WASHINGTON, May 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the summer grilling season and this year, steaks and burgers top the list of foods that Americans will grill first. A national poll shows steak was the 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. The poll was conducted by Kelton Research for the American Meat Institute.
"Clearly, Memorial Day weekend signals barbecue classics on the grill," said AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Janet Riley. "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 seven 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 board with hot soapy water before and after handling raw meat and poultry, and refrigerate leftovers within two hours. More food safety tips and proper cooking temperatures may be found at www.MeatSafety.org.
For more summer meat fun, visit the new Meat page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/celebratemeat. Recipes and other resources on hot dogs and sausages are available at www.hot-dog.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NHDSC.
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. The Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the meat and poultry packing and processing industry.