Halloween Dinner Ideas

It’s the big night full of fun costumes, trick-or-treating, and, most importantly, some family time. We want everyone to have the best night possible, and one way to help guarantee that happens is by leaving the house with a nice full belly! We’ve put together a recipe collection to help you make a healthy meal and do it quickly so you can get back to painting faces, adding accessories, and making sure everyone has their candy bucket ready to go.

Yummy Mummy Beef Pizzas

These quick and easy pizzas feature homemade beef sausage and have a mummy face made of string cheese. Perfect for Halloween night!

Click HERE for the full recipe.

Classic Beef Sloppy Joes

Delicious, quick, easy and FUN! That makes this classic sloppy joe recipes perfect for the big candy night.

For the full recipe, click HERE.

Big Game Fritos® Pie

Because just getting out of the house is hard, here is a recipe you can take on the go. Put the ingredients out on the table buffet style, let everyone add what they want and then head out to go collect candy!

Click HERE for the recipe.

Beef Chili

Depending on where you are, Halloween night can be a chilly one. So warm everyone up from the inside before they head out with this delicious and easy beef chili recipe.

Full recipe HERE.

Four-Way Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

This is an idea for the picky eaters and a way to make everyone happy with one meal. Cook up your beef and offer various ideas to your family. Everyone will walk away with a full belly!

Click HERE for the full recipe.

Beef Jerky Trail Mix

And if getting a meal in before trick-or-treating is just not going to happen, offer this delicious and easy snack full of protein and other nutrients. It’ll keep everyone fueled up for the night and not because of the sugar.

Click HERE for the full recipe.

Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day with these Delicious Recipes!

Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day on September 18th with a few of these great-tasting recipes created just for you by the culinary team over at Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. You will find a recipe for everyone in this collection, from the Lean Mean Cheeseburgers to the Classic Cheeseburger recipe. Check all of these out, and have a great National Cheeseburger Day!

Caribbean Cheeseburgers with Grilled Pineapple

Imagine a taste of the Caribbean as you bite into these burgers with jerk spices, mango and pineapple. You’re gonna love it.

Click HERE for the full recipe.

Bistro Cheeseburgers

Switch up your usual burger toppings with this French bistro-style cheeseburger recipe. Grilled onions and a tasty Dijon-style mustard sauce top these tasty cheeseburgers.

For the full recipe, click HERE.

Classic Beef Cheeseburgers

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

Click HERE for the recipe.

Lean Mean Cheeseburgers

Fulfill your burger cravings with these tasty classic beef burgers with added oats and seasonings.

Full recipe HERE.

Zesty Barbecue Cheeseburgers

Who can resist a juicy Ground Beef burger with extra zip from barbecue sauce?

Click HERE for the full recipe.

Maplewood-Smoked Bacon Beef Burgers

What’s not to love about this recipe? Ground Beef patties are grilled and topped with smoked bacon and cheddar.

Click HERE for the full recipe.

Cheesehead Sliders

Thrill your tailgate crowd with these Wisconsin-inspired winning beer-infused Cheesehead Sliders.

Full recipe HERE.

Top Ten Most-Read Arizona Beef Blog Posts of 2021

It’s the beginning of a new year, full of possibilities, but we can’t just forget about 2021. 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. This year was all about collaboration and that is heavily reflected in this list and all the partners it took to get here. We also visited with ranchers from across the state to bring you more information on how beef is raised, along with delicious beef recipes, and more! Enjoy!

10th Most Read Blog Post

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

A delicious partnership between Arizona Beef and Brad Prose of Chiles and Smoke to celebrate National Beef Burger Day. The holiday may have passed but that doesn’t make this recipe any less delicious! Try it out today if you haven’t already.

9th Most Read Blog Post

Arizona Cattleman Awarded for Commitment to Excellence 

This was an article written by Morgan Boecker for Certified Angus Beef to recognize their award winner, Arizona rancher Ross Humphreys of the San Rafael Cattle Company. Another thanks to CAB for allowing us to reshare this write-up.

8th Most Read Blog Post

Advocating in Our Own Way

This summer we were 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.

7th Most Read Blog Post

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.

6th Most Read Blog Post

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.

5th Most Read Blog Post

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.

4th Most Read Blog Post

Beef and Dairy Farmers are Committed to the Environment

This was a blog written by Arizona dairyman and Arizona Beef Council board member, Clint Gladden where he covers beef, dairy and sustainability.

3rd Most Read Blog Post

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.

2nd Most Read Blog Post

Meet Your Ranchers: The Layton Family (Rokelle Reeve)

A question and answer blog post with the Layton family who ranch and raise cattle on the Arizona Strip. Read this post to learn about how this family is committed to always improving how they care for their cattle and the land they use.

