Take a Sweet, Smoky Detour to These Minnesota Meat Shops
By Lisa Meyers McClintick
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You can’t help but salivate in a room filled with fine-crafted, Old World links and rings that emanate smoky, salty, spiced deliciousness.
Minnesota meat markets pass a traditional craft and recipes to the next generations, often continuing their ethnic heritage with traditional favorites such as Italian porketta, Polish sausage, smoked fish and venison. They also elevate camping trips and resort vacations with brats and burgers, steaks and chops sizzling atop grills and satisfying tummies statewide.
Here’s where to find some of the best meat markets en route to your next Minnesota vacation or epic summer weekend.
Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
Everett's Food & Meats, Minneapolis
This meat shop tucked into a Minneapolis grocery store on East 38th Street sells a savory breakfast sausage, German-style skin-on wieners, smoked chicken, ribs and pork chops, and reacquaints customers with the homemade braunschweiger and bologna that were popular when they opened in 1956.
Hackenmueller's Meat Market, Robbinsdale
This butcher shop has been around for 80 years—plenty of time to perfect the bacon its customers love, buying 600 to 700 pounds each week. The staff offers free grilling advice, premium cuts, stuffed chops and chicken, Swedish sausage and ground bison.
Ingebretsen's Butcher Shop & Deli, Minneapolis
In the midst of this East Lake Street oasis of all things Scandinavian—crafts, gifts, books and culture classes—the refrigerated case entices shoppers with home-smoked ham and bacon, dried meats, Danish liver pate, klub (blood sausage), Swedish herring and anchovies, and fresh lutefisk. And the Swedish meatball mix? They literally sell a ton a day during the holiday season. Don’t forget the lefse, or learn to make your own at Scandinavian cooking classes.
This delicatessen and European bakery connect to a restaurant where diners can order steaming plates of Ukrainian meatballs, pierogis, peasant pie and cabbage rolls, in addition to Krakowska, Jaternice and three dozen other sausage varieties, some of which are also sold at Target Field.
Pekarna's Meat Market, Jordan
More than a century after Bohemian settlers opened this market in 1893, you can still follow your nose toward whiffs of wood smoke, maple and garlic. Kids nibble on a free slice of bologna or lunch meat while parents peruse the Italian and German sausages, smoked ribs and hams that may be packaged by the family’s fifth generation, which still uses some of the original recipes.
The Herbivorous Butcher, Minneapolis
This newcomer opened in 2014 and is worth including for what it lacks: meat. Their innovative small-batch vegan options read like a butcher shop: brats, steak, ribs, bacon and jerky. They offer a few takeout sandwiches daily, plus advice for using their meat alternatives for savory sandwiches and entrees.
Thielen Meats, Pierz & Little Falls
This small-town business that started in 1922 has earned its share of national shout-outs for perfecting its lean smoked bacon that inspires detours 12 miles east of U.S. Highway 10. Customers can shop for ready-to-bake meatloaf, 100 varieties of smoked sausage, Amish-grown chicken and prime steaks for grilling. The Little Falls location continues many of the shop’s traditions and is owned by a branch of the same family.
St. Joseph Meat Market, St. Joseph
Grill lovers heading north on Interstate 94 to campsites and cabins can swing by to try more than 60 varieties of homemade sausage. They range from the familiar—andouille, Landjaeger, chorizo and kielbasa—to lesser-known versions inspired by everything from funeral hot dishes to fajitas. They also make nationally award-winning pork sausage and braunschweiger.
McDonald's Meats, Clear Lake
In another handy location for northbound travelers, this market near U.S. Highway 10 has racked up hundreds of awards for products that four generations of owners have perfected since 1914. Smoked blueberry wild rice sausages and bacon in a dozen flavors rank among its bestsellers, as do a dozen types of summer sausage, snack sticks, and jerky from bison to turkey that offer savory road trip munchies.
Northern Waters Smokehaus, Duluth
This thriving Canal Park sandwich shop showcases its house-smoked Cajun salmon, Lake Superior whitefish and trout, salmon pate and artisan salumis, but also sells meats to-go for charcuterie spreads and sandwiches by the lake.
Russ Kendall's Smoke House, Knife River
Enjoy the brown-sugary, silvery-skinned locally caught and smoked trout and whitefish plus pink filets of salmon in one of the last remaining North Shore fish shops.
Cobb Cook Grocery & Butcher Shop, Hibbing
For easy summer meals, this 1972 shop stacks up ready-to-grill chicken and beef kabobs and taps regional football rivalries with its Viking brats with wild rice, mozzarella and onion or Packer brats with cheddar, sauerkraut and onion.
Koshar's Sausage Kitchen, Gilbert
This Iron Range shop has tapped the region’s Slovenian and Croatian heritage since 1921 with Polish sausage, Slovenian rice sausage, Polish jerky, porketta (a pork shoulder stuffed with herbs and fresh fennel) and homemade pepperoni.
Stittsworth Meats, Bemidji
Families can fill their freezers with dozens of meat bundles, savory brats, turkey drumsticks, pepper sticks, sausage bacon-stuffed chops, dried beef, and sausages flavored with mango habanero, green olives or Bemidji Brewing beers.
Neil's Quality Meats, McIntosh
Traditional recipes, such as German sauerkraut sausage, blend with more modern ones, such as rolled-up Reuben-stuffed roasts and Hawaiian-style chicken stuffed with wild rice and pineapple. Additional food finds might include klubb, Norwegian potato dumplings.
Greg's Meats, Hampton
This town may be tiny, but this meat market has won big at state and national competitions since it opened in 1987 selling jerky, hot dogs, summer sausage, ring bologna and smoked turkey. Jazz up breakfast with bourbon or hot honey among its many bacon flavors.
Schmidt's Meats, Nicollet
Southern Minnesota’s largest meat market taps the area’s famously German roots with a “Willkommen” (Welcome) sign, award-winning bacon and summer sausage, and specialties such as Gretzwurst and sulze (head cheese). Grab German-style beers in New Ulm, home of Schell’s Brewery, only 16 miles away.
Lisa Meyers McClintick is a prolific travel writer for outlets including USA Today, Midwest Living, the Star Tribune and her website lisamcclintick.com. A mom of three, she especially enjoys family travel, hands-on learning vacations, local food and farms, living history and outdoor adventures.
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