I went to a McDonald’s meat-processing factory to see how their hamburgers are really made

mcdonalds nederland netherlands
This blender grinds the meat.

  • McDonald’s attracts plenty of customers but many express concern over its burgers’ ingredients.
  • I took a tour of a McDonald’s factory in Germany to find out how their burgers are really made.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Nowadays, it seems we’re getting more and more critical when it comes to ingredients. From organic ingredients and excess sugar to “E numbers” (or food additives) and salt, the list of contents to worry about seems to be growing exponentially.

McDonald’s attracts plenty of customers – it said in its operations manual years ago that it sold 75 hamburgers a second – but the fast-food giant is by no means off the hook when it comes to this sort of scrutiny.

In 1999, a man named David Whipple started an experiment to see how many preservatives there were in a McDonald’s burger. In 2013, he showed the world his burger 14 years after putting it in a kitchen cupboard – and it still looked almost exactly the same.

But Keith Warriner, the program director at the University of Guelph’s Department of Food Science, said McDonald’s hamburgers’ not rotting had little to do with preservatives.

“The reality is that McDonald’s hamburgers, french fries, and chicken are like all foods and do rot if kept under certain conditions,” he said. “Essentially, the microbes that cause rotting are a lot like ourselves, in that they need water, nutrients, warmth, and time to grow. If we take one or more of these elements away, then microbes cannot grow or spoil food.”

Many are still fixated on the notion that a McDonald’s burger is pumped full of preservatives.

To see how the burgers are made, Insider toured a McDonald’s factory in Günzburg, Germany, where an average of five million burgers, from the Big Mac to the Quarter Pounder, are produced every day.

This is how they’re made.

The Günzburg factory is one of the largest of OSI, one of the biggest suppliers of hamburgers for McDonald’s.

McDonalds factory Netherlands Germany
The German factory is about the same size as a soccer field.

OSI is the American company first supplied McDonald’s hamburgers. You’ll find few factories that are bigger, and if you do, they’ll probably be in the US.

When McDonald’s was starting out in Europe, OSI set up in the German village of Günzburg.

The factory isn’t officially part of McDonald’s, but there are important agreements between the two companies.

“About 90% of the production of this factory is for McDonald’s,” said Eunice Koekkoek, a McDonald’s representative.

It’s immediately apparent from the smell when you enter the factory that it produces masses of hamburgers — even the reception area smells of beef.

Hygiene is incredibly important within the factory.

McDonalds burger factory
Before entering, you have to put on protective clothing and wash your hands thoroughly.

Employees who have had a stomach bug aren’t allowed to work until they’ve investigated the cause with their doctor, in order to prevent bacteria and viruses coming into contact with the meat.

There are no preservatives in the meat, so the quality requirements that apply at the factory are very strict.

To prevent objects from ending up in the meat, nothing is allowed to go loose in the factory — that means jewelry must be removed, and plastic pens are also out of the question.

Before entering, you have to put on protective clothing and wash your hands thoroughly. As I wanted to make notes, I was given a clipboard and a pen. They were both made of metal because in the final phase of the production process the burgers go through a metal detector — so if that pen were to end up in the meat, it wouldn’t go unnoticed.

The meat is checked to ensure there are no bones.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
The first thing you see in the factory is where the incoming meat is checked.

At the factory, it’s mainly large pieces of meat coming in. McDonald’s requests this from slaughterhouses, as larger pieces of meat reduce the risk of contamination because they have a smaller surface area that could be contaminated by bacteria.

After being checked, the meat is put in containers of about 500 kilograms (about 1,100 pounds) each.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
One cow can produce about 100 kilograms of meat, so you could find meat from five or six cows in one container.

This space is filled to the brim with these kinds of containers, yet all that meat is processed within a day.

Forklift trucks are constantly driving to and fro to collect new containers of meat.

Almost 500 containers a day are needed to make enough burgers, so a lot of work is required to get them to the right place on time.

The meat is then minced.

mcdonalds nederland netherlands
After being removed from storage, the meat is taken to the blenders.

While the blenders grind the meat, the machine ensures that any small pieces of bone are eliminated.

A total of eight containers of meat weighing 500 kilograms each (that’s 40 to 50 cows) can be processed at the same time — so if you eat a McDonald’s hamburger, it’s actually not from one cow, but dozens.

The minced meat ends up in a separate container to be used for the burgers.

Only when the minced meat looks like spaghetti is it perfect.

Another machine shapes the minced meat into burger patties.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
A mix of fresh and frozen beef is used to quickly bring the burgers to a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius.

A mix of fresh and frozen beef means the burgers can be brought to the correct temperature more quickly. That way, they also hold their shape more easily — there’s no binding agent in the meat.

These machines can also produce vegetarian burgers. “This has even been done here for another McDonald’s country,” Koekkoek said.

Right now, the factory is seeing an increase in production. But should the demand for meat decrease in the future, OSI could easily turn over its earnings model, it said.

These machines are incredibly cold.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
Though the room is about 12 degrees Celsius, the machines are much colder.

Ice forms on the machines, and water vapor in the air condenses.

On average, about 5 million hamburgers roll off the belt each day.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
Making the burgers is an incredibly fast process.

Fewer people than you might imagine are required to keep the production process going.

