If you're planning a backyard barbecue in the near future, get ready to fork over more money.

Beef prices have hit at an all-time high and they're expected to keep rising. So what's causing the price hike?

A couple of years ago, prices were about half of what they are now. Mother Nature has a lot to do with the prices, as does supply and demand. And, unfortunately high prices aren't likely letting up anytime soon.

Picking up your favorite cuts of meat from the grocery store isn't as pleasant as it used to be. If you haven't noticed, you're probably paying quite a bit more than you used to.

"Ground beef is at about $2.99 and that's pretty much stayed. It's your higher end steaks that we've seen the high jump in, about $2/lb.," says Richard Vasquez, meat department manager, Wood-dale Meat Market, Bakersfield, CA.

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