What’s more Arizona than a cheeseburger topped with beef chorizo and grilled nopales? We can’t think of much. Brad, Phoenix-based master BBQ chef of Chiles and Smoke, is bringing us another delicious recipe and this time it’s to highlight National Beef Burger Day. Check out his blog here and be sure to bookmark or save this page for future use. Brad’s helpful step-by-step tutorial video is at the end of the recipe.
Beef and Chorizo Burger
Author: Brad Prose
Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 10
Total Time: 20
Yield: 2–3 1x
Arizona inspires this beef and chorizo burger, topped with charred nopales, creamy muenster cheese, and refreshing cilantro crema.
Mix the ingredients together for the crema. Season and adjust. Keep in the fridge until needed.
Preheat the heating surface to medium-high heat. If using a flat top or griddle, set up a 2-zone area with the second side at low.
Lightly salt and sear the nopales for 3-4 minutes per side until lightly charred. Flip as needed. When cooked, remove from heat and slice into thin strips.
Cook the chorizo. Stir frequently, making sure it crisps but doesn’t burn. Right before it’s finished, stir in the nopales to mix together. Remove from heat. If using a flat top or griddle, move to the cooler side.
Toast the buns. We have that delicious chorizo fat for a reason.
Mix the salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder together. Season one side of the beef burger and sear it on the griddle, face down. Season the top of the burger. Allow it to crisp up on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Flip when you have a nice crust and continue to cook until patty reaches 160°F as measured by a meat thermometer.
Divide the chorizo and cactus into small piles to go onto the burger. Place a slice of the muenster cheese on each pile. The cheese will melt, holding everything together. Slide this pile on top of the burger and continue to cook until the preferred temperature.
Build your buns with the crema, and then the burger and toppings.
Brad recommends using a lighter bun, such as brioche or white bread. The burger and toppings are heavier and rich so you want to make sure the bun isn’t as well.
Living in Arizona gives us certain advantages over other states and one of the most important ones is the fact that grilling season lasts all year long! But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something extra special about gathering in the back yard on a warm summer evening as burgers, steaks, and hot dogs sizzle on the grill, the sounds of chatting and play drape across the grass, and a cold drink perspires in your hand. So even though we are blessed with the ability to fire up the grill year-round, let’s celebrate the official start of grilling season with some of our favorite beef burger recipes and cooking tips.
Check out the list below of our favorite beef burger recipes. Click on the title of each for the full recipe.
Because grilling season just isn’t grilling season without a grill, here is a link to all the grilling tips you could want and need. This will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to ensure success with all of your guests’ taste buds.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are lot of tips and tricks out there so we wanted to compile them into one page for your ease. We know the holidays are stressful and we want to help take a little bit of pressure off. These tips will cover things from food safety and help with your Prime Rib Roast, to ideas for before and after the big holiday meal. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and can’t wait to chat with you in a great New Year!
Prime Rib Roast Tips:
Check out our Simple and Easy Prime Rib Roast Recipe by clicking here.
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.” (tip from our executive director Lauren)
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? You could use plan on ½ pound per person (uncooked weight) as a guide.
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” fresh 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.
Best Brunch Recipes: It might be the morning or the day after Christmas, but you and your family are still going to be hungry. This link takes you to a collection of easy-to-prepare brunch recipes that are a delicious way to keep everyone content.
Holiday Appetizers: Be warned – once you serve these bad boys you’ll be on appetizer duty for life. From handheld cocktail hour bites to low-key yet festive pre-dinner snacks, these are sure to please.
Creating the Atmosphere:
While you’re sitting down to enjoy your Prime Rib Roast on Christmas Day, have the Beef Drool Log playing in the background to set the ambiance.
This special beef dinner isn’t complete without a bold red wine pairing! A robust cabernet, like Louis M. Martini’s Sonoma County Cabernet, pairs perfectly with beef, and to make holiday shopping easy, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. and Louis M. Martini partnered to offer a $15 rebate. Just buy two bottles of Louis M. Martini wine and a Prime Rib Roast and at your local grocery store in states where legal.
If putting a Prime Rib Roast at the center of the dinner table isn’t enough holiday cheer for you, be sure to check out the latest spin on the Beef Drool Log, “’Twas The Night Before Beefmas,” which features a beefy Christmas Eve tale inspired by a true love of beef.
That is a lot of tips, but just in case we missed one or you need even more check out Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. All these tips and more can be found here.
