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Fire up the grill and celebrate Beef Month

‘Tis the season — and the weekend — for celebrating and eating beef! Check out Prairie Farmer editors’ favorite recipes for the grill, all right here.

Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer Senior Editor

May 22, 2024

4 Min Read
A plate of raw beef kabobs ready to be grilled
KABOBS: It’s not too late to celebrate Beef Month in May! We definitely recommend these teriyaki beef kabobs, going on the grill ASAP. Holly Spangler

Beef Month may be winding down, but there’s a long weekend on the horizon — and the chance to grill up some steaks to celebrate. May has long been declared Beef Month by the Illinois Beef Association.

Beef is the fourth-largest commodity in Illinois, but more than 14,000 family farms are raising cattle and converting grass into protein. And Illinois is one of the few states with an increasing number of cattle on feed, despite declining numbers nationwide.

Here at Prairie Farmer, both me and my husband, John, and Betty Haynes and her husband, Dan, count ourselves among those family farms raising cattle, and technically, we’re among those who are expanding our herds. Personally, I can’t think of a better view than looking out the back door in May and seeing cattle grazing lush green pastures just beyond the fence. Lucky for us, it’s to the west, so the sun sets over those cattle every day.

That also means we’re big fans of a steak or a burger on the grill, so we pulled out our favorite recipes for this story. We even got our What’s Cooking columnist Charlyn Fargo Ware to dip into her recipe box for her favorite steak salad. Charlyn and her husband come from a long line of beef producers, too.

We hope you find something you like!

Teriyaki Steak Kabobs

I pulled this recipe from a Taste of Home magazine at least 20 years ago, and it’s been our summertime favorite ever since. The marinade is perfectly sweet and tangy, and we baste pretty frequently during grilling. It’s probably heresy to say during Beef Month, but the marinade works on chicken and pineapple kabobs, too.

⅔ cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1½-2 pounds sirloin, cut into 1½-inch cubes
1 large green pepper
1 large onion
12 cherry tomatoes
Hot cooked rice

In a bowl, combine soy sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, ginger and salt; mix well.

Pour half of marinade into a Ziploc bag; add meat and turn to coat. Seal and refrigerate for four to eight hours, turning occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Drain meat and discard marinade. On metal or soaked bamboo skewers, alternate meat, pepper, onion and tomatoes.

Grill uncovered over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Turn and baste for eight to 10 minutes or until done. Using a smoker may take a few minutes longer. Serve over rice.

Ribeyes, ribeyes, ribeyes

Betty Haynes, Prairie Farmer associate editor, and her husband, Dan, raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle near Petersburg, Ill., and they love throwing ribeyes on the grill all summer long.

“Nothing says grilling season quite like a big, juicy ribeye!” Betty says. “At our house, summer holidays call for breaking out some thick-cut ribeyes to share with friends and family. These bad boys are home-raised, but store-bought or sourced from a farmer-neighbor will still do the trick.”

A plate full of ribeye steaks on a deck ledge with a lake in the background

The Haynes recipe is pretty simple:

1. Thaw ribeyes and admire their marbled beauty.

2. Fire up the grill to high heat.

3. Salt your ribeyes generously. Pro tip: They like to use Riley’s All-Purpose Seasoning from Pittsfield, Ill.

4. Grill until internal temperature reaches:

  • 125 degrees F for rare

  • 135 degrees for medium-rare

  • 145 degrees for medium

  • 150 degrees for medium-well

  • 160 degrees for jail time

5. Enjoy with a baked potato, salad and views of a water source.

6. Betty’s final word: “Ketchup = jail time.”

Steak and Veggie Salad

This recipe comes from Charlyn Fargo Ware, Prairie Farmer’s longtime cooking columnist for What’s Cooking in Illinois. She adapted this one from Taste of Home and says, “I make this all the time in the summer.” Enjoy!

2 medium ears sweet corn, husked, or 1 package frozen corn
1 beef flank steak (1 pound)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder or clove of fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 package (5 ounces) spring mix salad greens
1 large tomato, chopped, or handful of cherry tomatoes
4 slices red onion, separated into rings
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a pot of boiling water, cook corn, uncovered, until tender, three to five minutes. Remove; cool slightly. Cut corn from cobs.

Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. In a large skillet or grill (if you prefer), heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add steak; cook until a thermometer reads 135 degrees F for medium-rare, six to eight minutes per side. Remove from heat; let stand five minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Thinly slice steak across the grain. Place greens, tomato, onion, parsley, corn and steak in a large bowl; toss with dressing. Sprinkle with cheese.

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About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Prairie Farmer Senior Editor, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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