Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >
Sep 29, 2012 02:49 AM

wisconsin cheese folk

do you know where i can get a cheddar/bacon combo retail or by mail order. it sounds like a heart attack special but i crave it tho have never actually tried it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are a lot of processed "cheddars" like vern's or carr valley so be careful what you order.
    For mail order, wisconsin cheese mart, widmer's cheese cellar, wisconsin cheese man. Mostly just reselling. I am not a fan of vern's. if you are doing mail order, order through decatur cheese, and add their fontina and gouda, my favorites through them.

    Available through amazon

    For a bacon cheddar spread, merkts makes a good one (or made), pine river as well. The more (*ahem*) upscale places that make cheddar fries make a sauce with merkt's cheese.

    For bacon, cheddar and jalapeno brats try

    16 Replies
    1. re: exvaxman

      Not trying to hijack the thread, but I went to your rec'd Lake Geneva Country Meats website, and they recommend marinating this sausage in beer before grilling at modest temp. Is there a downside to marinating a brat? I'm from Detroit and the crowd at least that I hang with has never heard of pre-soaking a sausage. Thanks

      1. re: VTB

        Being a native cheesehead, we marinate in beer and onions to add flavor and many of us blanche the brats in the liquid to reduce flare ups on the grill (and it smells good too). I would say that at least 50% cheeseheads start their brats in beer.

        1. re: goatgolfer

          Time to pick some up from Keego Harbor and give it a test drive!

          1. re: VTB

            Pabst is the traditional beer of choice. Then of course you have to drink some too.. Onions are basically a necessity but they have given up most of their flavor after the simmer. Boiling, is a rookie mistake. If you are using a charcoal grill use an older pot and do it on the grill while the charcoal is getting going. They take about the same time but the pot gets a soot on the bottom so don't use the good stuff. BTW: you haven't heard of beer brats before? and, if you can get your hands on Brewer stadium sauce for the brats even better. I have a case on the way.

            1. re: goatgolfer

              >>>Boiling is a rookie mistake<<<

              I agree but you also said you ("many of us") blanche your brats. The first step in blanching is boiling which many of us consider a no-no.

              I love that Secret Stadium Sauce on a grilled brat. And the sauce has vitamin C in it so you just know it is good for you. ;-)

              1. re: Fowler

                I am late to this posting. Don't ever boil your brats prior to cooking. I happen to work for one of the best sausage companies in the world from WI. I can tell you that boiling will take away from the flavor as the seasonings will be pulled out during that process. The proper way to cook a brat is at a very low temperature and slowly - will take longer than most meat. This is done to cook it through all the way and avoid snapping the case (snapping the case will drain the brat of its juices). When you are done, soak the brat in a beer bath. Get an aluminum pan you can discard when you are done, cut up and onion an throw it in the pan, add a few bottles of beer and a 1/2 stick of butter and simmer it on the grill. When you are done cooking the brats, transfer them to the brat bath. This will give you the ultimate brat with the ultimate flavor. Give it a try sometime; you will not regret you did it.

                1. re: wifoodie

                  Hello wifoodie, I am puzzled as to why you directed your response specifically to me when I agreed that boiling is a rookie mistake and a no-no. Am I misunderstanding something in your reply to my comment?

                  1. re: Fowler

                    Just agreeing with you and expanding on your earlier statement. Nothing directed at you at all.

                    1. re: wifoodie

                      Great, thanks. When I saw "RE:Fowler" I thought you were responding to me. It is good to see we are both on the same page and your advice is excellent.

              2. re: goatgolfer

                I refuse to buy pabst and any of the related brands due to what they did (under a prior owner) to their retirees, breaking contracts and causing much hardship. At least miller who contract brews for them forced pabst to pay what they owed into the union retirement agreement before brewing anything to them.

            2. re: goatgolfer

              Very low and slow temp and and cover will keep the flare ups down. The flare ups happen because you have it on high heat and are snapping the casings. Give it a try and never par boil brats. They will lose flavor.

          2. re: exvaxman

            >>>For a bacon cheddar spread, merkts makes a good one (or made)<<<

            If there were a spreadable cheese Hall of Fame, Merkt’s Cheddar Bacon would be sitting on a throne looking down upon all other spreadable cheese inductees. That was the finest spreadable cheese I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. Regrettably, it is no longer produced. While I do not recall exact dates, it seemed to disappear around the time that abysmal cheese company named Fromageries Bel purchased Merkt’s.

            These days my favorite Merkt’s cheese is the Cheddar Port Wine. The Cheddar Beer is great as well. But neither can compare to The King of all Cheese Spreads: Merkt’s Cheddar Bacon.

