Mark Z. Johnson, Oklahoma State University Extension Beef Cattle Breeding Specialist
“Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” is an American advertising slogan and marketing campaign aimed at promoting the consumption of beef. The ad campaign, originally launched in 1992, has been long-lived, highly effective and award winning. The slogan is said to be recognized by more than 88% of Americans, accordingly, I borrowed from this well-known phrase for my title.
Thanksgiving is a time when Americans come together to celebrate a holiday that connects each and every one of us. The holiday was first celebrated in 1621 when the Plymouth settlers, joined with the Wampanoag Indians to enjoy a fall feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. The tradition of Thanksgiving became official when President George Washington declared the nation would celebrate the day on November 26, 1789. President Abraham Lincoln wrote a proclamation declaring all states would celebrate the day in 1863. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a resolution from Congress in 1941 that established the official date of Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November each year. While Thanksgiving is observed in varied ways in different nations, in American the holiday is truly rooted in agriculture. We may bring our own flavors and traditions to the table but Thanksgiving is a time for all of us to celebrate our nation’s harvest and ability to efficiently produce food, to express gratitude for our blessings, and look ahead to the future.
Alexander Hamilton once proclaimed: “No citizen of the U.S. shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day”. With all due respect to Mr. Hamilton whose ideas are credited with laying the foundation for American government and finance, I encourage you to make plans to enjoy BEEF this year at Thanksgiving. Please give consideration to the following when planning.
- How much time do you have to spend cooking?
If your answer is not much, consider grilling or pan frying. Middle meats from the beef carcass like ribeye, strip loin, filet and sirloin steaks are very tender and can be cooked quickly at high temps on the grill or stove top to seal in the tenderness, juiciness and flavor. If you intend to grill or pan fry steaks remember to give them adequate time to thaw. Burgers made from ground beef are also great when grilled or pan fried.
If you have more time to spend in preparation, smoking or oven roasting can result in the same tender, succulent beef flavor. Roasts from the chuck or round can be seasoned and slow cooked to bring out “melt in your mouth” flavor. Beef brisket is ideal for smoking and slow cooking. An intact rib roast also can work great for smoking or slow cooking.
2. What is your budget?
Typically the steaks or middle meats will be the more expensive cuts to purchase. The cuts that require more cooking time (because they contain more connective tissue) can be purchased at a lower price per pound. Ground beef is also less expensive.
More information about cooking methods, recipes and beef cuts can be found at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com. Regardless of the cut of beef you enjoy this Thanksgiving you will be eating a nutrient dense, delicious source of protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc that is a healthy diet choice.
This year on Thanksgiving, I want to say thanks to America’s farmers, ranchers and everyone in production agriculture that make it possible. Whatever we eat on Thanksgiving Day, it is the ingenuity, perseverance, efficiency, work ethic and “can do” attitude of America’s ag producers that permit us to spend a relatively small percentage of our income on food.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy BEEF for Thanksgiving!
Watch OSU Extension beef cattle breeding specialist Mark Johnson explains why switching out your turkeys for beef might be a good idea for Thanksgiving. Cow-Calf Corner: Beef for Thanksgiving? – YouTube