May is Beef Month in Iowa, and we’re sharing our top five ways to celebrate like a real cowboy or cowgirl. After all, Iowa’s beef industry contributes more than $5.1 billion to the state economy and creates nearly 40,000 direct and indirectly related jobs. So pass the steak sauce and dig into these fun May Beef Month ideas:
1. Enjoy Iowa’s Best Burger. The Coon Bowl III, a bowling alley in Coon Rapids, was named the 2012 winner of Iowa’s Best Burger Contest by the Iowa Beef Industry Council. The Coon Bowl III uses an 80/20 blend of ground chuck, one of the most popular blends for tasty burgers. Customers can ask for any extras, whether that’s “running the burger through a garden” by requesting lettuce and tomato or adding cheese, bacon or mushrooms as toppings.
2. Join Team Beef. Do you plan to run a 5K, half-marathon or marathon event, or bike the RAGBRAI route this summer? Then become a member of Team Beef, a group of Iowa athletes who promote the benefits of consuming lean, nutrient-rich beef in boosting their performance. Team Beef members participate in popular events, such as the Dam to Dam race in Des Moines. They also receive a free Team Beef T-shirt to wear on race day. To sign up, visit http://www.iabeef.org/teambeef.aspx.
3. Try a new beef dish. Break out of the suppertime rut with creative, easy beef recipes. A few new favorites:
- Steakhouse pizza, http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/09/steakhouse-pizza/
- Steak carne asada tacos, http://picky-palate.com/2011/05/02/restaurant-style-carne-asada-soft-tacos-with-guacamole-and-corn/
- French onion soup sliders, http://iowagirleats.com/2012/05/02/stuffed-french-onion-soup-sliders/
4. Know your cuts of beef. One of best ways to save money on groceries is to take advantage of sales at the meat counter. Learn more about the different beef cuts and how to cook them with the Interactive Beef Case (http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/meatcase.aspx).
5. Get educated. Ever wonder about the difference between corn-fed and grass-fed beef. What about beef safety? Here’s where to find answers from the experts:
- Grass-fed vs. corn-fed, http://www.bestfoodfacts.org/main/food_for_thought/0/30
- Cow-chow, an interactive game exploring what cows eat, http://www.explorebeef.org/cowchow.aspx
- Safe handling tips for cooking beef, http://www.iabeef.org/SafeHandling.aspx
Written by Teresa Bjork
Teresa is a features Writer for the Iowa Farm Bureau.