May is Beef Month and also the start of the grilling season. Few things go together better than beef and the grill. That may be especially true at a time when a global pandemic has pushed more people away from restaurants and closer to the grill in the backyard.
A study by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association showed that more people are still cooking at home this spring, and they are intending to grill more at home, according to Rochelle Gilman, director of nutrition and health at the Iowa Beef Industry Council.
“You just can’t beat the flavor of grilling,” Gilman says. “And there just isn’t anything better than beef on the grill.”
With that in mind, Gilman offers a few basic pieces of advice for those planning to grill steaks or burgers this summer.
When tossing a steak on the grill, she says, pat the steak dry first for better browning. Let the grill heat up before putting the meat on, and don’t keep flipping the steak or burgers once they go on the grill.
For a steak, it is best to use a meat thermometer. For a steak a half inch or thicker, insert the instant read thermometer in the side, so it penetrates to the thickest part. For medium-rare the steak should hit 145 degrees. That number would be 160 for medium and 170 for well-done. Take it off the grill about 5 degrees before it reaches the desired temperature and then let it rest for five minutes. Letting it rest is important, she says, because cutting into it right away would also let some of the juices escape.
For those who want to grill less expensive cuts of beef, it is worth noting that those cuts are often less tender, so marinating it for six to 24 hours may be a good idea, and slicing those steaks thin may also be useful.
For burgers, she says it may be helpful to put an egg into the mixture to help hold the burger together. And she likes to press a small divot into the center of the burger before grilling to help it heat in the center.
Grilling is easy and there are plenty of opportunities to get creative with beef on the grill, Gilman says.