The weather forecast is showing cooler temperatures across Arizona in the coming days so now is the perfect time to brush up on your stewing skills. There’s nothing better than a warm, hearty meal after a cold day. Can you say “comfort food?” On top of the good vibes stewing brings, it’s also a fairly simple skill to learn. This is a slow-cooking method, similar to braising, with the key difference being the beef is covered in liquid. Stewing is best done in a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven on the stovetop or in the oven, or in a slow-cooker. Check out the lesson below and be sure to visit Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. for recipes and more cooking lessons.
CUT AND DREDGE
If you’re using pre-packaged (or cutting your own) chunks, make sure they’re not too small to prevent overcooking. Aim for cubes about the size of a golf ball. Many stew recipes call for dredging the beef in seasoned flour before browning.
BROWN THE BEEF
Heat a drizzle of oil in the pan over medium heat and brown the meat on all sides, and drain (unless your recipe says to leave the drippings). You may need to work in batches if using a smaller pan. If you’re using a slow cooker, transfer it over.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
Depending on your recipe, now’s the time to add seasonings, vegetables and liquid — such as beef broth, wine, beer, juice or even water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
SIMMER AND STEW
Follow your recipe for timing guidelines. Don’t lift the lid — unless your recipe calls for adding vegetables or other ingredients later on. You’ll know it’s done when the beef is fork-tender.
Need some recipe inspiration? Check these out to use your new stewing skills.
The setting sun over rugged, mountainous terrain, with a cowboy’s silhouette to finish the image is what many people visualize when they hear someone’s profession is a “rancher.” While that image may be true, ranching and raising beef is also a business. Just like running a grocery store, marketing firm, or other entities, successful ranchers follow the same rules. Raising beef involves a living animal and a lot of heart, but it is still a business.
Emmett and Lori Sturgill are ranchers who have built cattle raising businesses with the end goal of producing delicious, high-quality, and nutritious beef. Now, just because one of their goals is to make a profit, does not mean that they lack the passion for their work. They are lucky because this business is built on the work they love.
Emmett, retired law enforcement, comes from a long line of ranchers. His dad was a traditional cowboy and moved from cow camp to cow camp as the jobs came available. Lori, formally a successful real estate broker, comes from a farming background but animals were always a part of her life. Together, over the past 10 years, they have worked to build a successful ranching business. Purchasing the main ranch is a story about a good friend helping another good friend. That story ends many years later with Emmett purchasing the ranch from his good friends, the Neals, and their longtime friendship is just an added blessing. Emmett strongly believes he is where he is today because other people helped him get here.
Lori, who sights fellow Arizona rancher Chuck Backus and his educational cattle symposiums as a source of their success, helped turn their cattle business around. Emmett admits that before she came along, his ranch was what he called a “cowboy ranch” meaning he had a variety of breeds and the main goal was producing a calf each year from each cow. Lori came in, found a way to focus their efforts, and has helped to gradually shift the ranch to producing high-quality Angus beef for both the local, national and international markets.
Lori, having a previous career in real estate, knows business. She knows what is required to succeed and it means time, persistence, and paperwork. The Sturgills worked to mitigate risk by diversifying their cattle. They primarily raise Angus cows which are bred to registered bulls, mostly Red Angus, each year. The calves produced from this part of the ranch are considered “program cattle.” The Sturgill’s ranch and cattle are 3rd party verified through an audit process which ensures the cattle meet certain criteria to sell in various markets, are given certain vaccinations at specific times, are fed qualified feed at weaning, and weaned no less than 45 days. There are many other criteria that the Sturgills and their cattle meet to address the growing concerns of consumers today and be able to ship overseas to other countries. The cattle that are raised in this program enter the traditional beef lifecycle also referred to as the commercial market.
The Sturgills also keep a limited number of animals for use in their local community, providing natural beef to consumers. These animals are grass-fed and fill the demand of people looking to purchase directly from a rancher in and around Kingman, Arizona. There are many challenges with this business including limited processing facilities and the amount of time it takes to raise an animal to harvesting weight, but Lori finds this an integral part of the business, even now.
Finally, they also raise Corriente (another breed of cattle) steers for the sport of team roping. These animals are typically smaller in size with horns making them ideal for roping. These steers follow the same vaccination and health protocols as the rest of the herd to ensure longevity and wellness. This has provided customers with a healthy animal who can preform longer and thus led to many repeat customers.