A total of 200 people work at the factory, but about 45 to 60 people are present per shift.

The factory can make about 30 million hamburgers a week — its actual output is just slightly below that at the moment.

McDonald’s and OSI normally don’t use this full capacity, mostly to ensure they can use the extra in case demand suddenly increases.

A few burgers are always tested.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
The reason that burgers are tested is to ensure the fat content is right, for safety reasons.

For McDonald’s hamburgers, the fat content has to be 20%. For comparison, minced beef available in supermarkets can contain a maximum of 25% fat.

Hamburgers at the factory are grilled and tasted to see whether the taste, structure, and texture are up to McDonald’s standards.

To grill the burgers, the factory has an exact replica of the kitchen you’d find in a McDonald’s outlet. It’s essential for food safety that the burgers reach a temperature of at least 69 degrees Celsius (156 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s why a burger at McDonald’s can never be cooked “medium rare.”

Once frozen, the hamburgers disappear into blue plastic bags and then into boxes.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
McDonald’s can say with reasonable certainty that nothing will be inside the burgers that shouldn’t be, as the hamburgers go through a metal detector once packed.

One of the 40 quality checks is a metal detector. No plastic objects are allowed in the factory — so if an employee needs a pen, for example, it must be made of metal. That’s so that any loose objects in the factory that accidentally end up in the burgers will be immediately noticeable before they leave.

If a customer complains that they’ve found something in their burger, McDonald’s first question is where and when the burger was bought.

“We first check whether we’ve received similar complaints within the same time frame at the same location, and we investigate what may have happened during the production process,” Koekkoek said.

“After this investigation, the complaint is often resolved. Due to numerous quality checks at OSI, it’s almost impossible for anything to turn up in the meat. In the event of a serious complaint regarding food safety, we immediately examine the entire chain — but that rarely happens.”

The boxes show exactly when a burger was produced, where the meat came from, and where the burgers are headed. So if there’s something wrong with the meat, it’s easy for McDonald’s to know within a few hours which slaughterhouse and farm the meat came from.

The boxes show exactly when and where each hamburger was made.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
This box shows that the cows came from Denmark.

Because cows are registered at birth, everything that happens to them is recorded, and every change of owner is registered. Using a special code on the box, you can even find the exact cow the meat came from.

“We make sure cows are always slaughtered in their country of origin,” Koekkoek said, “so they don’t need to be transported far.”

For German hamburgers, 60% of the beef comes from Germany, 35% is Dutch, and 5% is from Poland.

“In the Netherlands, for example, we don’t supply enough beef to produce hamburgers that are purely Dutch,” Koekkoek said. “That’s why we use some meat from Germany and Poland. But if we use the word ‘Dutch’ in a name for a limited-edition burger like the Dutch Deluxe, for example, we guarantee that all the meat comes from the Netherlands.”

The meat used for the hamburgers complies with European and national standards, McDonald’s said.

“We take animal welfare into account, but we can’t decide on our own to switch to organic meat, for example,” Koekkoek said. “That said, every step McDonald’s takes towards sustainability has a huge impact on the 37,000 restaurants we have around the world.”

Once boxed, hamburgers are stacked by another machine and wrapped in plastic.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
A machine picks up the boxes to move them to the distribution center.

Before the boxes disappear, another sticker is placed on them saying where the burgers came from and where they’re going.

The distribution center is conveniently next door to the factory.

McDonald's burger factory netherlands nederland
The McDonald’s factory is on the right, and the distribution center is on the left.

On the same industrial estate, you’ll also find the factory where the buns for Germany’s hamburgers are made.

The village of Günzburg is an important area for McDonald’s.

The burgers are taken to from the distribution center to McDonald’s restaurants.

burger mcdonalds
During transit, the burgers are kept at -18 degrees Celsius.

The burgers remain at -18 degrees Celsius until they’re unpacked in the restaurant.

A hamburger is typically on your plate within three weeks of the cow’s slaughter, McDonald’s said.

Koekkoek said it was largely a myth that McDonald’s burgers taste different all over the world.

“The meat, of course, derives from cows from all over the world, and real connoisseurs will taste that difference,” Koekkoek said. “But the consumer is unlikely to be able to taste the difference in the beef’s origin, due to the other flavors of the burger bun and the sauce.”

Koekkoek added: “That said, the taste experience of hamburgers all over the world may be slightly different because of the amount of salt and pepper used — some countries like more salt than others. But that’s the only difference, apart from the origin of the beef.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A former German chancellor slammed Volkswagen for replacing an iconic German bratwurst dish at its cafeteria with a vegetarian version

Currywurst with fries
Currywurst is a popular German fast-food dish, consisting of Bratwurst covered in tomato and curry sauce and served with french fries.

When the Volkswagen headquarters cafeteria in Wolfsburg, Germany, removed the iconic currywurst from its menu in favor of a vegetarian option, the company received backlash from one well-known fan of the popular bratwurst dish – former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

“Do employees at VW really want this?” he said on a LinkedIn post in German, where he ranted about the dish’s removal and created a new hashtag, #savethecurrywurst. “A vegetarian diet is good, and I even do that in phases. But basically no currywurst? No!”