            1. re: Fowler

              I really miss the merkt's outlet on the way to Lake Geneva attached to their factory.
              Awesome place. If you need gallon containers of merkt's I think that the only option is tom &toms cheese. I know this from a 2:am call from an old room mate in college whose wife WANTED merkts and it was not sold locally by them in Texas. I was there when they opened to get two gallons out fedex to save my friend's life.

            2. re: exvaxman

              Not mail order but I went into the Cedarburg Piggly Wiggly
              (I do any and everything to avoid Pick-n-save and their understaffed and dirty stores) and they had a bacon cheddar under the 'Olsen' private label. I usually get the 'Fox Brothers' private label cheese at their Pigs, which is very good for the price. I bought some of the Olsen bacon cheddar and will post a review next week when I have tried it.

              While I am talking cheese, I got a very urgent emergency phone call from an old friend with a pregnant wife who had "cravings" yesterday. I had to hit Klemet's, old Wisconsin sausage in Sheboygan, and Hennings in Keil to get out a large FedEx package. Hennings not only had the world championship Colby last year, but their aged cheddars are my favorite cheddars. They also sell cheese enzyme in bulk for cheap mac&cheese (think scout weekends). Anyway the husband called and thanked me for saving his life getting her the klemets bulkham sticks and a huge amount of the old Wisconsin honey turkey sausage, and many Hennings blueberry cheese blocks.

              The last time I got one of these calls, it was for Merkts sharp cheddar. You can buy it in gallon containers at Tom&toms cheese.

              And to make folks laugh, when I was told by my wife to get chocolate ice cream, it was a craving emergency. She only likes vanilla. Anyway, 12th in line in the express line at Sendiks with a small chocolate frozen everything they stocked. A nice lady behind me asked if I liked chocolate. I replied "pregnant wife with a migraine". The man in front of me went "holy s**t", yelled at everyone to step out of the way due to an emergency. They turned and looked at him and he went "pregnant wife with a migraine" and it was like Moses parting the Red Sea. One guy put a bottle of vodka in with the chocolate telling the girl not to charge me, it was on him since I obviously needed it more than him.

              1. re: exvaxman

                LOL! Great story about the parting of the sea.

                I did not know Fox Brothers also made cheese. I have only had their meat products (beer sticks, cheddar brats, jalapeno beef sticks, Hungarian sausages, apple breakfast sausages, garlic & onion sausages, Polish sausages, etc.) I do not think they have produced any meat products I have not tried and liked.

                I am looking forward to your report on the Olsen's bacon cheddar. Is it in block form or a spread?

                1. re: Fowler

                  Forgive me for the late posting. A lateral sewer line went and My family has been in a hotel for several days. The Olsen bacon cheese is processed, decent for dropping into potato wedges. However, Fox brothers cheese is better IMHO. Cheaper as well as I went through Richfield today.

            3. Rybicki Cheese with a retail outlet in the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN also sells mail order. It is a Wisconsin cheese and they have a cheddar/bacon.


              1. The Cheese Box in Lake Geneva does mail order. You'll want to call because their website isn't very good. They do not carry processed cheese.

                1 Reply
                1. re: shaja

                  An update to say there is a notice on the Cheese Box's website that they have retired and closed the business.

                2. Nueske's ( a fantastic Wisconsin source of bacon on their own) have a party pail with cheddar-bacon spread.

                  Woody's was the preferred source growing up in Milwaukee and then Kalkana bought them and Merkts. So, I don't know if that range still exists but Nueske's is a sure bet.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: goatgolfer

                    I stopped by their place when running my son up north to scout camp. Very disappointed. Small, very expensive, very crowded. I don't plan on stopping there again. I will go out of my way for decatur cheese, but never again for nueske's

                  2. Not the good merkt's cheese, but at Woodman's last night there were four varieties of the processed kind.
                    Schulers, from southfield, MI. Decent brand. I've bought them for years. Highest sodium by a long shot.
                    Owl's nest, from elk grove village. Ok, but really? From what used to be the world's largest industrial park? Where the stories of LBJ and corruption are legendary?
                    Parker's Farm. From Minn. haven't tried it yet. "Sealed for freshness". "Contains Milk". It is supposed to be cheese. I would hope that milk was involved.
                    Scott's of Wisconsin. From Sun Prairie, Wi. Best used for chili cheese fries with Texas Pete chili topping. To be honest, Texas Pete from North Carolina is my favorite "hot" sauce. Everything else they put out is "meh". However, church's chicken has packets of Texas Pete and donated boxes to me when I was sending such things to friends in Iraq. I'm sorry that they left Brown Deer, only left open on Capitol drive. However, when wanting fast food chicken, Popeye's rules. Not the one on 76th and Good Hope, they stink for management. The one on 66th and Silver Spring that is well run and is next to the "house of corned beef".