On their ranches, Lori and Emmett are adamant about excellent cattle care. Their animals are all vaccinated and follow health protocol which were developed in conjunction with their veterinarian and also through their learnings from seminars like Beef Quality Assurance and other educational events. They also practice low stress cattle handling. This is a way of working with the animal’s flight zone to move them where you need them to go causing less stress on both the human doing the work and the animal. The goal with both priorities is to keep stress to a minimum to allow the animal to grow to its full potential. Lori also invented a unique way to deal with pests. Dairies often have rollers that scratch the animals’ backs, so Lori bought some of those but has taken them up a notch – adding fly and pest repellent. Not only is there not a fly in sight, but it is also one more way to reduce stress. No all-day flicking of the tail for these girls and boys!
Lori is proudly a self-proclaimed environmentalist, as most ranchers are. Her focus is on the care of their livestock and on the wildlife that coinhabits the range lands their cattle graze. It is tough to care for livestock and the land and not be concerned about the environment in which they live. She is a firm believer in balance to ensure the longevity of a ranch. She has begun to start planting trees at all of the watering areas to help keep the water cool for both her cattle and wildlife. This also keeps the drinkers (water troughs) cleaner as red algae doesn’t have the sun it needs to flourish when shade is present. The ranch is also part of many conservation programs, including increasing the population of pronghorn antelopes and working towards a reseeding program in the valley pasture on the ranch to reintroduce native grasses. The ranch management plan also includes proper rotation of the pastures to maintain the forage conditions with regular monitoring from the University of Arizona.
Lori and Emmett are firm believers that cattle take care of you if you take care of the cattle. The love the Sturgills have for their cattle, the land, and the people who buy their beef is evident in many ways. As we wrapped up our visit by the horse pens, with Lori scratching on one of her favorite colts, another family pulled in for a visit. Community is important and both Lori and Emmett embrace and nourish the relationships they have with fellow ranchers and town people, alike. Ultimately, this is a business, and a successful one at that, but it’s a business with heart.
If you have followed the Arizona Beef blog for a while, then you already know the commitment and care given to cattle raised in Arizona. Ranching families across the state work every day to ensure their cattle have fresh clean water, nutritious feed, and live in a low-stress environment. This attention to care ensures these animals produce delicious and nutritious beef for the families of these ranchers and for your family, too. Arizona dairies are no different. With most dairy farms owned by families, they are also committed to the care and comfort of their cattle. Not only do they focus on producing nutritious milk, but also on providing quality beef.
Wes Kerr, of Kerr Family Dairy, shares, “The two biggest products that we produce on our farm are milk and meat. We want those products to be high-quality, wholesome nutrition that feeds families. The goal for each and every one of my cows is to lead a long, healthy life on my farm. For each of my cows, my goal is for them to eventually become beef. It is an important part of our business that allows us to get value back from our animals helping us to stay a viable business.”
Another contribution from the dairy community to beef is the raising of the male calves, which are castrated and called steers that are raised to provide high-quality beef. The male calves are raised on a calf ranch and then at a feedyard (to learn more about these feedyards check out this blog and this one). At the feed yard, these animals are fed a mixed diet formulated by a cattle nutritionist, monitored for health with supervision from a cattle veterinarian, given access to fresh, clean water, and are able to move around freely in their pens. When harvested, the cattle provide high-quality , steaks, roasts, ground beef.
Together, beef ranchers and dairy farmers strive to provide all with nutritious and wholesome beef and dairy products. To learn more about the diary community visit Arizona Milk Producers.
Near Kingman, Arizona is the Cane Spring Ranch, owned by ranchers and everyday environmentalists Anita Waite and Sherwood Koehn. As with most ranchers, caring for the land on which Anita and Sherwood raise their cattle is of the utmost importance, and Anita’s passion for the land’s natural resources and wildlife was evident as we toured the vast mountains and valleys of this northern Arizona ranch.
Encompassing 70,000 acres, the ranch is comprised of private, state and federal pieces that make up the whole. In Arizona, and in much of the West, it is common that one ranch might include private (deeded) land and long-term leases of land owned by the different state and federal public land agencies. Anita believes that cooperation and working closely with the various governmental agencies and others, including the Arizona Game and Fish Department, is the best way to manage their ranch. Connections and relationships help ensure the area is used correctly and is available for future generations to enjoy.
