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Touring Wisconsin Food

Tag: burgers

Wisconsin Artisan Spotlight: Navarino Elk and Buffalo Ranch

wisc-artisan-navarino-1The artisans of Wisconsin make products with pride and passion, and Terry Diedrich of Navarino Valley Elk and Buffalo Ranch is the perfect example. Today I got the chance to talk to him about his business. Terry raises elk and buffalo and sells the meat to local restaurants and farmers market patrons. He also sells jerky and summer sausage on

Terry was born and raised in Wisconsin in a family of dairy farmers. He knew he wanted to work in agriculture, but he decided to work smarter. He learned that raising elk and buffalo would be less labor intensive than milking cows, and since elk and buffalo don’t mind a few hills, he could raise his animals on rough terrain. Today Terry has over 100 elk and 200 bison on his ranch.

After a few minutes of talking to Terry you can tell there’s a deeper purpose to his business than making elk jerky and buffalo burgers. Terry is committed to raising animals without the use of antibiotics and hormones. I asked him how people feel about less common meat varieties.

“Initially people didn’t get it,” Terry said, “But more and more people have learned about the health benefits of elk and bison.”

The health benefits he’s talking about are apparent when you compare elk and bison to more common meats like beef and pork.  Elk and buffalo have less fat, less cholesterol, and  more omega-3s. Terry also raises his animals free from hormones and antibiotics. Since the details of modern agriculture are too dull for a food fun blog, I won’t get into that, but let’s just say that Terry is committed to raising animals to make the best quality meat available.

Just for fun, I asked Terry about his favorite elk or buffalo dish. He loves a good gourmet burger, especially if there’s a homemade bun and gourmet toppings involved. You can find more yummy food photos on the Navarino Elk and Buffalo Ranch Facebook page, or shop for gift baskets of elk and bison sausage and jerky on

Have you ever tried elk or buffalo meat? What do you think?

As a special gift to Edible Antics readers, you can enter promotion code FUNBLOG at checkout to get 10% off food gifts at





Downtown Madison Restaurants Have a Friendly Food Fight

Downtown Madison restaurants Ian’s Pizza and AJ Bombers aren’t afraid to push the limits. Whether it’s a friendly food fight or some out of the box culinary creations, these two establishments know how to use creativity to bring in hungry diners.

The Menu

PizzaMac n’ Cheese Pizza– Ian’s is famous for their crazy pizza ideas like buffalo chicken, lasagna marinara and tortelini, but the pizza that keeps us coming back for more, often at all hours of the night, is the mac n’ cheese pizza. Always on the menu and served on a no frills paper plate, the mac n’ cheese pizza has macaroni noodles, Wisconsin cheddar and my favorite part, the creme fraiche that serves as the sauce.



Enjoying a slice with my sweetie!




Mad Sconnie BurgerThe Wisconsin State Journal referred to this magnificent creation as a “stroke of genius and a terrific tribute to the capital city”. The burger masterpiece includes a grass fed beef patty mixed with Nueske bacon, topped with fried pickles and special sauce, all served on cheese bread from Stella’s bakery.




The famous Mad Sconnie Burger!




The Big Day

The friendly fight for the best downtown Madison restaurant would culminate in an event at Bombers with free pizza and burgers. Ian’s made a Mad Sconnie Pizza and Bombers made a mac and cheese burger. When it came time to decide a winner, event attendees concluded they were comparing apples to oranges, or in this case, burgers to pizza and the true winner was the city of Madison for having two of the must unique and tasty restaurants in Wisconsin.

So what’s your favorite downtown Madison restaurant to grab a bite? Ian’s Pizza? AJ Bombers? Or somewhere else?

Grilled Meat- Wisconsin Style

Cheddar Bratwurst As the summer quickly slips away, it’s time to make sure we get our fill of grilled meats! Here are the top five grilled meats we love here in Wisconsin and some brief instructions on how to grill each one.  You might be surprised how easy these are to prepare.

1. Fresh Bratwurst– If your bratwurst aren’t precooked, put the brats in a skillet with just enough liquid (I recommend beer but water will work if you don’t have beer, but in Wisconsin we always have beer) to cover them.  A full boil might cause your wurst to burst, so simmer them (a low boil) until cooked through (about 15-20 minutes), then take them out of their brat tub and sear them on the grill.

2. Pre-Cooked Bratwurst– A great alternative if you are short on time and you want to skip the simmer step. With pre-cooked brats go straight to the grill, do not pass go, do not collect $200. For more brat ideas, check out my recipe for Curry Wurst or visit my fav brat resource the Bratwurst Pages!

