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Grilled beef adds sizzle to summer meals

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Grilled beef adds sizzle to summer meals

It's that time of year when enticing smells from the grill waft from yard to yard, tempting taste buds. When it comes to selecting what type of meat to grill for your friends and family, beef ranks supreme.

Not only are hamburgers and steaks the two most popular foods for grilling, according to research conducted by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, but beef is also one of the most versatile kinds of food to grill.

Grilling beef offers endless opportunities to create a variety of delicious and flavorful dishes -- from mouthwatering kabobs to tender baby back ribs and juicy steaks. Yet many outdoor chefs stick with foods that are most familiar to them.

Whether you're new to the grill or just want to "beef up" the options in your recipe box, the good news is that beef is available in so many economical, simple-to-grill cuts that it's easier than you might think to impress your family and friends, and to add some sizzle to your summer meals. 

"With beef, outdoor chefs have a lot of different options from which to choose to create delicious and interesting grilled meals all summer long," says Genie Nicholas, culinary development manager at SUPERVALU. "In addition, with more people opting to cook at home because of the economy, grilled beef provides one of the easiest ways to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at home, at an affordable price." 

Tongs up! Tips for grilling beef with confidence:

Help is just around the corner
You don't have to know everything about beef to try something new on the grill. You just need to know where to look. Many grocery stores have sections in the meat department stocked with varieties of beef specially cut for grilling, along with easy cooking instructions right on the packages.

Expand your repertoire
With a little experimentation, you can discover many ways to create a memorable meal of grilled beef that is sure to delight your family and friends. So, if you've never ventured beyond cheeseburgers, try a skirt steak marinated and served fajita-style. If you always grill steak, try preparing it in new ways, such as in beef kabobs or as the main component in a crisp steak salad.

The right ingredients
Great chefs know the importance of starting with the freshest, highest quality beef. Look for premium beef, such as USDA Choice Angus Beef, at your local grocery store.

Liven it up
Even with less tender cuts of beef, there are lots of ways to create a delicious meal. Adding kosher salt or a variety of spices to grilled beef 10 minutes before grilling is an easy way to enhance the natural flavor. Or use a marinade for additional flavor and tenderness.

Not too hot
Most beef cuts should be placed 3 to 6 inches from the heat source and cooked over medium heat. Thicker cuts should be placed farther away from the heat to prevent the outside from getting cooked too fast, before the inside reaches the desired doneness.

Perfect doneness
An instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally is the best judge of beef perfection. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association advises cooking steaks to 145 F for medium rare or 160 F for medium, and to always cook burgers to at least 160 F.

Savor the juices
Resist the temptation to flatten or pierce the meat while grilling, or the flavorful juices will be lost.

Here's a grilled beef recipe so easy it can make even a novice outdoor chef look like a pro. This colorful entree features boneless sirloin and ready-made marinade sauce, simplifying prep time so you can relax and get to the table faster. It's one of many easy-to-prepare beef recipes available at www.StockmanAndDakota.com

Grilled Teriyaki Beef Kabobs

Prep time:  15 minutes plus marinating
Grill time:  7 to 9 minutes
Amount:  4 servings

1 (1 1/2 pound) Stockman & Dakota Boneless Sirloin Steak
1 red bell pepper, cut into 24 chunks
3/4 cup Culinary Circle Shanghai Five Spice Teriyaki Marinade & Dipping Sauce
16 chunks fresh pineapple
8 wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes
Cooked rice, optional

Trim the fat off the steak; cut into 24 cubes. Place steak, peppers and marinade into a reclosable food storage bag and seal. Toss to coat. Place in refrigerator and marinate a minimum of 45 minutes or up to overnight.

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Thread three beef, three pepper and two pineapple chunks onto skewers in desired pattern.

Place skewers on the grill. Cook, turning occasionally, 7 to 9 minutes or until desired doneness is reached (145 F for medium rare, 160 F for medium). Additional marinade may be brushed on during grilling, if desired. Remove from the grill. Serve kabobs over cooked rice, if desired.

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