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.

To Pan Fry:
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 bacons.

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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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Tailgating With Applewood Smoked Grilled Sausages

Submitted by Megan

It’s nearing the end of summer up here and this means the end of Midwestern grilling season.  The lower part of the country probably gets to hang on to the warm weather for a while, but in Wisconsin, we’ll be packing up the sunscreen and lawn chairs pretty quickly.  We’re guessing that you’ve probably seen images of hardened tailgating Northwoods Packer fans.  We hunker down in our green and gold, tending our grills in the drifting snow, wearing aprons and stocking caps at the same time.  Understand that when we say “the end of grilling season”, what we mean is that we can no longer wear shorts while we cook out of doors, but we won’t let it stop us from preparing Wisconsin specialties on our grills on any day of the year.

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Recipe Pick: Summer Sausage & Roasted Vegetables

Submitted by Megan

At first glance, this recipe might look like a winter vegetable dish, but it’s very fresh with lots of bright flavors, and if you serve it cold, it would make an excellent summer picnic or potluck dish, just make sure you double the recipe if you’re serving a bigger crowd. Plus, it’s almost time to start picking those green beans out in the garden, at least if you’re in our Midwestern neck of the woods.

Nueske's Summer Sausage & Roasted Vegetables

Simple Recipe: Nueske's Summer Sausage & Roasted Vegetables


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BLT Season

Submitted by Megan

BLT season is almost upon us.  The farmer’s markets up here in Wisconsin are starting to open and soon the market tables will be full of produce in addition to the pre-garden season tables laden with jars of local honey, last season’s salsa or pickles, and pure, golden maple syrup.  Soon there will be more zucchini than any one cook can handle, golden and deep purple beets, small creamy potatoes, tall bundles of dill, and then… the reds and yellows of REAL tomatoes.  Nothing you can buy at the store, no matter what the season, ever compares to tomatoes like this.  Tomatoes from the garden.  Tomatoes that smell like leaves of the plant they came from – you know what we mean if you’ve ever brushed up against or crushed a tomato plant leaf.  There is NOTHING like it.  In a state that has such an abbreviated growing season, we wait all year for this round, juicy bounty.

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Another Baconfest Chicago has come and gone and let us tell you: BFC 2014 – the sixth annual – was the biggest and best Baconfest we’ve ever seen – and we’ve seen our fair share of pork parties.  Three sessions comprised of over 170 of Chicago’s best restaurants competing for the coveted Golden Rasher award and serving up dishes ranging from crispy Bacon Tacos and warm Bacon Griddle Cakes to Bacon-Laced Risotto and a variety of Bacon-Infused Cocktails, there was a bacon-serenading barbershop quartet, porky costume contests, and even a spot of porcine poetry.   Nueske’s was proud to supply nearly 7,800 pounds of our deeply smoky bacon to the chefs and partners of Baconfest Chicago this year.

One of the Baconfest special features nearest our heart is the Nueske’s Amateur Bacon Cookoff, featuring recipes created by individuals who are not culinary professionals.  Each year, we’ve been impressed with the quantity and quality of recipes entered in the cookoff and the skill and care with which these amateur cooks create their recipes.  The quantity and quality of recipes entered in the 2014 Cookoff was the most impressive that we’ve seen, to date.   The level of creativity and skill surpassed what we expected from any group of non-professional cooks, even from the talented populace of Chicago.

Many amateur cooks entered, but only five earned the right to be the finalists at Baconfest Chicago.  The five finalists in the Nueske’s Amateur Bacon Cookoff were:

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