Currywurst is a national favorite dish in Germany and consists of fried bratwurst covered in a spiced tomato and ketchup sauce and sprinkled with curry powder. It’s usually served with fries or bread.

Currywurst is such a popular dish that it’s estimated that Germans eat 800 million portions of currywurst every year.

“Currywurst with fries is one of the power bars of skilled workers in production. It should stay that way,” Schröder said.

Schröder noted that the Volkswagen butcher shop sold 7 million currywurst dishes in 2019 alone, and the sausage dish was voted the national favorite cafeteria dish for the 26th year in a row, according to Deutsche Welle. It’s so popular that it’s estimated that Germans eat 800 million portions of currywurst every year.

Similar to the US, demand for vegan and vegetarian products has risen in recent years in German while meat consumption has slumped, according to Deutsche Welle. Major fast food chains from Panda Express to Starbucks have jumped onboard the fake meat craze, and companies like Oatly and Beyond Meat that offer plant-based alternatives to traditionally non-vegan foods have seen successful initial public offerings.

The plant-based trend hasn’t won over Schröder yet, though.

“Will I like the vegan version? We will see,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Grilling could soon get more expensive. Tyson Foods, the world’s second-largest meat processor, has already hiked prices as much as 40% – and says there’s more on the way.

grilled chicken grilling flames
Within the food industry, meat prices have been especially hard hit.

  • Tyson Foods is hiking up its meat prices for retailers thanks to an “unprecedented” rise in costs.
  • The world’s second-largest meat processor raised pork prices by 39% over the past three months.
  • Further hikes are coming. “Costs are hitting us faster than we can get pricing at this point,” its CEO said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The world’s second-largest meat processor says it will keep raising its prices.

In its third quarter, which runs to July 3, Tyson Foods hiked up its average price for pork by 39%, beef by 12%, and chicken by 16%, it said Monday.

CEO Donnie King said during an earnings call that the company planned to raise prices for retailers again next month to cope with higher costs – he estimated that “unprecedented inflation” reached 14% in the quarter.

“Costs are hitting us faster than we can get pricing at this point,” King said.

“We will continue to take price to match the nature of the cost that’s coming to us,” he added.

Companies including Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and Coca-Cola have also announced price hikes to offset rising costs, triggering higher prices at both stores and restaurants.

Read more: Why the private equity playbook failed Kraft Heinz

The labor shortage and supply chain chaos are causing product shortages and price hikes across the US, and meat is no different.

King said that Tyson was forced to raise prices in the quarter because of rising costs of animal feed, packaging, and freight. The company is also spending on COVID-19 expenses, and on higher wages during the labor shortage.

In the third quarter alone, chicken feed ingredients cost $270 million more than usual, Stewart Glendinning, the company’s chief financial officer, said. The company also spent around $55 million on COVID-19 expenses, he added.

Tyson is being hit by the labor shortage

This US is currently in the midst of a huge labor shortage that’s causing businesses to cut operating hours, slash production, and raise prices.

“Labor is our single biggest issue we face,” King said. This stemmed largely from the spread of the Delta variant, he said.

“We are more inefficient than we have historically been,” King said. “Essentially it takes us six days to get five days worth of work.”

King said that Tyson had increased wages, created flexible shifts, and added childcare facilities on-site to attract more workers. He added that the company was investing more in automation and technology to eliminate more difficult, hard-to-fill tasks, and shift available workers to “more value-added activities.”

Tyson announced last week that it was mandating COVID-19 vaccines for its entire US workforce by November 1. It said that nearly half of all staff have been vaccinated so far.

Tyson said in its earnings release that there had been strong global demand for meat, which allowed it to sustain the higher prices. The company said that its third-quarter sales were up nearly 25% year-over-year to $12.5 billion, and its net income increased 43% to $753 million.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Subway accuses US pork producers of being involved in a price-fixing conspiracy, which it says led to inflated costs for more than a decade

A man in a restaurant uniform makes a Subway sandwich with pickles and tomatoes
A 12-inch with tomatoes and pickles.

  • Subway accused a group of US pork producers of conspiring to raise prices since 2009.
  • Producers “unlawfully inflated pork costs for more than a decade,” a Subway spokesperson said.
  • Tyson, Hormel, and others were included as defendants in a lawsuit filed at the end of June.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Subway has accused a group of leading US pork producers of taking part in a long-running illegal conspiracy to fix wholesale prices.

In a late-June lawsuit filed in US District Court in Connecticut, the chain said pork producers who control about 80% of the wholesale market in the US shared data that they wouldn’t in “a normal, competitive market.”

The price-fixing complaint centered on the statistics company Agri Stats, which was also named as a defendant.

Subway said the pork producers used Agri Stats to share information about “profits, prices, costs, and production levels.” Some of the information was forward-looking.

“The effect of this information exchange allowed Defendants to coordinate their anticompetitive conduct, monitor each other’s production, and thereby control pork supply and price in furtherance of their anticompetitive scheme,” lawyers for Subway wrote in their complaint.

The suit named a group of defendants with more than $20 billion in annual pork sales. They were: Agri Stats, Clemens Food Group, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield Foods, Triumph Foods, Tyson Foods, and a few named subsidiaries. The companies did not respond to Insiders requests for comment.

Two people wearing white jumpsuits leave a Tyson Foods facility on a sunny day in Indiana
A Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Indiana.

