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Memorial Day weekend officially kicks of the summer grilling season, and this year, steaks and burgers top the list of foods that Americans will grill first.
According to a national poll conducted by Kelton Research for the American Meat Institute (AMI), steak was consumers’ first choice this year as 29 percent said it would be the first thing they’ll grill. Burgers, such as hamburgers, turkey burgers or lamb burgers, came in a close second at 27 percent with chicken and ribs as the third and fourth choices.
“Clearly, Memorial Day weekend signals barbecue classics on [t]he grill,” said Janet Riley, AMI SVP of Public Affairs. “With so many great meat and poultry options available, backyard chefs can find an endless array of delicious and nutritious grilling choices in the meat case.”
While hot dogs didn’t lead the pack this year, data suggests they’ll be featured often on the grill. Americans will eat an estimated 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day including 150 million during the Fourth of July holiday alone. Baseball fans will also eat 20.4 million hot dogs at Major League ballparks across the country during the season.
Whether the menu features hot dogs, burgers, ribs or steaks, consumers are urged to handle and cook meat and poultry according to safe food handling recommendations to ensure these foods are safe when served. New AMI polling showed that only 39 percent of Americans know the recommended internal cooking temperatures of 160 degrees for hamburgers and 165 degrees for turkey burgers.
Other key food safety steps include keeping meat and poultry cold before cooking; separate raw and ready-to-eat foods; clean hands, utensils and cooking boards with hot soapy water before and after handling raw meat and poultry; and refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI’s members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the United States.