Wisconsin Summer Grilling

Submitted by Megan

There are some things that Wisconsinites are particularly well-known for: amazing cheese (and sausage!), our passion for the Green-&-Gold, and our abiding love for the great outdoors.  When summer hits, everything comes alive in The Northwoods.  You can feel the excitement of the locals in the air; our rush to plant the crops for our short growing season, preparations to make our summer tourists from the south feel welcome, boating-floating-waterskiing-fishing on our 15,000 lakes, hiking in endless miles of wild, unruly forest…  As our Midwestern days become longer, life moves at a different pace when June begins.  We try to cram every bit of outdoor activity we can into each warm day, savoring every pleasant second before the next long, frigid winter creeps in.  …And we want to take advantage of being outside so much that we grill every chance we get.

It’s not uncommon to see grilling occurring year-round in Wisconsin (yes, some of us can’t kick the craving of a nice grilled bratwurst even when it is -40°F out) but the prime time for grilling falls in the undeniably hot and humid summer months.  Summer is Wisconsin’s sweet spot for standing outside with tongs in hand, listening to plump sausages sizzling on hot grill grates.

Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops

Grilling Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bone-In Pork Chops

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When it comes to choosing the perfect ham for your family’s special occasion there are a few basic questions everyone asks, Bone-In or Boneless? Traditional or Spiral-Sliced & Honey-Glazed?  There are no wrong answers; it depends on your personal preference.  There are always a few questions surrounding the topic of preparation. How do I store it? How do I cook it?  How do I serve it?

When you order any of our Applewood Smoked Hams, we enclose a helpful brochure with your shipment, providing directions to give you the best-tasting ham possible.   We also have the same instructions posted on every product page at Nueskes.com …just in case you accidentally toss out your brochure. Look below the product image, on each product page, for this section:

Screen Shot of Nueske's Storage & Preparation Information Section

Screen Shot of Nueske’s Storage & Preparation Information Section

Of course, when things are chaotic in the holiday meal-prep kitchen, it’s easy to have a slip-up.  Here are a few tips to keep your ham preparation going smoothly:

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There are certainly more than just two factors that contribute to the simple perfection that a crisp BLT offers on a summer evening, but the bacon and the tomato would definitely be in our Top 3 Critical BLT Ingredients.

BLT made with Nueske's Smoked Bacon.

BLT made with Nueske’s Smoked Bacon.

When tomato season rolls around in Wisconsin, all the tomato lovers blissfully gather what they can before the frost comes back, tossing anything left green on the vine into paper bags with the ends folded up to allow the firm, green orbs to continue to ripen.  Our season is short, up here in The Northwoods, and we treasure our brief burst of fresh tomatoes… plus, we happen to have the best, most sweetly smoky bacon around to enjoy with our ruby bounty!

We browsed our recipe files and found six Nueske’s recipes that perfectly showcase this fine summer pair.  Acid and crunch, tangy and mellow, sweetness and smoke… grab a few tomatoes from the farmers’ market and your favorite Nueske’s bacon: Applewood Smoked, Wild Cherrywood Smoked Uncured, or Pepper- Coated Bacon.

Give these dishes a try at home and tell us what you think!
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Served in soft flour or corn tortillas with a tangy lime crema, our braised Wild Cherrywood Smoked Bacon Tacos are a simple, fresh meal with layers of sweet, smoky, and slightly spicy flavors.  Featured on WLUK’S “Living With Amy”, you can watch how these tacos are made here.

Braised Nueske’s Bacon Tacos with Lime Crema

Makes 4 tacos


~ 3 oz. Braised Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Slab Bacon, 1/4 – 1/2 inch diced
(braised in apple cider – note on how to braise bacon is below)

~ 1 large cob fresh sweet corn

~ 1/4 tsp. cumin

~ 1/4 tsp. chili powder

~ 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

~ 4 corn or flour tortillas

~ Handful arugula, rinsed

~ Small bunch cilantro, rinsed and bottoms trimmed

~ 3 oz. Quesadilla cheese

~ 1 medium tomato
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Kent Olson’s Campfire Baked Beans

Submitted by Megan

Many of you who are familiar with the summer afternoon cookouts at the Nueske’s Company Store in Wittenberg, Wisconsin have asked us for the recipe for our famously smoky, loaded-with-bacon baked beans that we serve out of “Bob’s Fancy Camper”. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to enjoy our smoked brats and baked beans right at the source, you can create our Campfire Baked Beans at home, using this recipe.

