Fire Up the Grill – Celebrate May Beef Month!

Celebrate the return of seasonal spring temperatures by firing up the grill! May is Beef Month, and the perfect time to enjoy an All-American juicy hamburger or a thick, delicious, mouth-watering steak. A great meal starts with proper food safety and grilling preparations, so today we’re sharing a few tips from the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

Storage and Preparations

Pick up beef just prior to checking out. If it will take longer than 30 minutes to get home, transport beef in an iced cooler to ensure it remains cold. Upon arriving home, refrigerate your meat as soon as possible. Place beef packages on the lowest shelf in your refrigerator on a plate or tray to catch any juices.

To avoid cross-contamination and to prevent foodborne illnesses while preparing food, follow these few guidelines:

  • Wash your hands well in hot, soapy water before and after handling raw meat and other fresh foods.
  • Keep raw meat and meat juices away from other foods, both in the refrigerator and during preparation.
  • Wash all utensils, cutting surfaces and counters with hot, soapy water after contact with raw meat.
  • Keep carving boards separate from other food preparation areas and serving platters.
  • Lastly, take beef directly from the refrigerator to the grill for cooking.


Trim visible fat before grilling to help prevent flare-ups, and grill over medium heat. If the food is grilled over too high heat, the exterior can become overcooked or charred before the interior reaches the desired doneness.

For charcoal grilling, spread charcoal out in single layer once the coals are ash-covered (approximately 30 minutes). Then check cooking temperature by cautiously holding the palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to pull it away; approximately 4 seconds for medium heat. Gas grill brands vary greatly, so grilling times may need to be adjusted.

Determining Proper Doneness

To determine the proper degree of doneness for ground beef, horizontally insert an instant-read thermometer from the side into the center for patties to ensure an internal temperature of 160°F. NOTE: Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.

For steaks that are 1/2 inch or thicker, insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally from the side to penetrate the thickest part or the center of the steak without touching bone or fat. After cooking, let steaks rest before serving to achieve desired degree of doneness, which may range from Medium Rare (145°F), Medium (160°F), and/or Well Done (170°F).

Fire up the grill this weekend! Here are a few recipes to get you started:

For beef recipes and additional inspiration for beef meals, visit

Heat and Sweet Burger


1 pound ground beef

1/8 cup jalepenos, chopped

1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Burger seasoning of your chocie

Raspberry all-fruit spread

Pepperjack cheese, sliced



Combine ground beef, jalepenos and shredded cheese in a bowl.

Season the beef to your liking. I recommend Tony Chacheres cajun seasoning.

Form into patties (1/3 or 1/4 pound, your preference).

Grill to medium-well. Place pepperjack cheese on at the end to melt the cheese over the patty.

Recommended: lightly toast the bun.

Spread raspberry fruit spread on the bun, add the patty.