In Bizarre Foods Milwaukee, part of the Delicious Destinations series featuring Andrew Zimmern, the host and his crew visited numerous restaurants in the city, showcasing a variety of unique and delicious dishes. Here is a convenient list of all the addresses and dishes highlighted in this exciting exploration of Milwaukee’s food scene.
ANDREW ZIMMERN MILWAUKEE DISH – Cheese Curds
WHAT IS IT?
Cheese curds are fresh, baby cheddar with a unique, squeaky and rubbery texture. The cheese-making process starts with the pasteurization of raw milk, heating it at 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds, followed by transferring it to a large vat for cutting. Acids and flavor-producing bacteria are introduced to create various cheese types and textures. The chef carefully measures the precise amount needed for 27,000 pounds of milk. Next, an enzyme called rennet is added, causing the milk to curdle and form a custard-like texture. The vat is then vertically and horizontally cut to separate the liquid whey from the solid curds. After draining the whey, the meticulous process of cheddaring commences, a skill that takes years to master. The small curds are skillfully knitted together, creating long protein strands that contain amino acids, responsible for the coveted squeak when chewed as they rub against the tooth enamel. For the following hour, the chef repeatedly cuts, turns, and stacks the slabs into tiles to drain any remaining liquid. After adding a generous amount of salt, the curds are ready to be enjoyed.
Cheese curds are a delightfully fresh variety of unpressed, boiled cheese that is served without the aging process. They can be crafted from cheddar, colby, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and other cheeses. For the best experience, cheese curds are ideally consumed on the same day they are made, before being refrigerated for too long, as this preserves their characteristic squeakiness when bitten into.
ANDREW ZIMMERN MILWAUKEE DISH – Bratwurst
WHAT IS IT?
Bratwurst is a fresh sausage variety, never smoked or cured, and commonly prepared by boiling and grilling. It is considered inappropriate to fry. To create Usinger’s distinctive pork bratwurst, the process begins with carefully selected cuts of pork shoulder, hand, and loin, which are ground and seasoned using Fritz’s great grandfather’s precise recipe of special spices. Dry ice is then added to the mixture. The meat is loaded into a stuffing machine, which passes it through a second grinder to enhance its texture. The seasoned pork is swiftly and expertly stuffed into natural hog casings, resulting in the production of around 2,000 exquisite bratwursts that move along the conveyor belt for inspection, packaging, and, ultimately, grilling on hot grills everywhere.
Bratwurst has a rich history dating back to the 14th century in Nuremberg, Germany. During that time, farmers would create flavorful pork sausages seasoned with marjoram in the morning and consume them by noon to prevent spoilage. The popularity of these savory sausages in America can be attributed to German immigrants who settled in Milwaukee.
Frozen custard, distinct from ice cream, is crafted by slow churning a mixture of ice cream batter and tempered egg yolks. The addition of yolks imparts a satin, dense body and a creamy finish to the combination of milk, sugar, and butterfat. Unofficially recognized as the custard capital of the world, Milwaukee residents passionately celebrate their beloved hometown creation. At Kopp’s, a remarkable 150 gallons of custard are consumed each day, boasting over 400 delightful flavors. Today’s featured flavor is “Bark in the Dark,” an enticing blend of custard infused with chocolate sauce and almonds. The process begins with the incorporation of Kopp’s Swiss chocolate custard and creme de cacao paste. A large immersion blender ensures a silky-smooth consistency, followed by the addition of chocolate sauce and creme de cacao flavoring. The custard mixture is then placed in a metallic copper churner, where it undergoes a five-minute churn, deliberately minimizing the introduction of air and preserving Kopp’s renowned dense texture.
Frozen custard was invented in New York City during the summer of 1900 by brothers Archie and Elton Kohr. They sold nearly 18,000 servings for a nickel each to beachgoers at Coney Island, marking a significant debut. The delectable treat gained instant popularity and later made its appearance at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. Eventually, it found its way to Milwaukee, known for its abundance of ice cream and eggs, solidifying the city’s reputation as the custard capital.
ANDREW ZIMMERN BIZARRE FOODS MILWAUKEE DISH – Butter Burger
WHAT IS IT?
The butter burger is a national treasure—a succulent 1/3-pound sirloin patty adorned with a delightful combination of sweet, creamy Wisconsin butter and onions. The process begins by finely chopping white onions, which are then sautéed with original seasonings for over an hour. The 100% sirloin patty is then swiftly placed on the flat top grill and flipped. Finally, a generous dollop of the sautéed onions, along with a spread of soft, room temperature butter, completes this exceptional burger.
WHERE IS IT?
Solly’s Grille 4629 N Port Washington Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53212, United States Milwaukee, United States
Sauerbraten is a delectable dish featuring braised beef that marinates in a blend of spices and vinegar for 10 days, resulting in its distinctive tangy flavor. Head Chef Lucas begins the sauerbraten preparation by combining red wine vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, and pickling spice to create the marinade. The marinade is then added to sirloin ball tip beef, which is rolled and left to rest in the cooler for the next 10 days. Afterward, the meat is browned and combined with the marinade before being cooked in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour and a half. Meanwhile, Chef Lucas prepares a gingersnap sauce, a modern twist on this traditional dish. Leeks, celery, and carrots are sautéed in corn oil, followed by the addition of parsley, bay leaves, two gallons of sauerbraten marinade, gingersnap cookies soaked in red wine vinegar overnight, and sugar. The sauce simmers for 30 minutes until it thickens. Accompanied by homemade smoked pork, wiener schnitzel, and potato dumplings, sauerbraten shines as the star of this German sampler. Topped with a generous ladle of gingersnap sauce, sour cream, and toasted almonds, this dish would make any German mother proud.
WHERE IS IT?
Mader’s Restaurant 1041 N Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53203, United States Milwaukee, United States
Sauerbraten, meaning “sour roast” in German, is revered as one of Germany’s iconic culinary treasures. While traditionally prepared with horse meat, historians trace the origins of this dish back to the 9th century, during the reign of Emperor Charlemagne, when it gained popularity throughout Western Europe.
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