We’re 100% biased, but beef is the universal food language. In Germany, folks love Rouladen, in France, classy people eat beef bourguignon, and in Japan there’s nothing as good as gyūdon.
There are beef lovers everywhere, but when we surveyed 2,000 Americans* across the United States, we discovered there are pockets of the country where people love beef more than the average person. Buckle up, because we’re taking a tour of America’s beef capitals.
#1: The West
When it comes to eating beef, the West is truly best. In fact, Westerners report that they eat beef more than three times per week, making them the region of the U.S. that eats the most beef. The 13 westernmost United States are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Grab a lasso and let’s dig into some of the most infamous eats from the Wild West!
California: Steak and avocado toast, sides optional. According to Statista, about 188 thousand tons of avocados were grown and harvested in California in 2020. That is some major pairing potential, especially when you take a peek at Serious Eats’ steak, avocado, and spicy crema open-faced sandwiches. Bestie, we know what you’re thinking, and yeah, this is fancy avocado toast (in the best way).
Hawaii: Next-level beef stew. Comfort food isn’t just for the South! Hawaiians are known for making satisfying dishes that feed both the belly and the soul. Classic Hawaiian beef stew is one of those dishes, Plays Well With Butter’s recipe uses hearty chuck roast, tons of veggies, shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), and Worcestershire, to name a few of the wholesome ingredients. The result is a savory-tangy-umami stew served over rice that feels like home, even if Hawaii is far from you.
Idaho: Finger steaks. Okay, the name sounds a bit weird, but these are an obsession for Idahoans. They’re so legit that Wine Enthusiast featured them and said, “In a more just world, these battered beef strips would be on bar menus nationwide. In the meantime, finger steaks remain a uniquely Idaho treat. Be careful, these are a near-addiction for many locals.” Their recipe uses tender, beefy teres major, cut into small strips before it’s battered and fried. The internet disagrees about a sauce, listing everything from Asian dipping sauce to country gravy. We won’t judge, take your pick!
#2: The South
Down yonder, there are Beefitarians hankerin’ for massive steaks and tricked-out burgers, which is how they ended up as the second-most beef-obsessed region on our list. If you’re keeping track, “the South” includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. Let’s giddy up to what you came for, some down-home beef recipes.
Texas: Big-a** steaks. If you’ve spent any time watching Food Network, you’ve probably heard Texas and steak frequently used in the same sentence. That sentence often includes the Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo and their famous 72-ounce steak challenge. The challenge? Eat a 72-ounce steak, salad, roll, shrimp cocktail, and a baked potato in an hour. For reference, 72 ounces is about as much as two toasters weigh, but the sheer amount of beefy goodness doesn’t put people off. In fact, the restaurant served its 10,000th 72-ouncer in 2021. Wondering which steak sauce Southerners prefer? A.1. is reported to be their #1 choice.
Louisiana: Beef po-boy. According to New Orleans lore, the po-boy was invented during a streetcar strike in 1929, when 1,800 workers were on the lookout for something tasty and cheap while picketing. The Martin Brothers Restaurant dreamed up this sandwich, and served the workers for free. Blue Plate Mayo’s recipe uses chuck roast, fontina cheese, crusty bread, and of course, Louisiana hot sauce. Need to cool your mouth down after all that spice? Go for iced tea—Southerners prefer to pair beef dishes with iced tea. Who knew?
Florida: Miami ribs. Also known as Korean short ribs or kalbi, Miami ribs are beef short ribs that are sliced into thin strips across the bone to be about 1/2 inch thick. As heavenly as a lovely Miami day, these ribs will make you want to go back for second, maybe even thirds! Kosher.com’s recipe uses a sauce comprised of soy sauce, orange juice, ketchup, honey, and garlic powder. You can find this type of beef cut at many Asian markets!
#3: The Midwest
Dontcha know? Fish fries aren’t the only food tradition in the Midwest. The region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Let’s goooooo!
Illinois: Italian beef. The Bean isn’t the most famous oblong object hailing from Chicago. It’s the Italian beef sandwich. The classic is made up of tender roast beef (frequently beef chuck roast), sliced thin and simmered in juices, served on a French roll with au jus and giardiniera (hot or sweet, your choice). If you’re like Well Plated by Erin, you’ll add pepperoncini and provolone. Midwesterners are the biggest fans of the chuck arm roast in the U.S.—learn more about this versatile cut here.
Missouri: BBQ brisket burnt ends. We’d be remiss to talk about the Midwest without mentioning Kansas City barbecue. A prime example of KC BBQ is burnt ends, sometimes called meat candy. Burnt ends originated as a KC tradition where the crispy, sweet and savory burnt ends of beef brisket were collected on busy days and then served on bread. It caught on like wildfire, and now you can find burnt ends everywhere as a star menu item. Hey Grill Hey went behind the grates with Kansas City barbecue pros to perfect her brisket burnt ends recipe, and OMG, we want some.
Wisconsin: Ope, last but not least, it’s the Badger State. Wisconsin is known for battered cheese curds and brats, which is perfect for this list. Full-beef brats are available across the state, and while they’re typically boiled in beer and topped with onions, there are endless options for brat toppings. Insanely Good Recipes goes beyond the basic and suggests wild topping ideas like wasabi mayo, banh mi slaw, and applesauce.
So, what do you think? Do you live in one of the beefiest regions? If so, you’re the perfect person to explore our beef recipes and cooking tips.
*Survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of JBS USA