A Subway spokesperson told Insider that the lawsuit was part of its efforts to protect its franchisees.

“As small-business owners, our Subway Franchisees have felt the impact of artificially manipulated and unlawfully inflated pork costs for more than a decade,” the spokesperson said. “We are vindicating on their behalf the pork industry’s harmful, anticompetitive behavior.”

The pork-processing market has become more concentrated over time, but “the economics of the pork market will make it difficult” for Subway to win the case, said William G. Tomek, professor emeritus at Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.

“The margin between farm and retail has increased, but so have the costs of transporting, processing, etc.,” Tomek told Insider. “To prove that any of this increase is related to monopoly power would be difficult.”

Subway in its complaint said Agri Stats went out of its way to conceal its methods. The lawsuit included a 2009 quote from Agri Stats President Blair Snyder, who said in part: “We don’t advertise. We don’t talk about what we do.”

The complaint detailed the rise of pork prices after 2009, when the pork producers began using Agri Stats.

Prices had hovered around $1.40 per lb. in the decade before 2009, then “increased dramatically” after the companies began using Agri Stats, according to the complaint. Prices averaged about 28% higher, or around $1.80 per lb., in the following years.

Pork prices grew at a rate faster than other food products, driven by wholesale increases instead of retail increases, Subway said.

Subway’s lawsuit was filed by a wholly owned subsidiary: Subway Protein Litigation Group. The complaint said Subway overpaid for pork since 2009, but won’t know by how much until the lawsuit goes into discovery.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A cyberattack targeting the world’s largest meat supplier was perfectly timed to add a new layer of industry chaos

JBS
JBS was forced to shut down operations at some plants after a cyberattack.

  • JBS said on Tuesday that operations are returning to normal after a cyberattack shut down plants.
  • Just one day of disruption can impact the meat supply chain.
  • The industry faces layers of disruption, from labor shortages to lingering effects of the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A cyberattack on the largest meat supplier in the world came at a potentially catastrophic time for the meat supply chain.

On Monday, JBS announced that a ransomware attack forced the company to shut down operations at a number of major plants. As JBS controls roughly 20% of the beef and pork slaughtering capacity in the US, the attack sent shockwaves through the industry.

“Our systems are coming back online and we are not sparing any resources to fight this threat,” Andre Nogueira, JBS USA CEO, said in a statement late Tuesday.

By Wednesday, operations were back on track at most US slaughterhouses – a far more positive outcome than what could have been, according to meat industry expert Anne-Marie Roerink.

“In a way, this situation is much like the Colonial pipeline, where the severity of the impact will much depend on the duration of the disruption and on where you are in the country,” Roerink told Insider on Tuesday. “While even one day of disrupted production causes ripples in the supply chain, a lengthier disruption could seriously impact beef and pork prices.”

The attack highlights the delicate nature of the meat supply chain in the US. With the attack coming on Memorial Day weekend – a major event for grilling – hackers timed the disruption to coincide with a time when stores are placing orders to refill the meat case, Roerink said.

Meat prices are already up compared to 2020, with Morning Brew reporting that pork prices were up 4.8% and beef prices were up 3.3% in April. The market for beef has been tight in recent weeks, Roerink said, and supply disruptions could drive prices even higher.

Multiple factors are behind the limited supply and increased prices. The pandemic threw the supply chain out of whack, as slaughterhouses shut down due to workers catching COVID and restaurant demand disappeared.

“Stack on top of that the disruptions in the plants, on top of that the ongoing issues with labor and transportation and now more supply chain disruptions,” Roerink said.

The result is an environment in which further disruptions – even if the only impact one company – can drive up prices across the US.

Last year highlighted the tenuous nature of the supply chain, and how much it depends on a few major players. Some politicians are calling for increased scrutiny of the dominance of companies like JBS, Tyson, and Cargill. Last week, members of Congress publicly urged the US Department of Justice to provide updates to an antitrust investigation into the largest meatpackers in the US.

“Cattle producers, especially small feeders, are again experiencing difficult conditions that are threatening their ability to stay in business,” reads the letter, which was signed by members of Congress including South Dakota Senator John Thune and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. “With a tight supply chain, any changes in processing capacity can have a dramatic impact on cattle prices, preventing producers from capturing margin from boxed beef rallies.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Memorial Day grill sales ending soon – including deals from The Home Depot, Butcherbox, and Omaha Steaks

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

home depot gas grills
  • Grilling deals are pretty rare, but Memorial Day is a great time of year to find some.
  • We’ve rounded up the best grill and grill accessories sales going on below.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Memorial Day is here, and as the unofficial start of summer, it’s the perfect time to fire up the grill, throw on some burgers, steaks, and hot dogs, and enjoy a nice barbecue with your friends and family. It’s also the best time to find grilling deals.

If you’re wondering what grills to be looking for, read our guides to the best gas grills and the best charcoal grills.

Below you’ll find the best sales on grilling equipment from around the web this Memorial Day weekend. We’ve also outlined everything you can expect from Memorial Day grill sales in the FAQ section. If you’re looking for more deals, check out our coverage on spring deals and Memorial Day mattress deals, plus all our deals coverage here.

