Higher meat prices not putting a damper on Memorial Day barbecues

Posted at 7:03 PM, May 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-26 19:26:49-04

Lamean Sanders has been coming to Fort Greene Park with his family for an annual Memorial Day weekend barbeque for years.

But this year Sanders says there’s a lot more chicken on the grill than usual.

That’s because when he went shopping for the groceries, he couldn’t believe the price of beef.

“It seems like instead of me spending 150 or 200 bucks, now I’m going to the 350, 400-dollar range, 500-dollar range, just for beef,” Sanders said.

He’s not just blowing smoke.

The U-S Department of Agriculture says this week the price of choice-grade beef, the most common type in the U.S., jumped to $2.11 — an all-time high.

And thanks to drought conditions in herding states, the number of cattle in the country is the lowest it’s been since the 1950’s.

But it’s not just the cost of beef that’s milking the wallets of people barbecuing this holiday season.

Irene Robinson also makes the Fort Greene Park barbeque part of her family tradition, and she says this year it was more expensive than ever.

“The gas prices went up, the meat went up, everything went up this year except for…my salary,” she said.

So with the price of beef rising at local supermarkets, many of the people here at Fort Green Park say they’ve been forced to decide between quantity and quality when it comes to their Memorial Day barbeque.

Even if it does cost more, the people we spoke to say they won’t cancel their feast as they celebrate the end of winter.

“Oh no I won’t stop barbequing, I’ll just have to spend a little bit more on beef.”

“This is like the beginning of summer.  So this is like a family tradition for us to come out, sit and laugh and talk with each other.”

And you can’t put a price on that.