Last week a few of us had the pleasure to tour with Gate to Plate. The Arizona Beef Council took us on a virtual and real-life journey of BEEF! We visited the Pinal Feeding Co. and Quarter Circle U Ranch.
The Beef lifecycle looks something like this:
- Cow-calf farms and ranches, calve and bred cows each year. The average gestation time is 285 days, with 93% born alive and surviving to weaning.
- Cows and calves graze the Arizona lands.
- Calves are weaned at about 500 pounds or 8 months old (age and weight varies).
- Calves are sold at livestock auction markets. Some calves are kept on the farm for future breeding animals.
- The sold calves graze on many different kinds of forage and grasses all across the US. These calves mature into cattle gaining weight, by converting forage and grass into protein.
- The cattle then may be sold or moved to feedlots where they receive a forage and by-product diet that may contain grain.
- Cattle are harvested in processing facilities or packing plants. 40 processing facilities account for 98% of all beef cuts. The average market weight (weight on the live hoof) is 1200#. The average yield is 62%, giving a dressed weight of 715#. Now the carcass is broken down into beef cuts. The dressed beef will yield approximately 569# of edible cuts, which includes: 27# of variety meats: liver, heart, tongue, tripe, sweetbreads, brains, and 146# of fat, bone and loss. Beef from the packing plant is sent to supermarkets and restaurants worldwide.
- Beef provides protein and 10 essential nutrients to diets in US and around the globe.
If you would like more information about Beef ranching, Feeding practices, Nutrition, Safety, or Family Farms please contact the Arizona Beef Council at 1401 N 24th St, Ste 4 Phoenix, AZ 85008. 602-273-7163 (o) 602-220-9833 (f)
Since I was previously with the USDA – Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) I would be remiss to not add some safe cooking recommendations.
For safety, the USDA recommends cooking hamburgers and ground beef mixtures such as meat loaf to 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Cook all organ and variety meats (such as heart, kidney, liver and tongue) to 160 °F.
Cook all raw beef steaks and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
Times are based on beef at refrigerator temperature (40 °F). Remember that appliances and outdoor grills can vary in heat. Use a food thermometer to check for safe cooking and doneness of beef.
|Approximate Beef Cooking Times °F|
Type of Beef
|Rib Roast, bone in||4 to 6 lbs.||Roast 325°||23-25 min./lb.||145 °F and allow to rest at least 3 minutes|
|Rib Roast, boneless rolled||4 to 6 lbs.||Roast 325°||Add 5-8 min./lb. to times above|
|Chuck Roast, Brisket||3 to 4 lbs.||*Braise 325°||*Braise 325°|
|Round or Rump Roast||2 1/2 to 4 lbs.||Roast 325°||30-35 min./lb.|
|Tenderloin, whole||4 to 6 lbs.||Roast 425°||45-60 min. total|
|Steaks||3/4″ thick||Broil/Grill||4-5 min. per side|
|Stew or Shank Cross Cuts||1 to 1 1/2″ thick||Cover with liquid; simmer||2 to 3 hours|
|Short Ribs||4″ long and 2″ thick||*Braise 325°||1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours|
|Hamburger patties, fresh||4 ounces||Grill, broil or fry||3 to 5 minutes per side||160 °F|
|*Braising is roasting or simmering less-tender meats with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.|
|Home Storage of Beef Products
If product has a “Use-By” Date, follow that date. If product has a “Sell-By” Date or no date, cook or freeze the product by the times on the following chart.
|Storage Times for Beef Products|
Refrigerator 40 °F
Freezer 0 °F
|Fresh beef roast, steaks, chops, or ribs||3 to 5 days||6 to 12 months|
|Fresh beef liver or variety meats||1 or 2 days||3 to 4 months|
|Home cooked beef, soups, stews or casseroles||3 to 4 days||2 to 3 months|
|Store-cooked convenience meals||1 to 2 days||2 to 3 months|
|Cooked beef gravy or beef broth||1 or 2 days||2 to 3 months|
|Beef hot dogs or lunch meats, sealed in package||2 weeks (or 1 week after a “Use-By” date)||1 to 2 months|
|Beef hot dogs, opened package||7 days||1 to 2 months|
|Lunch meats, opened package||3 to 5 days||1 to 2 months|
|TV dinners, frozen casseroles||Keep Frozen||3 to 4 months|
|Canned beef products in pantry||2 to 5 years in pantry; 3 to 4 days after opening||After opening, 2 to 3 months|
|Jerky, commercially vacuum packaged||1 year in pantry
Refrigerate 2 to 3 months
|Do not freeze|
I love bacon too; will touch on the latest and greatest that is Pork in the future!
Just in case you were wondering Beef is for Dinner!
Serving Arizonans…One Animal at a Time