Got Beef? Memorial Day grilling doesn't come cheap - KMSP-TV

Got Beef? Memorial Day grilling doesn't come cheap

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Gas isn't the only 'commodity' with prices on the rise. Have you seen the prices of beef lately? Your weekend cookout could be in for a sticker shock.

During the holidays, beef prices typically rise, but adding drought conditions and a low supply of cattle to the mix and you're seeing record prices at some meat counters.

At Hackenmueller Meat Market, the lines are long, phones are ringing off the hook, because beef is in high demand.

It's the start of Memorial Day weekend and this Robbinsdale institution owned by Gordy Lindenfelser has taken over a meat market that's been in the biz since 1882.

It's a one-stop shop for grilling.

"Mostly it's steak and ground beef, hamburger patties," Lindenfelser said.

However, for some, the prices are shocking.

"Every time there's a special weekend going on, they always seem to inflate the price on stuff," customer Brian Jensen said.

The price of wholesale beef closed this week at an all-time high. For the summer grilling season, that means you're paying at least 6 percent more for your beef than you did this time last year.

"During the holidays a lot of times the prices go up, and they always have all the years I have been in business," Lindenfelser said.

This time around, it's more than just a holiday phenomenon. Karen Schaefer with the Minnesota Beef Council cites some of the reasons for higher prices: Drought conditions in southern beef producing states, higher feed prices and a lower supply of cattle in the U.S. In addition, prices hike due to demand for the product overseas.

Unfortunately for beef lovers, Schaefer says turning around this price trend could depend on the weather.

"If we are getting the rains in the appropriate locations in the country, if those cattlemen and women are able to repopulate their heard," Schaefer said.

Even then, analysts say it could take a couple years before prices go down.

Despite the higher prices for beef, Memorial Day ranks third in beef sales behind Labor Day and the Fourth of July.

At Hackenmueller, the beef will keep making its way out the door and onto the grill.

"Pile ‘em high and watch them buy," Lindenfelser says.

So how much higher will beef prices go? No one has an answer. However, here's advice from some butchers: If you don't want to pay for expensive beef like fillet mignon, ask for cheaper cuts that could be as tasty Of course, there are other alternatives for grilling, like chicken or pork that tend to cost less. Maybe it's time to expand your palate.

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