Year-round grilling thrives |

Year-round grilling thrives

Kearney, Neb. – Labor Day, America’s third most popular outdoor grilling holiday, is right around the corner, but not all Americans will pack away the barbecue grill after this end-of-summer celebration.

Outdoor grilling is at an all-time high, nearly double what it was 20 years ago, according to the market research firm NPD Group’s 22nd annual Eating Patterns in America report. Some 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, foods that pair well with beef, were also among the most popular grilling foods.

“We’re a nation of grillers, because it’s a delicious, convenient and fast way to cook, no matter the time of year,” said Ann Marie Bosshamer, executive director of the Nebraska Beef Council. “The Nebraska Beef Council encourages consumers to try different cuts and ingredients for healthy meals that fit the seasons and their busy lifestyles.”

One cut consumers may not have tried on the grill is beef roast, which makes a hearty cool weather meal and often provides a second meal through leftovers. So give it a try, with these easy tips from the Nebraska 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.

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 surface, not on top of snow or ice.

– If it’s dark outside, purchase a grill light, rather than move the grill closer to the house or another structure for better lighting.

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