Keep reading to learn about the best deals on grills or find more Memorial Day sales here

The best deals on grills we like

Genesis II E-315 3 burner Liquid Propane Grill (medium)Signature 21-Inch Kamado Grill & Smoker (medium)Griller’s Meal Pack (medium)Thermapen Mk4 (medium)Searing Grill (medium)
The best deals on grills and grilling equipment

  • Ace Hardware: Save on select grills.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond: Select savings for Beyond+ members, save up to 25% on select BBQ tools.
  • BBQ GuysSave on select grills and grilling accessories.
  • The Home Depot: Savings of up to 40% on select grills.
  • Lowe’s: Save up to $150 on select pellet grills.
  • Walmart: Select grills and grilling accessories on sale. 
  • Sur La Table: Save up to 50% on select grilling products and other kitchen gear during Memorial Day weekend. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $75.
  • Target: Save on select grills and accessories
  • Traeger: Free grill cover and pellets with select grill purchases.
  • ThermoWorks: Save with new deals added regularly.
  • Wayfair: Save hundreds of dollars on grills, smokers, and outdoor cooking appliances. 
  • Overstock: Save up to 20% on select grills and outdoor cooking accessories.

The best deals on meat and seafood for grilling

  • Butcherbox: Get a free BBQ Bundle for new and canceled customers through May 31.
  • Chicago Steak Company: Get free shipping plus 12 free 4-ounce burgers with orders over $99 with promo code FREEGIFTS.
  • Cooks Venture: Get $20 off your first order with promo code TRYCV.
  • Omaha Steaks: Get 50% off summer grilling favorites.
  • Thrive Market: Get a free gift worth up to $25 with your order.

FAQs

When do Memorial Day grills sales start?

Grill discounts start appearing steadily between January and Memorial Day, as retailers attempt to empty their inventory of old models before new grill models launch in the late spring. 

What grills are typically discounted on Memorial Day?

The best grill discounts will vary by retailer, but you can bet that most retailers like The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Target will be offering discounts on major brands like Weber, Dyna-Glo, Nexgrill, and more.

When is the best time to buy a grill?

We typically see major sales on grills around Memorial Day (the start of grilling season) and Labor Day (when grill season winds down). You can also find solid deals throughout the colder months as stores attempt to empty their inventory in anticipation of new model launches in the spring. We recommend jumping on good grill deals before the summer months really get underway and stock is in high demand. 

What grill should I buy?

The best grill for you depends on how often you grill, how many people you cook for, and what you typically make. We think most people will get the most out of a gas grill because they’re versatile, easy to use, and easy to clean. You can find our top gas grill picks in our buying guide

If you like to make barbecue or other foods that are cooked low and slow, a charcoal grill may be a better bet. They take more time to get up and running each time you want to cook, but impart a rich, smoky flavor on the food and you never have to worry about running out of propane in the middle of cooking. You can read more about our picks for best charcoal grill here.

The next step up from a charcoal grill would be a smoker. We recommend looking into smokers only if you cook barbecue very regularly and have already tested the limits of a charcoal grill. Read more about the best smokers here.

Finally, there are specialty grills like salamander grills, pizza ovens, flat-top grills, hibachi-style grills, and more. You may want to consider these types of grills if you find that a standard gas or charcoal grill isn’t meeting your needs for the type of cooking you’re doing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Memorial Day grilling deals including grills, meat, and grilling accessories

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

home depot gas grills
  • Grilling deals are pretty rare, but Memorial Day is a great time of year to find some.
  • We’ve rounded up the best grill and grill accessories sales going on below.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Memorial Day Weekend is here, and as the unofficial start of summer, it’s the perfect time to fire up the grill, throw on some burgers, steaks, and hot dogs, and enjoy a nice barbecue with your friends and family. It’s also the best time to find grilling deals.

If you’re wondering what grills to be looking for, read our guides to the best gas grills and the best charcoal grills.

Below you’ll find the best sales on grilling equipment from around the web this Memorial Day weekend. We’ve also outlined everything you can expect from Memorial Day grill sales in the FAQ section. If you’re looking for more deals, check out our coverage on spring deals and Memorial Day mattress deals, plus all our deals coverage here.

Keep reading to learn about the best deals on grills or find more Memorial Day sales here

The best deals on grills we like

Genesis II E-315 3 burner Liquid Propane Grill (medium)Signature 21-Inch Kamado Grill & Smoker (medium)Griller’s Meal Pack (medium)Thermapen Mk4 (medium)Searing Grill (medium)
The best deals on grills and grilling equipment

  • Ace Hardware: Save on select grills.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond: Select savings for Beyond+ members, save up to 25% on select BBQ tools.
  • BBQ GuysSave on select grills and grilling accessories.
  • The Home Depot: Savings of up to 40% on select grills.
  • Lowe’s: Save up to $150 on select pellet grills.
  • Walmart: Select grills and grilling accessories on sale. 
  • Sur La Table: Save up to 50% on select grilling products and other kitchen gear during Memorial Day weekend. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $75.
  • Target: Save on select grills and accessories
  • Traeger: Free grill cover and pellets with select grill purchases.
  • ThermoWorks: Save with new deals added regularly.
  • Wayfair: Save hundreds of dollars on grills, smokers, and outdoor cooking appliances. 
  • Overstock: Save up to 20% on select grills and outdoor cooking accessories.

