Drought in southwest U.S. driving beef prices up

The drought that's affecting parts of the southwest is so severe it's driving up the cost of food for cows.

That means the price of beef at the store is also soaring to record highs for this time of year.

Americans are firing up the grill but that sizzle you hear just might be the price of the beef.

Today your ground beef burger costs $3.26 a pound - up 9 percent from a year ago.

A sirloin steak? That's $6.86 a pound - up 7 percent over last summer

Blame it on last year's drought - the worst in U.S. history - that dried up grazing grasses and sent the costs of corn and soybeans soaring.

The current drought in the southwest continues to wipe out the feed and make it very expensive to raise cattle.

In response, ranchers slashed the size of their herds. the u.s. now has the smallest number of cattle since 1952.

So what to do?

Families are sharing their tips from barbeque grills.

Some say they mixing black beans & bread crumbs with their
ground beef to make it stretch.

Others say turkey is the new T-bone this year.

New Jersey chef Wally Weaver says it's all about portion control.

"I recommend not to change in quality but go for a smaller portion size, that way you save a little money and you still get what you want to eat," he said. "It's a couple of ounces and we have awesome sides that we serve with the steaks and the other dishes you don't really notice."

A restaurant trick that will serve your family well as experts tell us there's no end in sight for these red hot prices.