Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner!

I recently had an opportunity to attend Beef Boot Camp, a cooking class that was all about beef and nutrition.  And yes, it was just as delicious it sounds!

Did you know that a three ounce serving of lean beef provides nearly half the daily value for protein?  Beef is also rich in zinc, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and niacin.  On average, a serving of lean beef is about 150 calories, and many good cuts of beef have 10 grams of fat or less.

One reason I love beef so much, besides the health benefits, is that it is so versatile for cooking.  You can grill, stir-fry, roast, stew or braise beef in countless different recipes.  Sometimes, it can be confusing to stand at the meat counter and know which cut of beef is best for a particular recipe or cooking method.  Here are a few guidelines:

Grilling: For best results, use tender cuts like a Ribeye steak, Top loin steak, T-bone steak, Top Sirloin steak, Tenderloin, Top Blade steak, kabobs, and hamburger patties.  Try to turn the meat only once to get a good sear and to avoid overcooking.

Stewing: Tougher cuts like chuck or round are most appropriate for stewing because the long, slow cooking time will break down the connective tissue that makes the meat tough.

Roasting: Roasting is a dry-heat oven cooking method used for larger cuts of beef.  No liquid is added or cover used during roasting. Tender cuts like Rib roast, Ribeye roast, Tenderloin, Tri-Tip roast, Sirloin roast, and Rump roast are best for roasting.

Braising: This is a slow, moist-heat cooking method for less tender cuts of beef like Arm roast, Blade roast, Shoulder roast, Short ribs, and Back ribs.  Use a tight-fitting lid and small amount of liquid for best results.

Stir-fry: Any cut of meat can be used for a stir-fry as long as it’s cut into thin, uniform size strips.  Cook strips in a lightly oiled pan on high heat, and constantly toss ingredients together.

Remember to use safe cooking with beef.  Whole cuts and steaks should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees or higher, and ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees.  Be sure to thaw beef in the refrigerator, not on the counter.  Clean cutting boards and utensils after contact with raw meat.

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