A couple of T-bone steaks or a round of cheeseburgers is likely to cost you a bit less this summer.

Go ahead, throw another T-bone on the grill. Thanks to a boom in beef production, steaks and burgers will finally be cheap enough this summer to rival pork and chicken.

The surge in output means the U.S. is headed for a meat bonanza. Americans are expected to eat 8 percent more red meat and poultry per capita this year compared with three years earlier — a record jump in government data going back to 1970. Beef, in particular, is expected to see increased consumer demand as prices in grocery stores drop, making the meat more competitive.

Retailers and restaurants are loading up on beef supplies, signaling that customers will enjoy summer promotions. Adding to the demand outlook is recent news that the U.S. may be getting closer to restarting trade with China, the world's second-biggest beef buyer, opening a market that's been shut since 2003. The brightening picture is drawing the attention of hedge funds, who have the most bullish holding on cattle futures since June 2014.

"If you lower prices enough, you can get products sold not just in the near term, but for the next three to five months," said Altin Kalo, an analyst at Manchester, New Hampshire-based Steiner Consulting Group, an economic and commodity-trading adviser. "For two or three years we were in a situation where beef went up and up, and it became difficult to run full promotions. Suddenly, the market switched and allowed more operators to do that."

While pork and chicken and typically less expensive than beef, the gap between the prices is narrowing. Steak's premium over pork chops is down 6.5 percent from a year ago.

Above-average temperatures, favorable to grilling, and strengthening consumer confidence are also helping demand. As of April 7, the four-week average of beef sales for delivery between 22 and 60 days out was 34 percent more than a year earlier, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Steiner Consulting. The trend of higher sales has persisted all this year.

Even with booming demand and near-term supply tightness, the futures curve signals price declines in the longer-term. Contracts through the end of the year are trading at a discount to June futures.