The recipe comes from our long-time Company Store Manager, Kent Olson. Kent uses plenty of both our Applewood Smoked Bacon and our Applewood Smoked Pepper-Coated Bacon, plus dark molasses, brown sugar, and a variety of beans. When he’s making his Campfire Baked Beans for serving at the Company Store, he makes a big Nesco roaster oven full, so we have enough for everyone. If you only want enough to fill a Crock Pot, reduce the amounts shown below to ¼ of what the recipe calls for.

These beans are the perfect side dish for a backyard BBQ, graduation party, or any summer potluck gathering. This is true Midwestern summer potluck food.
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Methods for Cooking Nueske’s Bacon

Submitted by Megan

Here are three of our favorite ways to cook bacon: pan frying, baking, and grilling.

How to Pan Fry Bacon

Pan-frying is the most common and traditional way to cook bacon and also one of the very best ways to fry up a few strips for breakfast or a couple of summer-tomato BLTs. For best results, we start by placing the bacon in an unheated skillet. Then, we cook the bacon strips over Medium Low heat, turning frequently until the bacon is golden brown.

You’ll notice less shrinkage than with other brands because our bacon gets a nice, long smoke in our smokehouse, which means you get more bacon after cooking than you would with non-premium bacon.

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Impress your Valentine.  This is one of the most comforting dishes we know, AND it’s made with only 6 ingredients (if you don’t count the salt, pepper, and parsley garnish).  At least half of the ingredients are likely things you already have in your cupboard or fridge, like eggs, garlic, and olive oil.

Traditional spaghetti carbonara is made with pancetta and heavy on the fresh-cracked black pepper, so we make ours with Applewood Smoked Pepper Coated Bacon, which covers all the bases and adds some extra smokiness to the dish.  We also like to swap out plain parmesan cheese for the Merlot Bellavitano from our Wisconsin neighbors at Sartori.

Spaghetti Carbonara made with Applewood Smoked Pepper-Coated Bacon

Spaghetti Carbonara made with Applewood Smoked Pepper-Coated Bacon

This recipe serves 2-3.

Peppered Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara

1/2 lb. Spaghetti (dry pasta)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 oz. Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Pepper-Coated Bacon, sliced into bite-sized strips
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, diced
1 Large Egg
1/2 C. Sartori Merlot Bellavitano Cheese
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Fresh Parsley, chopped for garnish
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Our Top 10 Easiest, Smokiest Appetizer Recipes

Submitted by Megan

QUICK!  It’s New Year’s Eve and you aren’t doing anything special or making anything you really want to eat.  You can fix that RIGHT NOW.  Here are our top ten most simple, tasty, Nueske’s family-and-employee-tested appetizer recipes that you can whip up with a handful of ingredients and scant or no cooking skills!  For those of you with even moderately well-stocked kitchens, you may not even have to run to the store to make most of these (well, maybe for the figs…).

Here are our picks for recipes that you can still make for tonight:

Figs stuffed with chevre and wrapped in smoky Nueske's Bacon.

Figs stuffed with chevre and wrapped in smoky Nueske’s Bacon.

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This is on the list of food to prepare for the weekend: a warm bowl of soup LOADED with vegetables and lean, smoky chunks of tender turkey breast. Serve this with fresh, crusty bread and butter.  Our recipe is such a quick one that you could easily whip up a batch of this smoky turkey soup for a weeknight meal.  The beans and turkey make it filling and the fennel adds mild, pleasant flavor.  If you’ve hesitated to cook with fennel, this is a good recipe to give it a first try… you’ll likely be using it more often after you taste this!

Applewood Smoked Turkey & Fennel Soup with White Beans

Applewood Smoked Turkey & Fennel Soup with White Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves 8 (or 4 very hungry people)

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We’re getting out our warm, cozy Midwestern comfort food recipes for fall… and we’ve got LOTS, so expect more of them as the cold hits! This is a recipe straight from Darlene Nueske, Bob’s wife, and her two sisters.  We had this dish in our recipe book long before the recent Cauliflower Renaissance of the past few winter seasons.  Whether it’s due to the carbohydrate reduction craze or just because of a growing general interest in incorporating more vegetables into our diets, people are warming up to cauliflower as nutritious carb substitute.  This recipe sure proves that it’s a meal-worthy vegetable!

Savory Cauliflower Au Gratin with diced Nueske's Applewood Smoked Ham.

Savory Cauliflower Au Gratin with diced Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Ham.

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