3. Nueske Bacon Burgers- Fans of these burgers rave about how they barely shrink during the cooking process. Cook on a hot grill, about 3-5 minutes per side. Resist the urge to squish them with a spatula, you’re squishing out all the juices!

4.  Nueske Applewood Smoked Pork Chops– These are pre-cooked  and just require a quick sear- just don’t cook them too long or it will dry out the meat.

5. Nueske Applewood Smoked Wieners – Hot dogs imply kid food, so these natural casing, pork and beef tube steaks go by the old school word for hot dog- wiener (stop giggling!).   Again, these are pre-cooked so only require a quick warming on the grill.

What are your favorite meats to cook on the grill?

Greek Style Turkey Burgers

greek-1 Greek style foods bring cucumber, red onion, feta cheese, and kalamata olives together into a delicious flavor combination. I have experimented in the kitchen with Greek salad, Greek pizza, and my new found favorite, Greek style turkey burgers.  Spinach, onions, garlic and Wisconsin feta cheese are mixed in with the meat, then the burger is topped with an olive spread, grilled red onions, tomatoes and cucumbers.  The veggies and lean meat make this burger a healthy option but it’s so delicious you will have your dinner guests shouting “Opaa!”.

Greek Style Turkey Burgers

Adapted by Amanda from Chicken or Turkey Spanakopita Burgers

 Serves 4



2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves chopped

1 red onion, half diced and half sliced for topping

1 10oz box of frozen spinach, thawed

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon Greek seasoning

1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles Recommended: Mt. Sterling Wisconsin Goat Milk Feta Cheese

1 package ground turkey breast (you can also use ground chicken)

4 crusty rolls, split


1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

2 roasted red peppers drained

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley

2 sliced roma tomato

1 sliced cucumber

1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the diced (not sliced) onions and garlic for 5 minutes.  Place the onions and garlic in a large bowl to cool.

2. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and cooked the sliced onions for 5 minutes. Reserve for use as a topping later.

3. Put the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring out the excess water over the sink.  Add the spinach, oregano, grill seasoning, feta crumbles, and meat to the bowl with the onions.  Use your hands to mix everything together.

4. Form the meat into 4 1-inch thick patties.  Heat the skillet to medium high and grill the burgers for 6 minutes on each side. You can also do this on the grill if you prefer.

5. In a bowl, season the sliced cucumbers and tomatoes with salt and pepper.

6. Add olives, roasted red pepper and parsley to the bowl of your food processor.  Pulse a few times until you have a thick paste.

7. Spread the olive mixture on the top bun.  Put the burger on the bottom bun and top with tomatoes, cucumbers, and grilled onions.  Serve with fancy chips or fries.

Fat Tuesday: 5 Ways To “Pig Out” Before Lent

Birthday Cake Fat Tuesday sure is a perfect name for today, the last day before Lent.  Many people give up a certain indulgence for the 40 days of Lent- popular choices are chocolate, soda, meat…so Fat Tuesday is the day to pig out on all of those goodies before the sacrifice starts.  In honor of Fat Tuesday, here are five of Wisconsin’s most indulgent, guilty pleasure foods.  If you happen to be fasting by the time you read this, I apologize. Put your email address in on the right under my picture so you can receive updates as soon as I post!

1. Chocolate Eclairs-  Eclairs are a sinful food in general, but the eclairs from O&H Bakery bring gluttony to a whole new level.  As big as your hand and with 1/2 an inch of chocolate frosting, one of these monster eclairs can feed a small family.

2. Bacon Burgers- You’ve heard of bacon on a burger, but now there’s bacon IN a burger.  As if the delicious apple wood smoked Nueske bacon wasn’t tempting enough, now it’s mixed in with juicy beef.

3. Fried Cheese Curds–  Can I go ONE post without talking about cheese curds? I guess not.  I’ll keep it simple- if fried cheese curds are wrong, I don’t want to be right.  For more info on curds check out: What’s a Cheese Curd? and 5 Things to Do With a Cheese Curd.

Turtle Cheesecake 4. Gourmet Turtle Cheesecake– I think it’s ok to eat this one during Lent because it’s made by Cheesecake Heaven.  This rich creamy cheesecake (pictured at top left) is topped with gooey caramel, crunchy nuts and chocolate chips, yum!

5.Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream–  The side of the carton says “Nutrition Information: Don’t even ask.  If you want healthy, eat carrots.”.  Hmm, so if I don’t know about the calories they don’t count, right?




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