The ranch is managed using a grazing pattern, which calls for cattle to be moved to one of four different pastures throughout the year. One pasture is always left empty to rest, much like when a person rests to feel rejuvenated and reinvigorated. The same goes for grasses and forages, allowing recharge and re-growth. This also allows for flexibility in having a “spare” pasture in case of drought or other cattle market issues. This resting pasture can hold their cattle for some time to get through until conditions level out.
Cattle have a preference for what they would like to eat. If they are given access to their favorite forage for an extended period, they will eat all of what they like the most and then move on to their next favorite. By rotating pastures and ensuring the pasture is not overgrazed, the ranch can guarantee the variety of forage remains the same or even increases. Various agencies and institutions have recognized Cane Spring Ranch for its wide range of grasses and forage due to the range management practices. The Arizona Botanical Society has made many visits to the ranch and has identified 28 different types of grass. Another factor in the variety of forage is the various elevations of the ranch, which goes from 3,000 to 7,000 feet. The mountain pasture holds an abundance of Pinion pines and the southern pastures at lower elevations have more seasonal forages.
Water development and improvement are a massive part of the success of this ranch. “If you build it, they will come” is a line from a famous baseball movie, and it also holds for water sources: where there is water, cattle and wildlife will go. Cane Spring Ranch had many wells drilled after Anita and Sherwood took ownership in 1993. Drilling wells at various locations around the ranch ensure cattle will travel to many areas to get water, which leads to their grazing patterns being varied. Cattle grazing in the same spot for an extended period of time is not good for the forage, so having water sources spaced out is beneficial for both the cattle and the land. Water sources are spaced out every two to three miles across the entirety of the ranch. The decision for each water source’s location was collaboration between Anita, Sherwood, the Arizona State Land Department, Arizona Game and Fish, and the United States’ Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Exceptionally diverse, wildlife is an integral component of the Cane Spring Ranch. Mountain lions, deer, javelina, bobcats, black bears, badgers, rabbits, ravens, red-tailed hawks, desert tortoises, and more flourish on the ranch. While the wildlife and cattle mostly pose a symbiotic relationship, there is a need to keep predator and prey populations in balance. Hunting is another component of the ranch management and licensed hunters have access to almost all 70,000 acres. Working with the hunters who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle allows for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Not only do conservation efforts at the ranch find priority in Anita’s life, but she also expands her knowledge and works with fellow ranchers and agency personnel, serving as chairwoman of the Big Sandy Natural Resources Conservation District (NRCD). The NRCD’s were initially formed during the Dustbowl when there was a need to introduce new agricultural processes. Local groups were developed, such as the Big Sandy NRCD, with locally elected officials who would help disseminate information on how to manage ranches and farms in a better way and get funding to put in beneficial projects. A unique trait of the NRCD’s is their ability to do work across all types of land – BLM, state land, and private.
One of the Big Sandy NRCD’s current goals is to increase water augmentation in the surrounding area. Water augmentation means getting water underground to build up the water table, which can be accomplished by slowing the flow of water, giving it more time to seep into the ground, and allowing for less evaporation. If this is achieved, it could put more water in the Colorado River. This is a huge undertaking and involves many agencies, including, Mohave County, Arizona Game and Fish, US Fish and Wildlife, Arizona State Land Trust, the National Resource Conservation Services, and the University of Arizona. While this project will be extremely beneficial to more than just ranchers in this area, the more significant point of this story is what can be accomplished through collaboration and cooperation.
Anita and the Cane Spring Ranch have been the recipients of many awards, acknowledging the conservation efforts, including the Arizona Conservation District Zone 3 – Conservation Rancher of the Year 2000, Arizona Conservation District Zone 5 – Conservation Rancher of the Year 2000, Bureau of Land Management – Recognition for Cane Spring Ranch Land Exchange 2001, Society of Range Management – Range Manager of the Year 2008, Society of Range Management Certificate of Excellence in Range Management in 2010, and Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Habitat Steward of the Year 2013.
When asked why so much time and effort are put in, Anita answers, “We love the land. We bought the ranch because we fell in love with it and want to do the best possible. And that was always our goal from the day of buying it. We love the cattle, of course, but our focus has been on the land. It comes from our life experiences. You take care of the land, and the land will take care of you.”
The sound of the seasoned auctioneer echoes through the sale barn welcoming the hustle, bustle, and anticipation that comes with sale day. Cattlemen and women watch the sale ring intently as their cattle get sold, or they might be there to buy cattle. Either way, they are most likely sipping on a freshly brewed cup of coffee and visiting fellow ranchers on their “trip to town.”
