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Steak Rules The Roost On America’s Grills

Rick Bonino Food Editor

Go ahead, grill that chicken - if you don’t care about being trendy, that is.

Following four years of chicken supremacy, steak is back as the most-barbecued food in America, according to the new Weber GrillWatch Survey.

In fact, chicken came in fourth - behind not only steaks (grilled by 97.8 percent of survey participants), but hamburgers (97.4 percent) and hot dogs (93 percent, compared to chicken’s 92.1 percent). Ribs finished a distant fifth, at 81.5 percent.

The survey also showed that, for the first time, more Americans use gas grills (58 percent) than the traditional charcoal models (39.3 percent), with almost 10 percent owning both.

The gas gap was narrower in the Northwest, 53.2 percent to 40.3 percent. Charcoal was most popular in California (60 percent); gas was most dominant in the Northeast (82 percent).

By the way, Weber has launched a World Wide Web site (www.weberbbq.com) with lots of recipes, grilling tips and product information. And all it takes is a telephone to get advice through the Weber Grill-Line, (800) 474-5568, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST.

Job well-done

If you’re barbecuing burgers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns that even ground beef that’s brown in the middle may not have reached the 160-degree internal temperature necessary to kill E. coli and other harmful bacteria.

On the other hand, some patties that are still pink inside may actually be safe to eat. Just to be sure, USDA recommends using a meat thermometer.

Fair game

Three nationally sponsored cooking contests will again be staged at this year’s Spokane Interstate Fair.

Winners of the Softasilk Champion Cake Contest and the Land O’Lakes Butter Best Cookie Contest will each receive $100.

And the victor in the ever-popular Best Spam Recipe Competition - which is limited to the first 50 entries (can you imagine those poor judges having to sample more than 50 Spam delicacies in one sitting?) - will compete with other fair contest winners from around the country for a $2,500 Mall of America shopping spree.

Written entries in all three contests are due Aug. 5. Participants then will bring their prepared dishes for judging at various times during the fair, which runs Sept. 5-14.

For complete details, see the fair’s premium book (free copies are available at your local library). The book contains an official fair entry form, which may be photocopied if you’re entering more than one contest.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: We’re always looking for fresh food news. Write to: The Fresh Sheet, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Call 459-5446; fax 459-5098.

We’re always looking for fresh food news. Write to: The Fresh Sheet, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Call 459-5446; fax 459-5098.

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