The best deals on meat and seafood for grilling

  • Butcherbox: Get a free BBQ Bundle for new and canceled customers through May 31.
  • Chicago Steak Company: Get free shipping plus 12 free 4-ounce burgers with orders over $99 with promo code FREEGIFTS.
  • Cooks Venture: Get $20 off your first order with promo code TRYCV.
  • Omaha Steaks: Get 50% off summer grilling favorites.
  • Thrive Market: Get a free gift worth up to $25 with your order.

FAQs

When do Memorial Day grills sales start?

Grill discounts start appearing steadily between January and Memorial Day, as retailers attempt to empty their inventory of old models before new grill models launch in the late spring. 

What grills are typically discounted on Memorial Day?

The best grill discounts will vary by retailer, but you can bet that most retailers like The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Target will be offering discounts on major brands like Weber, Dyna-Glo, Nexgrill, and more.

When is the best time to buy a grill?

We typically see major sales on grills around Memorial Day (the start of grilling season) and Labor Day (when grill season winds down). You can also find solid deals throughout the colder months as stores attempt to empty their inventory in anticipation of new model launches in the spring. We recommend jumping on good grill deals before the summer months really get underway and stock is in high demand. 

What grill should I buy?

The best grill for you depends on how often you grill, how many people you cook for, and what you typically make. We think most people will get the most out of a gas grill because they’re versatile, easy to use, and easy to clean. You can find our top gas grill picks in our buying guide

If you like to make barbecue or other foods that are cooked low and slow, a charcoal grill may be a better bet. They take more time to get up and running each time you want to cook, but impart a rich, smoky flavor on the food and you never have to worry about running out of propane in the middle of cooking. You can read more about our picks for best charcoal grill here.

The next step up from a charcoal grill would be a smoker. We recommend looking into smokers only if you cook barbecue very regularly and have already tested the limits of a charcoal grill. Read more about the best smokers here.

Finally, there are specialty grills like salamander grills, pizza ovens, flat-top grills, hibachi-style grills, and more. You may want to consider these types of grills if you find that a standard gas or charcoal grill isn’t meeting your needs for the type of cooking you’re doing.

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The best Memorial Day grill sales on grills, meat, and grilling accessories you can shop now

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

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  • We’re highlighting the best grill deals you can expect this season.
  • Memorial Day is one of the best times to shop for grills, and we’ve organized some exclusive deals with several brands.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, and as the unofficial start of summer, it’s the perfect time to fire up the grill, throw on some burgers, steaks, and hot dogs, and enjoy a nice barbecue with your friends and family.

If you don’t own a grill or the one you have has seen better days, you’re in luck. This week, Insider Reviews has arranged a bunch of deals on grills, grilling meat, and grilling accessories to help you get started. If you’re wondering what grills to be looking for, read our guides to the best gas grills and the best charcoal grills.

Below you’ll find our exclusive deals, plus the best sales on grilling equipment from around the web this Memorial Day. We’ve also outlined everything you can expect from Memorial Day grill sales in the FAQ section. If you’re looking for more deals, check out our coverage on spring deals and Memorial Day mattress deals, plus all our deals coverage here.

Keep reading to learn about the best deals on grills or find more Memorial Day sales here

The best deals on grills we like

Genesis II E-315 3 burner Liquid Propane Grill (medium)Signature 21-Inch Kamado Grill & Smoker (medium)Griller’s Meal Pack (medium)Thermapen Mk4 (medium)Searing Grill (medium)
The best deals on grills and grilling equipment

  • Ace Hardware: Savings across select grills
  • BBQ GuysSave on select grills and grilling accessories.
  • The Home Depot: Savings of up to 40% on select grills.
  • Lowe’s: Save up to $150 on select pellet grills.
  • Walmart: Select grills and grilling accessories on sale. 
  • Target: Save on select grills and accessories.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond: Select savings for Beyond+ members, save up to 25% on select BBQ tools
  • Traeger: Free grill cover and pellets with select grill purchases.
  • ThermoWorks: Save with new deals added regularly.
  • Wayfair: Save hundreds of dollars on grills, smokers, and outdoor cooking appliances. 
  • Overstock: Save up to 20% on select grills and outdoor cooking accessories.

The best deals on meat and seafood for grilling

  • Butcherbox: Get a free BBQ Bundle for new and canceled customers through May 31.
  • Chicago Steak Company: Get free shipping plus 12 free 4-ounce burgers with orders over $99 with promo code FREEGIFTS.
  • Cooks Venture: Get $20 off your first order with promo code TRYCV.
  • Omaha Steaks: Get 50% off summer grilling favorites.
  • Thrive Market: Get a free gift worth up to $25 with your order.

FAQs

When do Memorial Day grills sales start?

Grill discounts start appearing steadily between January and Memorial Day, as retailers attempt to empty their inventory of old models before new grill models launch in the late spring. 

What grills are typically discounted on Memorial Day?

The best grill discounts will vary by retailer, but you can bet that most retailers like The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Target will be offering discounts on major brands like Weber, Dyna-Glo, Nexgrill, and more.

When is the best time to buy a grill?