Ranchers work year-round to raise healthy cattle to produce delicious, nutritious, and safe beef for us to eat. The lifecycle of a beef animal includes several phases (check out this blog post on the beef lifecycle), starting with the rancher whose cows raise a calf each year. Once that calf is old enough, it is weaned from the cow and then sold. The livestock auction is a tried and true way to sell one’s calves. It is a place of camaraderie, jovial interactions with friends and family, and, of course, a little business mixed in. In a sense, it’s like a community center for ranchers.
The Willcox Livestock Auction barn, owned and operated by Sonny and Barbara Kay Shores, is a true family business and that is quickly felt upon walking through the door. Not only do Sonny and Barbara Kay work and run the sale barn, but all their children and their children’s significant others also work or have worked there, and pitch in if more help is needed. This is the kind of place Sonny and Barbara Kay’s grandchildren beg their parents to take them. Lots of activity, friendly people, and wholesome fun are had by the children and adults alike. The sale barn history is lengthy, with this being the oldest sale barn in the state of Arizona. Sonny’s father started as an auctioneer at his father’s (Sonny’s grandfather) sale barn in New Mexico in the 1960s. In the 1970s Sonny’s father came over to Willcox, purchased the Willcox Livestock Auction barn, and continued on the work he was raised to do. Sonny, having grown up in this world, has always known the sale barn life. When he turned eighteen, it just made sense that he continued and bought in on the business too, making him the third generation of sale barn owners and operators.
The sale barn owner’s job is both incredibly complex and eventful, with some stress mixed in. They are the middlemen in layman’s terms between ranchers and the buyers of their cattle, helping to sell their customers’ cattle at the best price possible. They also must take care of the buyer to bring them back year after year. The Shores stand by supporting the beef community in their area because, as they share, it is a matter of good business and just what you do as a good neighbor.
While Barbara Kay holds down the office and all of its particulars, Sonny is most often found talking on his cell phone in the cattle pens. But don’t think that makes him unapproachable. With his open and calm demeanor, he somehow makes a person feel like he has all the time in the world when, in fact, he has many pressing issues to address. He answers his phone for any call and often gets questions from ranchers about the current cattle market and whether it is a good time to bring cattle in to sell. Sonny stays up on the current cattle market and its prices, but he also has to stay up to date with cattle and beef trends, and other goings-on in the beef community. All of these are important to his business and the business of the people he works with at the sale barn.
The Shores family has always looked to the future and continues to find ways to help their local community. Sonny’s father started a bull sale many years ago to support the local ranchers in purchasing good genetics for their herds and to stay up to date with trends and what the consumer was looking for in their beef. This bull sale, and the many that have happened since its inauguration, bring bulls in from all over the country, which would otherwise have been a challenge for local ranchers to purchase. With the help of this sale, ranchers from the surrounding area have increased access to cattle genetics to raise a healthy, well-marbled beef product.
Staying on top of the new technological innovations is integral to the auction business. Buyers can either purchase cattle in-person at the sale barn, or they can buy cattle online. Online sales are good for sellers and buyers as the market is expanded to those who can tune in, especially when people are not able to travel as quickly. Social media is also in use at the Willcox Livestock Auction in the form of a Facebook page. Sonny was hesitant for a long time, but with some coaxing from his daughter, Kayla, he has found it to be a huge asset.
They are tech-savvy in the online world, but they also work hard to keep the physical sale barn up to date. A new scale to weigh cattle right in front of the buyers was recently installed. This helped increase purchases from buyers who need to know the weight of the animals before purchase and allowed online bidders to have more information before buying.
Sonny’s role is to protect and support the job of the rancher. The auction barn works hard to get the best price for the cattle brought here. This is accomplished by expert sorting and putting cattle together as a package to help the rancher earn a fair price. Some buyers might be taking cattle to a feed yard and need to fill a pen, so if Sonny can put together that package of livestock, it makes it easier for the buyer and allows a higher price for every animal in the group.
Spend any time around Sonny and his family, and it becomes blatantly evident that his desire to support ranchers runs far deeper than just the brick and mortar sale barn. The Shores family, much like other ranching families, have a deep passion for this lifestyle and want to see it carry on for generations to come. They care about their neighbors and want to help, as any good neighbor should.
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.
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.
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.
Livestock Auction Markets:
After weaning and/or during the stocker and backgrounder phase, cattle may be sold at livestock auction markets.
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.
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.