There is an ever growing segment of differentiated food products at the food market. Terms classifying food as organic, local, sustainable, grass fed, or natural can all be found. But what do they really mean in terms of how that food was produced. On Sept. 24, consumers will have unique opportunity to learn about the various production paths beef can take to get to your backyard grill during a Backyard Grilling Workshop hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Nueces County at the South Texas Botanical Gardens from 10 to noon.

Not only will you learn about the different production practices that can produce your food, but participants will also have an opportunity to taste test samples of beef produced with those different practices through a consumer taste panel. If you are producing ground beef from grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef, each will have distinctly different flavors. Program participants will have an opportunity to experience these differences through the programs consumer taste panel.

Selection of product at the meat counter will also be discussed. Therefore, participants will have a better understanding of how to select the best cuts for the optimum dining experience while maximizing their food dollar. “Americans consume over 50 percent of their beef as ground beef…and not just to make hamburgers. Also, more than 25 percent of the beef carcass is used to produce ground beef, which improves the sustainability of beef production”, according Dr. Stephen Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist. However, there are many other economical cuts families can enjoy as well, so we will address selecting that perfect cut for your next meal.

Health and nutritional aspects of beef and grilling will also be discussed. Ground beef produced from the brisket contains high levels of oleic acid, which increases levels of HDL or good cholesterol in humans. Beef also has many other attributes that make it a good choice in a healthy diet.

Meal time preparation is another topic on the program agenda, where presenters will cover everything from food and grilling safety to the use of fresh herbs for use in making your own home grown dry rubs next time you grill. The program will conclude with tasty grilled beef lunch.

The cost of the workshop is $38, or $30 for members of the South Texas Botanical Gardens and includes admission to the gardens, the workshop, taste test, goodie bags items, and lunch. Pre-registration is required. Please contact 361-767-5217 to RSVP.