Put the Sizzle in Summer with Beef: Select the Cut That’s Right for You

Michelle Baumhover talked about different cuts of beef while grilling steaks during a Latham Seeds / WHO Radio Crop Tour Stop earlier this month.

Guest blog by Michelle Baumhover, Director of Consumer Marketing, Iowa Beef Industry Council

Grilling season is upon us, and there is no better place to enjoy a great steak than in Iowa!  Iowa’s cattlemen are committed to providing wholesome, safe and delicious beef. With abundant feed, rolling hills and green pastures, Iowa is one of the premier beef-producing states in the country.

Beef puts the sizzle in summer by delivering great taste and nutrition.  There are 29 lean cuts of beef each packed with 10 essential nutrients making beef one powerful protein.  With so many lean cuts available – like traditional favorites such as T-Bone, Sirloin and Strip Steak – you may wonder how to choose which is best for you.

Learn about all the great beef options available from a Web tool called the Interactive Meat Case.  Visit the homepage of IaBeef.org to learn more about the variety of nutritious and satisfying beef cuts, including cut descriptions, recipes and cooking tips.

Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy beef and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 — follow these grilling basics for great beef every time!

Step 1: Prepare gas or charcoal grill according to manufacturer’s directions for medium heat.

Quick tip:  To estimate medium heat, cautiously hold the palm of your hand, at cooking height over the grill surface.   Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position; approximately 3 seconds is medium


Step 2: Remove beef from refrigerator and season with herbs or spices as desired. Place on cooking grid.

Quick tip:  Marinades tenderize less tender and less expensive cuts of beef.  Always marinate in the refrigerator.  Less tender beef cuts from the round, flank and skirt should be marinated at least 6 hours – but no more than 24 hours – in a mixture containing an acidic ingredient or a natural tenderizing enzyme such as lime juice, Italian dressing or wine.

Step 3: Grill, turning occasionally to desired doneness. After cooking, season beef with salt, if desired.

Shannon Latham and WHO Radio’s Bob Quinn enjoyed taking part in the Iowa Burger Tour. They gave a “thumbs up” to the Gunder burger from the Irish Shanty in Gunder, Iowa.

Shannon Latham and WHO Radio’s Bob Quinn enjoyed taking part in the Iowa Burger Tour. They gave a “thumbs up” to the Gunder burger from the Irish Shanty in Gunder, Iowa.

Quick tip:  Use long-handled tongs for turning steaks; a fork will pierce the beef causing loss of flavorful juices.

Quick tip:  The best way to determine doneness is to use an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted horizontally from the side to penetrate the center of the meat.  Allow 10 to 15 seconds for the thermometer to register the internal temperature.

  • Aim for a reading between 145°F (medium rare) to 160°F (medium), which are the ideal temperatures for tender, juicy steaks
  • To avoid over cooking, remove steaks from grill when thermometer registers 10? below desired temperature as the steak will continue cooking when removed from the heat. After removal from grill allow steaks to ‘rest’ for several minutes before slicing.
  • Time guidelines are available relative to beef cut and thickness.  Click here to view the chart.

Producer-directed and consumer-focused, the Iowa Beef Industry Council is funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff.  Checkoff dollars are invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand.  For more information, visit www.iabeef.org.