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Summer grilling

By Staff | May 5, 2017

-Photo by Iowa Beef Industry Council Make a rub from thyme, oregano, lemon and garlic for big flavor on strip steak.

Grilling is a great way to enjoy fresh, flavorful foods, including beef. Whether cooking on a gas or charcoal grill, in the backyard or at a tailgate, grilling helps prepare nutrient-rich beef with maximum taste and optimal tenderness. Grilling is a method of dry heat cookery that requires little or no added fat.

It’s time to fire up the grill and we’ve got just what you’re looking for. Whether you want a classic burger or a spice-rubbed steak with a side of grilled fruit, this collection won’t disappoint.

Patience pays off

Turn beef one to two times for even cooking and browning. Use a spatula to turn burgers and tongs to turn steaks and kabobs.

Do not press, flatten or pierce the meat – flavorful juices will be lost.

Burger tips

When grilling burgers, use 4 – 6 ounces of ground beef, and loosely form each patty. Use your thumb to insert a well into the center of the patty. This will help the burgers cook evenly. Do not press down on the patties while cooking as this will result in the loss of juices and a dry burgers.

Burgers should be cooked to a safe and savory 160 degrees.

Steak tips

Remove the steak from the grill 10 degrees before your desired degree of doneness, and tent loosely with foil. Allow the steak to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving to allow the steak to finish cooking and the absorption of juices.

When cutting steak, slice across the grain to increase tenderness.

When to stick a fork in it

When grilling beef, use a meat thermometer to determine doneness so your beef is cooked exactly how you want it.

Beef’s tender, juicy texture is optimum when cooked to medium rare (145 degrees) to medium(160 degrees) doneness. Cook burgers to medium (160 degrees) doneness, until no longer pink in the center and juices show no pink color. Overcooking is not recommended. Here’s how to determine doneness:

  • Insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the side of burgers and steaks to check doneness.
  • Place the thermometer in the thickest part or center of the burger or steak. For steaks, the thermometer should not touch bone, fat or the grill.

Spicy beef back ribs

Makes 6 servings

5 pounds beef back ribs, cut into 2 to 4 rib sections

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1-1/2 cups finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1-1/2 cups chili sauce

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium high heat until hot. Add onion, garlic and pepper flakes; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add chili sauce, water and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt. Reserve 1/2 cup sauce for basting.

Prepare charcoal grill for indirect cooking by igniting an equal number of charcoal briquets on each side of fire grate, leaving open space in the center. When coals are medium, ash-covered (25 to 30 minutes), add 3 to 4 new briquets to each side. Position cooking grid with handles over coals so additional briquets may be added when necessary.

Place ribs, meat side up, in large (16-1/8 by 11-3/4 by 2-7/8 inches) foil roasting pan. Pour remaining sauce over ribs; turn ribs to coat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil; place foil pan on cooking grid. Cover with grill lid and grill over medium heat 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until ribs are fork-tender. Carefully remove roasting pan from grill; remove ribs from pan and place, meat side up, on grill rack. Baste ribs with reserved sauce; grill, covered, 10 to 15 minutes, turning and basting once.

Note: Add 3 to 4 additional briquets to each side of fire grate every 30 minutes or as necessary to maintain proper heat during grilling.

Garden herb strip steaks

2 beef strip steaks boneless, cut 1 inch thick (about 10 ounces each)



2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine seasoning ingredients in small bowl; reserve 2 teaspoons for garnish. Press remaining seasoning evenly onto beef steaks.

Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 11 to 15 minutes) for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning occasionally.

Carve steaks into slices. Sprinkle with reserved seasoning and salt, as desired.

Spicy cheeseburger sliders

Makes 8 sliders

1 pound ground beef (96 percent lean)

9 small whole wheat hamburger buns, split, divided

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder

2 slices pepper Jack cheese, cut in quarters


Barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato slices, pickles (optional)

Tear one hamburger bun into pieces. Place in food processor or blender container. Cover; pulse on and off, to form fine crumbs.

Combine bread crumbs, beef, garlic and chili powder in medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into eight 1/2-inch thick mini patties.

Place patties on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 9 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 10 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160 degrees, turning occasionally. Evenly top with cheese during last minute of grilling.

Place burgers on bottoms of remaining eight buns. Top with desired Toppings. Close sandwiches.

Grilled t-bone steaks with BBQ rub

2 to 4 beef T-bone or Porterhouse steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 2 to 4 pounds)


BBQ rub:

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine BBQ rub ingredients; press evenly onto beef steaks.

Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 16 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 15 to 19 minutes) for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning occasionally. Remove bones and carve steaks into slices, if desired. Season with salt, as desired.

Test kitchen tips: to broil, place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 3 to 4 inches from heat. Broil 15 to 20 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning once.

Maple-balsamic marinated steak with grilled pear salad

After a dip in a flavorful marinade, strip steaks are grilled with pears and onions to create a unique and tasty salad.

2 beef strip steaks, boneless, cut 1 inch thick (about 8 to 10 ounces each)

2 Bartlett or red Anjou pears, halved and cored

1 medium red onion, cut into 12 wedges

8 cups mixed salad greens or arugula

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, chopped pecans or sliced almonds

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese, blue cheese or Manchego cheese



1 cup reduced-fat or regular balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons coarse grind black pepper

2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade for dressing. Place beef steaks and 1/3 cup marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steaks to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes to 2 hours. Reserve remaining marinade for brushing.

Soak two 10-inch bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes; drain. Thread onion wedges onto skewers. Brush onions and cut sides of pears with half reserved marinade.

Remove steaks from marinade; discard marinade. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange onions and pears around steaks. Grill steaks, covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 11 to 15 minutes) for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium doneness (160 degrees), turning occasionally.

Grill onions 12 to 15 minutes (13 to 16 minutes for gas) and pears 8 to 10 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until tender, turning occasionally and brushing steak, onions and pears with remaining reserved marinade.

Remove onions from skewers. Chop onions and pears into bite-size pieces. Combine greens, pears, onions, cheese, nuts and reserved 1/2 cup marinade; toss gently to combine.

Carve steaks into slices; season with salt, as desired. Serve with salad mixture.

Recipes provided by Iowa Beef Industry Council.

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