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Grilling: A Global Tool for U.S. Red Meat Promotion

In export markets, an American tradition is helping consumers learn about the high-quality attributes of grain-fed U.S. pork and beef

Cooks the world over figured out long ago that soups and stews can deliver protein and produce flavor from locally produced meat, which is often lean and flavorless.

“We work to move locals away from long-standing traditions of stewing beef and overcooking pork,” says USMEF Caribbean Representative Liz Wunderlich. “Greater availability of high-quality U.S. beef and pork, along with the COVID lockdown interest in cooking shows, is spurring interest in techniques like grilling and barbecuing throughout the Caribbean.”

In Central America, social media is contributing to growing interest in trends such as grilling and barbecuing for meal preparation and as a social activity on the weekends, says USMEF Representative Lucia Ruano. “Grain-fed U.S. beef and pork is significantly different from domestic product and these attribute differences can be easily highlighted in cooking shows and contests.”

With funding by the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, one such contest was held recently in Guatemala. Called the Smoked Barbecue Championship, U.S. pork and beef entries of 15 teams were evaluated by six international judges.

USMEF Mexico is taking grill education programs directly to importers and end-users with a mobile grill and kitchen, often setting up the educational event in their parking lot or an open area near the importer’s offices.

USMEF Corporate Chef German Navarrete demonstrates how to cut and grill U.S. pork during the Barbecue Fest in San Jose, Costa Rica

Grilling contests and competitions provide opportunities for training about proper cooking techniques for high-quality U.S. pork and beef.

“In partnering with importers on these mobile grill and kitchen workshops, we can teach their current and potential end-user customers how to properly grill high-quality cuts of U.S. pork and beef,” says Gerardo Rodriguez, director of marketing for Mexico, Central America and Dominican Republic. “This approach also enables us to directly introduce a wider range of U.S. pork and beef cuts to end-user customers.

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom adds, “Grilling and barbecuing are growing in popularity in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific and we have developed promotional strategies surrounding grilling and barbecuing activities for the trade, retail and HRI sectors as well as communications strategies for consumers.”