The Beauty in the Beef

For the love of South Dakota Beef

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Team BEEF South Dakota


It’s no mystery that in order to achieve optimal health, we must combine a healthy and nutritious diet with an active lifestyle.  Doing one without the other, simply doesn’t cut it.  At the South Dakota Beef Industry Council we LOVE promoting lean beef as a part of a healthy diet, but we recently took it a step further and created a program that also promotes physical activity.  Enter, Team BEEF. 

This is our second year of having Team BEEF South Dakota, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!  The program is designed to promote the consumption of beef to the athletic population as well as spreading the message about beef’s powerful nutrition.  Individuals whom are passionate about our state’s beef industry and are physically active are welcome to join Team BEEF at no cost.  In fact, there are some wonderful incentives to being a part of the team!

In appreciation for promoting the South Dakota Beef Industry in such a positive and healthful manner, team members are given an exclusive Under Armour Team BEEF jersey as well as race entry reimbursement of up to $100 for any of our sponsored events.  Also, this year we have added a “runners choice” race for reimbursement.  Joining the team is simple and the benefits are great! So, if you are a runner (weekend warriors welcome!) who is passionate about South Dakota Beef- sign up to be a part of our team!  

The 2013 roster is filling up quickly- don’t miss out on this great opportunity! 

For more information about Team BEEF and to sign up, visit: 



Wine & Dine with Beef

The marriage of beef and wine used to be as easy as steak and something rich and red.   While that idea remains a favorite classic, today’s menus offer a brave new world of possibilities- and today’s beef might mean anything from Thai steak salad to fajitas or Tuscan braised short ribs.  As for wine, thousands of brands are now available in the United States.  At no other time in history have the possibilities of pairing beef and wine been so thrilling, so delicious, so limitless.  So how can you make sense of all the options?   

The truth is, there are no rigid rules.  Extraordinary flavor affinities do exist, but they are not the predictable result of scientific principles.  Rather, great matches are born from instinct, imagination, and a lot of fun experimentation.  And when they happen, “wow” moments of beef and wine are like sensory fireworks.   

One thing is certain.  Beef and wine share more than just flavor affinities.  They’re both about experience.  More than most foods and most beverages, beef and wine are sensual and deeply rooted in pleasure and satisfaction.  

Beef & Wine: Principles of Pairing

After years of pairing different beef dishes and hundreds of different wines, here are some principles we’ve found:

  • Pair great with great, humble with humble.  Aged prime rib is far more satisfying when it’s served with a wine of commensurate greatness.  Similarly, pot roast feels just right with a juicy, humble wine.
  • Work with natural flavor affinities.  As any good cook knows, coffee and cream have an affinity for each other that coffee and basil do no.  So trust your instincts when it comes to beef and wine.  Beef’s density and deep flavors have an affinity with rich, powerful wines.  Fragile wines or extremely light-bodied ones may taste out of place.  
  • Complex wines go with simple preparations.  Many of the greatest bordeaux or California cabernet sauvignons are best enjoyed with a high-quality but simple dish, such as a fine steak.
  • Robust seasonings require robust wines.  Beef dishes with bold/spicy/hot flavors are perfect for spicy, big-flavored wines.  Which is one reason many Latin beef dishes work so well with zinfandel, and why certain “pyrotechnic” Asian beef dishes with lots of chile heat or piquancy from ingredients like garlic and ginger are so good with outrageously fruity gewurztraminers. 
  • Watch “weight” when pairing.  Besides the intensity of the flavor, the sheer weight of the beef dish and the weight (or “body”) of the wine should be in harmony.  A light-bodied wine will feel about as weighty as skim milk in your mouth; a full-bodied wine will feel like half-and-half.  If the beef dish is hearty and substantial, it will work best with a wine that’s full in body.
  • Fruitiness in food and fruitiness in wine have natural synergy.  Dishes with a significant fruit component to them- a Moroccan tagine made with dried fruit, for example- often paired beautifully with fruity red wines like gamay or Australian shiraz.
  • Tannin can be beef’s best friend.  Tannin is a compound that comes from grape skin and seeds.  Some grape varieties, such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petite sirah and nebbiolo, are naturally high in this compound.  Tannin acts as the wine’s structure, and wines that are high in tannin are usually described as “big.”  Tannin tastes bitter and feels dry.  High-tannin wines taste best with dense foods that are rich in both protein and marbling, which offset this bitterness and dryness.
  • Don’t forget roses.  Rose wines, often overlooked are wonderful with a surprising range of beef dishes.  Roses have the earthy, bold red-fruit character of red wine and the freshness and acidity of white wine.  This combination is an enormous asset with certain beef dishes- especially those that include high pungent ingredients, such as garlic.  In the Mediterranean, for example, aioli and other garlicky foods are always served with a chilled dry rose. 
  • Balance salty with sweet.  Salty foods dull the flavor of many wines, making them taste neutral.  This is an important consideration for beef dishes seasoned with a significant amount of soy sauce.  Acidity can counterbalance a foods saltiness, but another brilliant strategy is to juxtapose that saltiness with a touch of sweetness.  An Asian beef stir-fry seasoned with soy sauce, for example, is terrific with an off-dry gewurtztraminer.  

 Here is quick reference pairing guide: 



Riesling, White Zinfandel

Beef Ribs

Pinot Noir, Zinfandel

Beef Bourguignon

Malbec, Syrah/Shiraz

Beef Stew

Red Bordeaux, Rioja

Beef Wellington

Dolcetto, Sauvignon Blanc

Beef Tartare

Pinot Blanc, Riesling

Corned Beef 

Malbec, Zinfandel


Cotes du Rhone, Zinfandel

Pot Roast

Cabrenet Sauvignon, Zinfandel

Roast Beef w/Gravy or Au Jus

Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel

Steak & Prime Rib 


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