What’s for Dinner?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Cows and calves graze the Arizona lands.                                                          AZ_range
  3. Calves are weaned at about 500 pounds or 8 months old (age and weight varies).
  4. Calves are sold at livestock auction markets.  Some calves are kept on the farm for future breeding animals.
  5. 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.
  6. The cattle then may be sold or moved to feedlots where they receive a forage and by-product diet that may contain grain.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Safe Cooking
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


Cooking   Method

Cooking   Time

Internal   Temperature

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