DENVER (FNS) -- Three out of four Americans said they would be firing up their grills and selecting beef as their entree of choice for the Memorial Day kickoff of the summer season, according to an industry survey.
f Americans were planning to grill on the season's opener, an 11% increase over 1996. Eighty percent of these outdoor chefs planned to select beef cuts, compared to the 32% who were planning to grill chicken.
Steak enjoyed the top spot as the most popular meat for grilling, garnering a 49% showing over other beef cuts. The survey confirmed the increasing popularity of steaks, with 49% of respondents most often grilling steaks, a 10% increase over the 39% of Americans grilling steaks in 1995, the survey said.
While hamburger continues to be the entree of choice on the grill for 41% of the survey respondents, tender beef steaks such as T-bone, ribeye and sirloin steaks lead the pack as the top three steak cuts, with 59% of respondents selecting one of the three as their steak of choice. When grillers serve up steaks on their barbecues, 63% choose to enhance a steak's delicious taste by marinating the beef before grilling, the survey indicated.
"Whether it's steaks or hamburgers, Americans clearly love to grill beef," said Clark Willingham, NCBA President. "And now is an especially good time to choose beef. It's a great buy and provides a delicious, nutritious meal at a price families can swallow."
Beef prices have remained steady throughout the year and are expected to remain at nearly the same level as last year.
"Customers can expect to enjoy great buys in beef throughout the grilling season," said Chuck Lambert, NCBA's chief economist.
He projected that Americans would eat nearly 60 million pounds of beef this Memorial Day, which is 25% more than the 1998 projected daily average of 47.2 million pounds.
Memorial Day is traditionally the largest beef consumption day of the year, followed closely by Labor Day and the Fourth of July.