There is something about February that makes me think about beef. I don’t know if it is my longing for the warm summer nights and enjoying grilling with family and friends in the midst of these freezing cold temperatures or seeing the cattle graze fields of cornstalks for their winter food. Agriculture is the number one industry in Nebraska, and cattle production is the largest part of the agricultural industry.  It is almost certain that the beef industry has impacted every one of us.

The main reason why I love beef (and it’s pretty much my go-to) is because it provides nutritious meals for my family, especially my two young boys. Beef is always something I can cook and know they will eat. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important to me, and eating beef is part of our healthy diets. Beef has 10 essential nutrients including protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins that support an overall healthy lifestyle.

Aside from thinking about how beef is a healthy choice for my children to consume, it is also a great thing for my own health, as well. Having children, nursing babies and remaining healthy can be a big strain on a mother’s body, and having good nutrition is essential. Sometimes as a mother, it is hard to get enough necessary protein, but eating beef is a great way to consume the protein your body desperately needs. I found the chart (pictured here) on the Nebraska Beef Council’s website that shows just how protein-packed beef is. It is amazing how just three ounces of beef can be packed with so much protein. Having a diet that is high in healthy protein such as beef is vital to your overall health and wellness.

Source: Nebraska Beef Council

There are many different ways to enjoy beef and still receive excellent health benefits. Many nights we enjoy ground beef because it’s so versatile. However, the recipe I am going to share with you uses beef ribs. I used to dread making ribs, thinking the only way you can do it properly is by letting them marinate before putting them on the grill. I am not organized enough to plan ahead and take the meat out the night before and let it marinate. That just rarely happens. While I love food that is grilled, I am not a griller, and I am NOT going to go out to the grill in February weather even if I was! I found this awesome recipe for amazing beef ribs you can make right in your kitchen. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming when you are in the butcher shop or meat section at your local grocery store. There are two different types of beef ribs that you can buy, full slab or short ribs. I find when I make this recipe that the full slab is the best to use (although I have tried both). Most beef ribs come with a membrane or skin on them. It is a thin skin-like layer on the bone side of the ribs. If you leave this membrane on when you make them, it will keep out the flavor and turn into a hard material when they are cooked, making them very difficult to eat. So, if your ribs come with that, make sure you cut it off before seasoning.

 Start by picking a dry rub you like. I have several of them, so I usually just rotate them with each recipe. If you prefer, you could make a blend of your own herbs and spices to use as a rub. Before I add my rub, I start by slathering the ribs(?) with liquid smoke. Once all seasoned, I place the rib bone-side down on foil and seal the foil to make a packet. I then set this foil packet of ribs on a baking sheet that is lined with foil (because, let’s be honest, who likes to have all that extra clean- up after supper) and let them bake at 275 degrees for three hours. After three hours, the ribs will need to come out of the foil and bake a while longer. This is when my husband likes to baste the ribs in BBQ sauce, but I like to taste the real flavor of the meat without it being covered up by a sauce. Either way is delicious!

Having the ribs cook in the foil makes them moist because the foil holds in all the moisture and doesn’t allow the oven to dry them out. The safe cooking temp for beef is 160 degrees, but with ribs it may take a little more heat to make the meat fall off the bone–up to about 200 degrees.  Sometimes it’s tough to get a good temperature reading on a rib, but if you simply use a fork to lift the rib and the meat appears to be falling off, they are done. Serve with your favorite sides and you have a delicious protein-packed meal your family will love!