold in the U.S. can contain antibiotic residues above the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) set by the FDA to ensure safety.

Preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics is a cause for all of us. Even making sure to finish the full course of antibiotics prescribed to you or to your animals is essential to the fight against antibiotic resistance. To this end, the beef community is committed to further investing in research to better understand how to effectively and appropriately use antibiotics to best protect animal and public health.

Photo by Dave Schafer.

For more information on this topic and many others visit www.BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com.

You Can Always Come Back to the Kitchen: Foodservice Challenges Due to COVID-19

The foodservice industry, an important sector of the beef community, has been drastically affected by COVID-19. Join Jessica Obie, a center of plate specialist with US Foods®, to learn about the challenges and how restaurateurs have pivoted to succeed.

With 15 years of industry experience, Jessica’s career knowledge includes menu creation, food testing, cooking, management, and sales. Jessica is competent in the high demands of the kitchen and builds long-term, productive, and mutually beneficial relationships with customers. In her role, she provides profitable beef, seafood, poultry, and pork solutions for customers. Jessica received a Master of Brand Advantages from Certified Angus Beef.

In 2013, after working 13 years within the confines of restaurant walls, I made the bold decision to go into food sales. Naturally, being terrified about this uncertain, the sky is the limit, fully commission based so-you-better-hustle decision, I consulted my chef mentor (the one who used to make me stutter with fear). Not only did she support the idea of testing a new path, but she also offered the comforting words “you can always come back to the kitchen.”

In the years since, as I rode the roller coaster of success with the sales industry, her words held true and I was always able to rely on my experience in the kitchen to bridge commission paydays, while chasing dreams and keeping my culinary skills sharp.

That was until early spring of 2020. I watched in alarm the shutdown and futuristic uncertainty of the industry that had helped raise me. My fellow restaurant brethren/work families current and past were suddenly out of work, many of them never knowing another path than serving or cooking. For some, their future is still uncertain as they wait for their restaurants/hotels to re-open.

Unfortunately, ‘the new-norm’ may continue to prevent these cooks/servers/chefs/owners from going back to life as they knew it. Those who sat waiting on their heels, thinking life would return to normal will be left behind. But…those who saw this slow down/shut down as a reset button, took the time to stop, evaluate themselves and their business, and those that adapted to the situation, will persevere.

Masks are the new norm but brands are coming up with fun ways to embrace the change.

Social media presence, online ordering and conscientious dining have gained popularity over the last decade, but some still refused to embrace it. As in-room dining closed and “to-go” became the only option, those who had already embraced or even dipped their toes in the pond of these concepts could recover quicker. Those who embraced social media and kept their customers in the loop with updated hours, sanitation methods and ease of ordering are feeling the effect of COVID-19 less than those who didn’t and aren’t. Some are even seeing year over year increases. Now more than ever, social media is playing a vital part in the success of businesses. Adaptability, perseverance and reliance on outside resources are more important than ever. No one can survive this on their own.

As millennials were finally forced to stay at home and, even worse, cook for themselves, they finally realized they could do it. With so many people now working from home, more families have time to cook their own meals and not just grab something on the way home. What does this mean for our restaurants who want to successfully emerge from the other side of this? Their food must be more original, more consistent, and healthier than what I can provide for myself. If they don’t provide a reason why someone should leave their house or open their pandemic-depleted wallet, consumers will order in their groceries and stay put. As more people have time to “Google” nutrition facts, humane practices, sustainability policies, etc., they will only shop/buy from stores and restaurants who share their beliefs.

Jessica getting back to her roots which lay in the kitchen.

Originally ‘gifting’ toilette paper with orders of $50 or more was popular. Now 6 months later, DIY meal kits, speed scratch and tamper evident seals/packaging is most important. With less and less people dining in-house, ghost kitchens (renting space in an industrial kitchen) and multi-concept spaces are popping up and they are all focusing on to-go. Using smarter products and packaging that hold integrity from restaurant to home has become vital. US Foods® offers restaurant operators market and inventory analysis to determine the most financially responsible ‘new’ concepts possible from their current production line.