We typically see major sales on grills around Memorial Day (the start of grilling season) and Labor Day (when grill season winds down). You can also find solid deals throughout the colder months as stores attempt to empty their inventory in anticipation of new model launches in the spring. We recommend jumping on good grill deals before the summer months really get underway and stock is in high demand. 

What grill should I buy?

The best grill for you depends on how often you grill, how many people you cook for, and what you typically make. We think most people will get the most out of a gas grill because they’re versatile, easy to use, and easy to clean. You can find our top gas grill picks in our buying guide

If you like to make barbecue or other foods that are cooked low and slow, a charcoal grill may be a better bet. They take more time to get up and running each time you want to cook, but impart a rich, smoky flavor on the food and you never have to worry about running out of propane in the middle of cooking. You can read more about our picks for best charcoal grill here.

The next step up from a charcoal grill would be a smoker. We recommend looking into smokers only if you cook barbecue very regularly and have already tested the limits of a charcoal grill. Read more about the best smokers here.

Finally, there are specialty grills like salamander grills, pizza ovens, flat-top grills, hibachi-style grills, and more. You may want to consider these types of grills if you find that a standard gas or charcoal grill isn’t meeting your needs for the type of cooking you’re doing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

One bite from this tick could ruin red meat for the rest of your life

  • A single bite from a lone star tick could cause hives, shortness of breath, or even death.
  • It’s not something they were born with, it’s something their body was taught to reject, by an uninvited little wilderness hitchhiker.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Imagine that you’re a red-blooded carnivore. You love burgers, steak, pork chops, bacon. But one day, out of nowhere, red meat starts to make you physically sick to the stomach. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s real, and it’s spreading.

It’s spreading to people like Amy.

Amy Pearl: My name is Amy Pearl, and I’m a producer for WNYC.

She has what is called a mammalian meat allergy.

Amy Pearl: I have a tendency to not mention it at restaurants, because I feel like if you say to a server, I’m allergic to meat, they’re gonna be like, I’m spitting in your food.

Any meat that came from a cow, a pig, or a lamb, will make Amy sick. Very, very sick.

Amy Pearl: Like I just had hives on my hands and my feet, and like all over my torso. I was nauseous, and I felt like I was fainting, I felt like the world was ending, I felt like I was gonna pass out and I couldn’t really breathe.

Thousands of Americans are suffering like Amy, but until 2009, this sort of allergy went undiagnosed.

Amy Pearl: I think I made an appointment with my regular physician, but he immediately was like, there’s no such thing as a meat allergy, has to be something else.

That changed with the cancer drug, Cetuximab. In a clinical trial, one in four patients developed severe allergic reactions to the drug. Some even died.

Naturally, Cetuximab was investigated. University of Virginia’s allergy department focused on one specific part of the drug. The key ingredient in Cetuximab is a specific carbohydrate that all non-primate mammals carry in their cell walls and tissues, Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or, if you’re pressed for time, alpha-gal.

Dogs have it, cats have it, and the mice cells involved in the production of Cetuximab have alpha-gal. The team discovered that those who had reactions were from only certain areas of the US, the southeast. The locations of the cases aligned almost perfectly with the range of a specific type of tick, the lone star tick.

Dr. Scott Commins is an allergist, and was working with the University at the time.

Scott Commins: Over 90 to 93% of our patients that developed allergic reactions to red meat and test positive by blood test will have a history of tick bites.

Amy Pearl: The thing I Googled was “sudden meat allergy.” I found an article that said there was some man in Florida, had gone into anaphylactic shock from eating meat after a tick bite. And I was like, “I had a tick bite!” I mean, I often have a tick bite. I’d just taken a tick off me.

One of the leading researchers, Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills, went so far to use himself in an unofficial experiment, taking a hike through a nest of larval ticks. It earned him a nice case of red meat allergy.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about how this meat allergy works, but here is the leading theory. Ticks don’t have alpha-gal naturally, but they could be carrying it if they fed off a mammal, like a deer or a dog. If a tick then bites you, it trades some of your delicious blood for its saliva, which is a cocktail of nasty things. An enzyme in that saliva tells your body that there’s a variety of dangerous threats, and your immune system bans everything in that saliva from entering the body, including alpha-gal, which is also in every burger, steak, and bacon strip. So the next time you eat one of those, your body treats the carbohydrate like an intruder, and hits the panic button.

This is happening in the bodies of an estimated 5,000 Americans. What’s worse is that the range of the lone star tick is growing.

Scott: Their range is spreading into the Ohio River Valley and now up into Minnesota. We also know places where this alpha-gal red meat allergy exists, but they don’t have lone star ticks at all. And this would be southern Sweden, for example, there’s parts of Europe, Australia, and now even South Africa. So clearly other tick species can do this as well.

University of Virginia’s researchers have also linked the alpha-gal allergies with a higher risk of heart disease.

Scott Commins: This allergy seems as though it will often go away over time, but the problem has been that any additional tick bites seem to cause the allergy to return. And these are often patients who like to be outside.

Amy Pearl: I know that my numbers have gone down, because I’ve been retested a couple of times, but they’re still 10, 20 times what they should be.

Dr. Commins continues to work towards an immediate cure to mammalian meat allergy. In the meantime, the number of cases are rising.

Scott Commins: So what we’ve been trying to do is work on a vaccine related to tick saliva, in hopes that we can prevent the allergic response from continuing, or recurring, with additional tick bites.

