Talk about a grill buster. Just in time for summer barbecue season, the price of beef is skyrocketing, which is putting out the flames of meat lovers everywhere.
A ground beef burger costs $3.26 a pound, up from $2.99 a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Steak averages $4.81 a pound at the store and ground beef $3.51 — historically high numbers, according to economists.
The spike is caused in part by high feed costs because of several droughts that have led to the smallest number of cattle in the U.S. herd since 1952. Last year’s drought — the worst in U.S. history — dried up grazing grasses and sent the costs of corn and soybeans, both used in cattle feed, soaring. The current drought in the Southwest continues to wipe out the feed and make it very expensive to raise cattle.
Overall, beef prices have trended up each month since 2011 on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' consumer price index and experts don't expect prices to go down through two of the most popular grilling holidays: Father's Day and July 4.
There are ways to take the sizzle out of your wallet, such as picking less-expensive cuts such as flat-iron steak or a flank steak.
But here are the top luxury cuts that you may want to avoid all together:
This is the gold standard of beef cuts, being the most tender and one of the most expensive. Its price come from the fact that this is the part of the beef that doesn’t get “overworked” in the animal’s lifetime. But to have this cut of beef, it will cost you. According to the USDA, a piece of tenderloin is now about $10.99 a pound.
2. Filet Mignon
Filet mignon is taken from the small end of the tenderloin and is known as the “king of steaks.” It can often be cut with a fork, it’s so tender. According to the USDA the price per pound is as much as $13.99.
3. The T-Bone
The T-bone is a piece of tenderloin, and a piece of strip separated by a T-shaped bone. The porterhouse steak, is a bigger portion of the T-bone -- cut from further back and has a section of tenderloin at least 1 1/2-inches wide. Either one will require some cash. According to the USDA both will cost you ubout $10.99 a pound.
4. The Strip
Sold as New York Strip, Kansas City Strip or Delmonico, a strip steak is a cut of beef from the back of a cow, behind the ribs prized and prized for its flavor and tenderness. If you want to throw this cut on the barbecue, it will cost you upwards of $13.99 a pound, according to the USDA.