April showers have passed and barbecues are in full bloom. Perfect weather and longer days make the month of May the perfect time to celebrate National Barbecue Month. Whether you think barbecuing requires gas or charcoal, or that ribs should only be parboiled, or if you insist that asparagus must be sautéed with olive oil, it is time to fire up the BBQ.
Quality matters when it comes to barbecue. The graders at the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) certify that meats and other products are of a desired quality. Our grades account for factors such as tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. These are major selling points for any good barbecued foods. When shopping for meats, you can easily identify the USDA grade on most packages.
AMS also has information for people wanting to learn about where their food comes from. Our standards specialists develop marketing claims that provide insight on the animal’s diet, feeding and other factors. Our National Organic Program also has information for people interested in knowing what to expect when products are labeled with a USDA organic seal.
Whether your preference is conventional or organic meats, fruits, or vegetables, National Barbecue Month is a fun time to enjoy some of your favorite foods. Throughout this month and the rest of the grilling season, we encourage you to visit the Food Safety Inspection Service’s (FSIS) site for barbecue safety tips. They offer great advice that will take you from shopping at the super market to safely refrigerating leftovers—if there are any!
We would like to see how YOU are celebrating National Barbecue Month. Share some of your favorite barbecue photos by sending a picture to us on Twitter @USDA_AMS or use the #bbqmonth hashtag to join the conversation. You can also share your favorite recipe or grilling tip. We want to hear the secret that makes your rib meat fall off the bone or why people inhale your grilled corn on the cob. Let the grilling begin!