If you’ve been bitten by ticks recently, be sure to get tested. If you haven’t, learn how to explore the woods safely.

Scott Commins: you may want to consider pre-treating your skin or clothing with DEET or Permethrin, respectively.

Amy Pearl: People are so freaked out about ticks, it’s not that bad. They’re much easier to see than you think.

Learn how to do a tick check after spending time in the wilderness. And if you value a juicy steak over a walk in nature, then maybe stay out of the woods.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2018.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to cook the perfect medium-rare steak, according to one of the country’s leading meat purveyors

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

sliced filet mignon that was cooked in Otto Wilde Grill
A LaFrieda Meat Purveyors fillet, fresh off the grill.

  • Meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda is supplies places like Boucherie, Minetta Tavern, and, yes, Shake Shack.
  • We asked the man behind the meat how to cook the perfect medium-rare steak.
  • Rule number one? Use great steak.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Pat LaFrieda is an old-school do-it-yourselfer, a formidable trait that bleeds into his cooking. He is precise and foolproof in his methodology.

We’ve sat down with LaFrieda multiple times to discuss, among other things, the finer points of meat preparation and grilling. We like to think we’ve gleaned a thing or two. Ever the students, here’s what we’ve learned from the meat man himself.

Related Article Module: Pat LaFrieda shares the 8 grill accessories he can’t do without, and how to use them

Rule number one? A good steak, as any cook worth their salt might contest, is already so rich in flavor that very little needs to be done in the way of preparation and seasoning. Other tidbits? High heat is essential. A thermometer, unless your very vocation is grilling steaks day-in, day-out, is a very good idea. Have a resting rack ready. And for the sake of all things good and decent in the wide, wonderful world of meat: Do not jab your steak with a fork to judge whether it’s cooked to your liking.

Seasoning

Steak being seasoned with salt in front of Otto Wilde grill
A LaFrieda tomahawk steak catching a generous helping of salt before being fired.

Some meat enthusiasts believe in bringing a steak up to room temperature before tossing it on the grill. Now, as a meat purveyor, Pat LaFrieda is not exactly encouraged by the FDA to invite the associated bacteria to the party, but he claims it’s pointless to leave a steak out.

How do you prepare the perfect medium-rare steak? “Straight from the fridge at 38 degrees [Fahrenheit], douse it in salt.” If you’re cooking with an overhead oven, “Lower the grate down from heat (on high), and cook it for about three minutes on each side, if you’re cooking, say, a 1.5-inch porterhouse. Once finished, pepper it.” Some say that peppering your steak ahead of cooking will cause it to burn and impart a bitter taste.

Searing

Steak cooked in Otto Wilde Grill
There’s nothing like a crispy golden sear. Salt helps.

As for guesstimating the doneness of your steak? Probably not the best move for most of us. “This whole thing about ‘If you touch it and it feels like your cheek,’ I never got that,” LaFrieda says. “Stick a thermometer in the center where it’s toughest and where the bone is. If it’s 125 [degrees Fahrenheit], I’m taking it out. If you rest it for more than 2 minutes, then it’s going to continue to cook through.”

And when you pull that steak out? Get it on a resting rack. “You don’t want the meat to rest in its own juices. Whatever’s going to fall, let it fall.” Otherwise, he tells us, “You’re now steaming the steak again – what we’ve worked so hard to do, and now we’re going to lose it. Let it sit for two minutes on the rack, then make sure you cut into it and stop the heating process.”

Slicing

pat
It just doesn’t get much better. Pro tip: If you plan to save and reheat your steak, leave it a little less than medium rare so it won’t overcook the second time around.

“Slice it at 2 minutes and the cooking procedure ends. The moment you cut through a steak, the resting period is over. No juices get redistributed through the product. The exterior temperatures are equaling the interior temperatures. That’s just physics. This gets you a nice sear and one solid color throughout.”

As for the right knife? A meat slicing knife works, but LaFrieda prefers a butcher’s knife to get the job done. Pat’s brand of choice is Victorinox.

Serving

Once you’ve sliced your steak, or let it rest as long as you’d like, it’s time to add fresh-ground pepper, if you want it. Then there’s really only one question left: To use sauce, or not to use sauce? “I love sauces,” LaFrieda says. “They bring a different dimension to something that I’ve eaten most likely plain for most of my life.”

His favorite sauces? “Mine. It’s a little sweet, and it’s got a lot of reduced balsamic and sautéed Vidalia onions, which you can use as a marinade. If you just use it for steaks, a little bit goes a long way because it has that potency of the balsamic and the sweet Vidalia. My whole life I’ve been eating steak au poivre from Raoul’s.”

On reheating leftovers

If you’re going to have leftovers, “Make sure the meat is very rare, to begin with,” LaFrieda implores. “If you’re going to make a whole fillet and you know you’ll only eat a few slices, make sure you refrigerate the rarest parts so when you reheat it, it’s not overcooked. And keep it out of the microwave for crying out loud. Stovetop.”

And there you have it.

For more meat tips, read “Pat LaFrieda’s Meat: Everything You Need to Know,” and check out his list of the 8 grilling tools he cannot live without.

Meat: Everything You Need to Know (small)

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