In the end, I guess Chef Cheryl (previously mentioned fear-instilling mentor) was correct. I did come back to the kitchen, though not as a paid employee. I was fortunate enough to use these months as a reset and get back to my culinary roots. I, as a culinarian, remembered the joy in cooking and used that to spend time with family, neighbors and friends. I, as a millennial, will only order out if it is something fun, exciting or healthier than I can create. And, I, working from home, have more time to research, try and grow my own food. 

We are all in this together, but we all need to learn to adapt and grow.

As an additional educational resource to their customers during these changing times, US Foods has provided weekly webinars (link) to help provide on-going information and learning opportunities to the restaurant community.

Brooke Appetit: Beef Shish Kabobs with Lebanese Rice

Arizona Beef is delighted to welcome Brooke Appetit back to share another delicious recipe. This one is easy, colorful, and delicious. Read on!

“As our Arizona weather is starting to get nicer (maybe a little?) I love to spend my evenings outside grilling!  Marinated shish kabobs are easy to prepare, fast cooking, and perfect for entertaining. We are using Sirloin for this recipe. Sirloin is less expensive and is a great option because of it’s lean but beefy flavor. If you allow it a few more hours in the marinade, you will be sure to have tender and flavorful kabobs! I like to pair the kabobs with a Lebanese rice that is also easy and delicious. Enjoy!” – Brooke Gladden

Beef Shish Kabobs

Ingredients:

¾ cup vegetable oil or olive oil
¾ cup soy sauce
½ cup lemon juice
1/3  cup Worcestershire
¼ cup mustard
¼ cup honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh chopped herbs (I used oregano, basil, rosemary and parsley)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper
1 ½ lbs Top Sirloin*, cut into 1 inch cubes
Vegetables – cut into chunks
16 mushroom caps
1 large red onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash

*Don’t have Top Sirloin? Try these steak swaps for alternate beef cut options that also work well for kabobs.

Method:

1. Whisk the oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire, mustard, honey, garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Pour half into a resealable plastic bag. Add the beef, coat with the marinade and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.

2. A few hours before you are ready to grill add vegetables into a resealable plastic bag and coat with the marinade.

3. Thread pieces of vegetables and beef onto metal skewers.

4. Preheat grill to high heat. You can reduce the heat to medium-high once you put the kabobs on but starting them with a high heat will allow for a nice char. Grill kabobs, turning every 2-3 minutes until all sides have a nice char. I typically grill mine for 8-10 minutes total. Be careful to not overcook the meat. In my opinion, they are best when medium-rare!

Lebanese rice

Ingredients:
1 cup white rice
½ cup vermicelli
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½  tbsp butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups water
½ cup toasted pine nuts, toast in 1 tbsp butter

Method

  1. In a non-stick pot, heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the vermicelli and continuously stir to toast it evenly. Vermicelli should turn a nice golden brown but be careful, it burns quickly.
  3. Once vermicelli is brown add the rice and stir for about 30 seconds.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Add 2 ¼ cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. When the rice is fully cooked, remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
  7. Serve warm with toasted pine nuts on top

About Brooke

Brooke Gladden is a native Arizonian who grew up in a small ex mining town north of Tucson called San Manuel. She attended the University of Arizona graduating with a B.S. in Agriculture Communications.  She currently lives in Palo Verde, AZ with her husband Clint who is a fourth generation farmer at Gladden Farms/ Saddle Mountain Dairy.

She’s a total foodie at heart and normally plans her days around meals. Brooke’s mom (Jacque Phelps) gave her a passion for cooking. She is a wonderful cook who Brooke has had the privilege to learn from while growing up. She says her favorite thing in the world is cooking with my mom.

Check out her website Brooke Appetit for more recipe inspiration and be sure to follow her on Instagram.