The Most Read Blog Post of 2021

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 Cattleman Awarded for Commitment to Excellence 

By Morgan Boecker

Enjoy this write up from Certified Angus Beef (CAB) of Arizona rancher Ross Humphreys who was recently given the Commitment to Excellence award from CAB. Special thank you to Morgan Boecker and CAB for allowing us to reshare their work here.


Ross Humphreys walks like a cowboy and talks like one, too. His adept gaits tells of many days in and out of the saddle on his ranch just south of Patagonia, Ariz.

He wears many hats, but his black felt wide brim fits most naturally, shading him from the sun at San Rafael Cattle Company. Off the ranch, you can find him in Tucson managing stocks and his publishing company. 

Grit in every venture makes him a successful businessman, and his unrattled spirit makes the best of challenges. However, it’s his relentless drive for raising high-quality beef that earned him the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) 2021 Commercial Commitment to Excellence Award.  

A different background  

Humphreys grew up an army brat, frequently moving throughout his childhood. He earned a degree in chemistry and worked as a metallurgical engineer for a bit before going back to school for a Master of Business Administration. That sent him on a new route.  

He’s held a lot of job titles in his 72 years, from strategic business advisor to book publisher and CEO of multiple companies, just to name a few.  

In 1999 at 50-years-old, never having owned cattle or managed a ranch, he bought San Rafael Cattle Company. Admittedly, he took an unusual path to the cattle business.  

“I stood on one of the hills with my older daughter and said, ‘Anybody could run a cow on this place because you can see her wherever she is,’” he says. “So that’s how we got started.” 

Consistent little changes 

With no agricultural background, Humphreys went straight to the University of Arizona and bought a Ranching 101 textbook.  

Always curious, his questions led to new acquaintances, and Mark Gardiner, of Gardiner Angus Ranch in Kansas, became his teacher and connector.  

“I’ve hardly ever spent any physical time with Gardiners,” Humphreys admits, “But if I called them up, they’d spend two hours on the phone with me answering questions.”  

Humphreys leaned on good information and sound science. No ranch decision is made without running some math and looking at a spreadsheet.  

By genetic testing his herd, he saw steady progress by buying a little better bull than the year before. He focuses his selection to ensure balanced cows that can raise replacement females and a calf crop that produces the best beef. 

Humphreys confirms his plan works with results at the feedyard. Loads of his fed cattle have improved from 20% Prime in 2013 to 95% CAB or higher, including nearly 85% Prime today. 

“My goal is to try to produce the best carcass I can,” he says. “So, I keep trying to nudge up my cow herd so that the calves will be even better the next time.” 

Preserving today for tomorrow 

Conservation is as much part of the San Rafael story as the cattle. Named after the San Rafael Valley, the ranch is nestled in Arizona’s high desert country bordering Mexico. It’s the north end of a rich ecological site that looks like the Great Plains and is home to various plants and animals, many on the endangered species list.  

“Ninety-five percent of this ranch is perennial native grasses,” Humphreys says. “We are the last shortgrass prairie in Arizona.” 

Collaboration with conservation groups ensures the ranching operation, endangered wildlife and habitat are protected from housing or industrial development. The easements with Arizona State Parks and the Nature Conservancy led to work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  

The most important habitats on the ranch are water sources, including the Santa Cruz River, several springs and stock tanks. The endangered Sonoran Tiger Salamander is only found in stock tanks in the San Rafael Valley. Humphreys developed water sources with support from NRCS grants, creating a mutual benefit for the cattle and wildlife.  

  

Looking ahead 

Environmental investment is key to Humphreys’ long-term goal of sustaining the land.  

Even with intensive management, the land still needs water and the current Southwestern drought continues to challenge his resources. As a result, Humphreys sold roughly 65% of his cow herd this year. 

Unsure if he will ever get back to pre-drought herd numbers, he remains committed to this final career as a rancher.  

“I want to come home to a beautiful place,” he says. “I started doing this when I was 50, but I like the work. I like the cows.”  

Ever the student, he meets each new challenge with a thirst for knowledge, determined to sustain, and focused on raising the best, one step at a time.  

How Agricultural Education & the FFA Support the Agriculture Community

This summer were thrilled to have Kailee Zimmerman as our summer intern. A past Arizona Beef Ambassador and Arizona FFA State Officer, Kailee shares about her FFA experience, and how important FFA is for the agriculture community.


