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Beef 101: Grilling tips from James Winstead

You may think you already know how to cook the perfect steak, but this guide to grilling beef offers hints and tips to help you get the most from your meat!


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James Winstead, director of food and nutrition outreach for the California Beef Council, offers his best tips for barbecuing meat this season:

  • Get good grades. Spring for USDA Prime or Certified Angus Beef steaks if you can. Choice-grade steak is a good, less-expensive alternative.
  • Look for marbling. Thin white streaks of fat throughout a steak, called marbling, keep the meat nice and juicy. Plus, the fat adds flavor.
  • Steaks don't need much to make them great. Just before grilling, brush them lightly on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you want to get fancy, you can add spices like chili powder, paprika or garlic powder to the rub.
  • Let your steak develop a seared crust on the grill before moving or flipping it. If you try to lift the meat before it's ready, it'll stick to the grates.
  • Once your steak is off the grill, wait at least 5 minutes before slicing. This gives the juices a chance to settle back into the meat.
  • Exact cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak and your personal preference. This is why a meat thermometer is handy to have. It's accurate and won't release much juice from the meat.
  • Make it pretty: Use the hot grill to create "cross-hatch" grill marks. Set your steak down at a 45-degree angle from your grill lines. About a quarter of the way through cooking, give it a quarter turn. Halfway through cooking, flip it once. Give it a final quarter turn for the last bit of cooking. When finished, you should have a steak that looks like it belongs on a commercial.

For more tips on how to grill beef, visit www.calbeef.org.


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