Behind the Scenes of Dinner on the Grill

On September 15, 2017

Juicy hamburger

What would cooking on your grill be like without a Kansas farmer or rancher? It would probably resemble a sad pile of burning coals with no juicy steaks or burgers to tempt you. Let’s take a look at this amazing American tradition that features a lot of delicious Kansas-grown food.

Burgers, Brats & Hot Dogs — Yes, Please!

Bring on the burgers and brats! The main attraction of any feast on the grill is the meat. Those mouth-watering, sizzling steaks, sausages and such connect back to Kansas in a big way.

  • Cattle outnumber people in Kansas! There are more than twice as many cattle in the state as there are people — 6.4 million cattle versus 2.9 million people.
  • Cattle make effective use of about 15.5 million acres of pasture that’s not suitable to grow crops. As some of Mother Nature’s best recyclers, cattle can process many plant parts that are inedible for us humans, and turn that feed into food. In 2016, nearly 5.4 billions pounds of beef was produced in the state. Learn more about how beef production works.
  • There are about 1,000 hog farms in Kansas. In 2016, hogs from those operations produced more than 600 million pounds of ham, chops, sausage and the like.
  • Plus, feed for hogs (and cattle) comes from many Kansas staple crops like corn, grain sorghum and soybeans. Kansas hog farms consume almost 40 million bushels of those feeds combined! Without those Kansas crops, those Kansas hogs would not taste as good or produce as much food.

All the Fixin’s

Adding a slice of cheese? Want to top it off with some mayo or ketchup? Those gooey extras just might come from Kansas, too!

  • There are about 300 dairy farms and 151,000 dairy cows in Kansas that produce milk used to make cheese and other delicious staples. In Kansas, the average dairy cow produces about 7 gallons of milk per day — that’s more than 2,500 gallons of milk in a year!
  • A key ingredient in mayonnaise is vegetable oil, which comes from soybeans and Kansas produces more than 142 million bushels of soybeans a year. In fact, Kansas is the 11th largest soybean producer in the United States
  • Although tomatoes aren’t one of the top veggies (or fruits, to be technical about it) grown in Kansas, we have some great growers! Meet one Kansas operation that grows tomatoes and other produce.


Naturally, wheat is a big part of this barbecue must-have. With whole wheat and white flour options, buns come in all varieties so you can cater the flavor to your preferred taste.

  • Perhaps some of the flour came from one of the 340+ million bushels of wheat grown in Kansas, which is the largest producer of wheat in the United States on average.
  • About one-third of the 60,000 farmers in Kansas grow wheat on their farms.

Want to do-it-yourself? Here’s an old favorite bun recipe.

Fruits and Veggies

Meat isn’t the only thing that goes great on the grill! That’s right. Grilling brings out delicious flavors in fruits and vegetables, too. Or, you can serve them up fresh in a side salad. Meet a few Kansas produce farmers:

Not sure what to cook for your next barbecue? Follow our Great on the Grill Pinterest board for some delicious recipes!

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More Iconic Meals

Check out more behind-the-scenes looks at iconic American meals and how Kansas farmers play a part in them!