We each probably have a few key childhood memories that stick out. Maybe these memories consist of visiting a favorite place, spending time with family, or experiencing new things. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of playing in my dad’s agriculture classroom during evening FFA chapter meetings and going to the county fair to watch his students show their animals. I can remember how kind the students were to me and I remember how much fun it was to sit in the bleachers and watch the “big kids” show. Family gatherings were also always filled with my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents sharing story upon story of their time as FFA members and all of the fun memories they had. From a very young age, I began a countdown to the day when I could be an FFA member and have a blue corduroy jacket of my own.

The National FFA Organization is the largest youth leadership organization in the country with over 735,000 members across all 50 states and over 10,000 FFA members here in Arizona. More than anything, I wanted to be one of these students!


When the time came for me to enter high school and finally have the opportunity to be an FFA member, I was faced with one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make. I was going to a school that I loved, but it did not have an FFA chapter. I had to decide if I would stay at my school and miss out on FFA or move schools to one with an agriculture program. After lots of consideration and talking to many people, another option was presented! With the help of our principal, my school was able to get an FFA chapter chartered in 2016 when I was a sophomore. This decision and the forethought of my principal truly changed the course of my life.

The first photo of the Trivium FFA Chapter


Because I attended a small charter high school that focused on classical education, my experience in ag class did not look like I had always imagined it would. We did not have a big facility with a large greenhouse, I was the only student in my chapter that had grown up around livestock, and many of my friends had never even heard about the FFA until they joined ag class. Looking back, I am very grateful that my experience was different than I expected it to be because it allowed me to have a unique perspective on the importance of agricultural education.

My parents and me at the Trivium FFA senior banquet.


Most people entered the class having no idea where their food came from and some even had some negative views about agriculture as a whole. However, these were the students that soaked up the lessons and gained the most out of their experience as an FFA member and an agricultural education student. I learned that there is no “one-size-fits-all” description of who should be involved in agriculture and who should be telling our story. We need everyone – no matter their background – to spread the truth about agriculture and to be better consumers. I believe that agricultural education and the FFA play a major role in doing that. My time as a member of the Trivium FFA chapter taught me that everyone has a place in advocating and working in agriculture, we just simply have to help them find it.

My Arizona FFA State Officer team.

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. 

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.

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!

The Beef Lifecycle

The journey of raising beef is among the most complex of any food. Due in part to their changing nutritional needs throughout their lifetime, beef cattle often times will change hands and ownership up to three or four times, over the course of one and a half to three years, as they move through their various life stages.

Across this process, however, one important thing remains constant – and that’s the beef community’s shared commitment to raising cattle in a safe, humane and environmentally sustainable way. Working together, each segment of the beef lifecycle aims to make the best use of vital natural resources like land, water and energy – not just for today, but also for the future. The result is a delicious and nutritious food you can feel good about serving your family and friends.

Let’s explore how beef gets from pasture to plate in Arizona.

Ranch:

Raising beef begins with ranchers who maintain a herd of cows that give birth to calves once a year. When a calf is born, it typically weighs 60 to 100 pounds. Over the next few months, each calf will live off its mother’s milk and graze on forages from the rangeland. Ranches in Arizona are typically large in land area because of our dry, arid climate. Ranchers are committed to caring for their animals and the land on which they are raised.

Photo by Roxanne Knight.

Weaning:

Calves are weaned from their mother’s milk at 6 to 10 months of age when they weigh between 450 and 700 pounds. This can be done several ways with one option called fence line weaning. This means the cows are on one side of the fence and the mother cows are on the other side. They aren’t able to nurse but can still be closer to the cow, making it a less stressful situation. These calves continue to graze on pastures and may begin receiving a small amount of supplemental plant-based feed for extra energy and protein to help them grow and thrive.

Stocking and Backgrounders:

After weaning, cattle continue to grow and thrive by grazing on grass, forage and other plants with ranchers providing supplemental feed including vitamins and minerals to meet all of their nutritional needs.

Photo courtesy of Willcox Livestock Auction.

Livestock Auction Markets:

After weaning and/or during the stocker and backgrounder phase, cattle may be sold at livestock auction markets.

Photo by Anna Aja.

Feedyard:

Mature cattle are often moved to feedyards. Here cattle typically spend 4 to 6 months. They are free to graze at feed bunks containing a carefully balanced diet made up of roughage (such as hay and grass), grain (such as corn, wheat and soybean meal) and local renewable feed sources. Veterinarians, nutritionists and pen riders work together to provide individual care for each animal.

Learn more about animal safety and care at the feedyard.

PACKING PLANT:

Once cattle reach market weight (typically 1,200 to 1,400 pounds at 18 to 22 months of age), they are sent to a packing plant (also called a processing facility). United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors oversee the implementation of safety, animal welfare and quality standards from the time animals enter the plant until the final beef products are shipped to grocery stores and restaurants.

Arizona beef lifecycle with Arizona rancher, Dean Fish.