Sirloin Steak cubed and grilled on skewers with fresh squash and red bell peppers. Photo Credit: Arizona Legacy Beef

Labor Day, America’s third most popular outdoor grilling holiday, is right around the corner yet fewer Arizonans will pack away the barbecue grill after this end-of-summer celebration.

Outdoor grilling is at an all-time high, nearly double what it wa5 20 years ago, according to the market research firm NPD Group’s 22nd annual Eating Patterns in America report. In 2007, 38.2 percent of households reported eating at least one grilled food over a two week period, year-round. Some 39.9 said they did the same, September through November, while 26.5 percent continued doing so December through February.

Hamburgers, followed by steak, topped the NPD Group’s list of grilling favorites. Vegetables, and specifically potatoes, two foods that pair well with beef, were also among the most popular grilling foods, the report said.

“We’re a nation of grillers, because it’s a delicious, convenient and fast way to cook, no matter the time of year,” said Linda Brake, Chairwoman of the Arizona Beef Council. “The Arizona Beef Council encourages consumers to try different cuts and ingredients for healthy meals that fit the season and their busy lifestyles.”

One cut consumers may not have tried on the grill is beef roast, which makes a hearty winter meal and often provides a second meal through leftovers. In last spring’s 19th annual Weber GrillWatch survey, 24 percent reported beef roast as the food they’d most like to know how to cook on an outdoor grill.

So give it a try, with these easy tips from the Arizona Beef Council:

  • For best results, select roasts that are uniform in shape.
  • Foods take longer to cook in cold weather. Keep grill lid closed to avoid loss of cooking heat. But no matter the season, use a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer to accurately test doneness.
  • Indirect grilling, placing beef away from the heat source, is a good way to cook large, thick cuts like roasts. This allows the center to cook properly without overcooking the exterior.
  • When the roast’s internal temperature reaches 135 ° (medium rare) or 150 ° (medium), remove from heat, tent loosely with foil and let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Temperature will continue to rise to desired doneness (145 ° medium rare; 160 ° medium).
  • Season the roast with a rub for a new flavor experience. Rubs are blends of herbs, spices and other seasonings that can be applied several hours or just minutes before cooking. Rubs are used for flavor, not tenderization.

The beef council also urges year-round grilling safety with these tips:

  • Make sure grill is in good shape and hasn’t been damaged in any way by inclement weather.
  • Set the grill on a solid, sturdy surface.
  • If it’s dark outside, purchase a grill light, rather than move the grill closer to the house or another structure for better lighting.

(Source for cookery tips: Beef Checkoff-funded Beef and Veal Culinary Center, Chicago)

(Source for grill safety tips: Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association,

(Recipes, complete cooking information:

The Arizona Beef Council was created in 1970 to collect and invest beef checkoff dollars in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development, all with the purpose of strengthening beef demand.  For more information, visit

To find Arizona beef producers, go to and search for “Beef.”

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