Wisconsin is rich with sports history and an enthusiastic fanbase. A staple of this state’s sports lore is the tailgate cookout found prior to any Green Bay Packers, Bucks or Brewers game. Those who attend a traditional tailgate can be seen partaking in a game of cornhole (“Bags” if you’re a Wisconsinite)and enjoying a cold beverage, all while being adorned with their jerseys and the occasional cheese head.
While representing the state of Wisconsin and BHA's Collegiate Program at this year’s Rendezvous Wild Game Cookoff, my fellow chef, Cordell Stanek, and I wanted to highlight the incredible foods that have become tailgate classics, but with a wild game twist. Now each tailgate goer is different, so you can expect a wide array of food items and beverages local to Wisconsin. After combing through numerous ideas, we decided to prepare the following recipes and beer flight for this year’s judges … We hope you enjoy!
Maple Bourbon BBQ Venison Burger:
- 5 Venison burger patties
- 5 brioche buns
- 5 smoked white cheddar slices
- ¼ cup of bourbon
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup of apple cider
- 2 TB butter
- 2 TB apple cider vinegar
- 1 TB Dijon mustard
- 1 TB coconut sugar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Preheat the grill to 350F. Place premade patties on the grill to cook. (Cook about 8-10 minutes and take patties off the grill around 140F for a medium cook (pink in middle).
- Prepare the BBQ sauce by adding the maple syrup, tomato sauce, apple cider, butter, vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, & spices in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it is simmering.
- Take pan off heat and stir in the bourbon.
- Simmer the sauce a little bit more to cook off the alcohol. (about 3 more minutes)
- Take burgers off the grill and add cheese.
- Allow to rest while you butter and toast the buns.
- Assemble the burgers and serve!
Grilled Wild Turkey Kabobs:
- 1 lb. turkey breast fillets
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 red onion diced
- 8 baby belle mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 TB olive oil
- 4 TB fresh parsley, diced
- 2 TB honey
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt pinch salt
- 1 tsp salt black pepper
- Prepare the marinade by combining the parsley, honey, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a container or bowl that can be sealed. Stir well.
- Dice red bell peppers & red onions into chunks and the turkey breast fillets diced into bite-size pieces.
- Cut the baby belle mushrooms into halves (ingredients should be equal in width and height).
- After dicing the turkey and vegetables add it to the marinade and stir so everything is coated.
- Thread the turkey, red bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms onto the 4 skewers.
- Grill for 20 minutes or until the turkey is cooked through with an internal temperature of 165F (cook time will vary depending upon the size of the turkey pieces and/or, grilling techniques).
Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds:
- 2 lbs cheese curds
- 1 duck egg
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 tsp garlic salt
- 1 ½ quarts peanut oil
- Freeze cheese curds overnight (prevents the curds from rupturing during the frying process).
- Heat oil to 375 degrees (use a thermometer and watch carefully).
- Prepare the batter by whisking the buttermilk, flour, baking soda, garlic salt and egg until smooth.
- Coat several cheese curds with batter.
- Fry a few at a time, for several seconds or until golden brown.
- Drain the freshly fried cheese curds on a paper towel and enjoy while fresh!
NOTES: If the cheese curds are not frozen and/or the oil is over 375 degrees then this could lead to the cheese curds rupturing from the batter during the frying process
Wisconsin Beer Flight:
- 12 oz Blonde Ale (Sharp-tail Ale brewed by District 1 Brewing Co.)
- 12 oz Hefeweizen (Bubbler brewed by New Glarus)
- 12 oz Amber (Northwoods Amber brewed by Leinenkugel’s)
- 12 oz Stout (15-2 brewed by 3 Sheeps)
- Assemble beer flight with four 12-ounce glasses.
- Pour 12 ounces of each beer into a glass on the flight.
- Drink and enjoy responsibly (“Wisconsinbly”).