Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee’
Believing that depends on who you ask. Culver’s version is to fry the burgers on a flattop and nestle it on a toasted, buttered, bun.
But on the East Coast of the state, in Milwaukee, one will come across Solly’s Grille, which opened in 1936 and purports to be the inventor of the actual “Butter Burger.” Or “Butterburger.”
What the term means at Solly’s is completely different than Culvers. At Solly’s, their patty also starts out on a flattop, and the buns are also toasted, but…wait for it……when the burger gets placed on bun, atop it comes an ice cream scoop size dollop of pure Wisconsin butter, which quickly melts, flavoring the patty, soaking the bun and pooling on the plate.
They say they use 150 pounds + of butter weekly, and I’ve no reason to doubt them.
There are different toppings on tap for burgers, various cheese, bacon, and such, but according to the server, there’s never been a pickle or mayo in house and there never will be.
The full menu includes breakfast. (Yes, you can get a burger during breakfast hours). Sides can be crinkle cut fries, rings, or potato pancakes. (After all, Wisconsin at its heart is very German).
The standard Butterburger is also topped with Solly’s own stewed onions.
There’s a guy in America named George Motz, who is considered by many, far and near, to be America’s Hamburger Expert. Here’s a little video about Solly’s from one of his programs, and introducing the main man at Solly’s these days. (George has a book and a documentary that share the title “Hamburger America.”
You’ll see a million “WOW” reviews of Solly’s online. And I always try to find something cool about every place, every experience, but you know what? This place was a lot better in my imagination that in reality. To me.
The factory produced, frozen patty is nothing special, and the onions were rather overpowering for me. Of course I loved the butter and how it flavored both the bun and meat, but the downside is as it pools on the plate, it soaks the bottom half of the bun and your sandwich can quickly become unmanageable.
Seating is limited to a long counter, and a very few tables, if that influences your decision. Service is hit and miss. And you can expect your multi-layered meal (burger, fries, shake) to not come out in any particular order or proximity to each other. You may have consumed your fries prior to even catching a glimpse of your burger.
The rings I liked. Crispy, a little beer in the batter I suspect, and the waitress “upsold me” on the dipping sauce, which was more than the usual restaurant fare. I’m gonna take a guess it is mayo and Tabasco. Not unpleasant. But I didn’t expect to be charged for it. Oh well. Fries are top-notch as well.
This is a great place to hit for a nostalgic thing if you’re going to Milwaukee. Kind of like hitting the Billy Goat in Chicago. In either case, you’re not going because the food is gonna make you say “WOW OH MAN.”
But it’s fun nevertheless. Two burgers, fries, rings, dipping sauce, one soda, $21.
One of Milwaukee’s largest and oldest sausage companies, Klement’s is often my ‘go-to’ purveyor when I’m looking for processed meats. When I’m not in their distribution area, I even order care packages online. The company has a wide variety of fresh and cooked sausages, as well as deli and sandwich meats. I am fond of their summer sausage, corned beef, cocktail sausages, and liver sausage.
Today I’m cooking up some of their Polish for breakfast. This is a natural casing sausage (YAY), and the company website lists the following ingredients: Pork, water, Beef, Salt, Contains less than 2% of Flavorings, Corn Syrup, Potassium Lactate, Isolated Oat Product, Dextrose,
Sodium Phosphate, Paprika, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Erythorbate, and Sodium Nitrite.
I’m not one of those consumers that gets all bent out of shape about certain ingredients, too late in my life cycle to worry about any of the alledged effects at this point in time.
Anyway, these are great, for a breakfast side, or any meal, on a bun, or on the grill. I’d be careful on the grill to watch the direct heat, if the casings split, you’re gonna lose a lot of flavor. My preferred method is to simmer in a cast-iron skillet until the water is gone, and then put a slight char on the sausages.
These beauties come out of the Klement’s plant at 207 E Lincoln Ave in Milwaukee, according to the USDA establishment number on the package.
Klements Polish Sausage Review
I wrote a bit about Usinger’s the other day. Here’s the rest of the story, as I prepare to dig into their natural casing “Old World Recipe” wieners. Pretty straightforward ingredients with these pups, beef and pork, water, spices, sugar, salt, paprika, and a couple of the sodiums as a preservative, in a natural lamb casing. My kind of dog. Mrs. Burgerdogboy will be sorry she missed out on these, she loves a good hot dog.
Back to the story.
Immigrant Fred Usinger Sr. arrived in Milwaukee from Frankfurt (!) in 1880, took over a little butcher shop in downtown, and eventually married a niece of the former owner. Four generations later, family members are still running the company, which has grown to become a Milwaukee institution with a national reputation, in fact, Usinger’s hot dogs were the official supplier to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake. That’s recognition!
Usinger’s makes a wide variety of smoked and fresh sausages, in addition to deli meats. Their hot dogs are described by many as “the best in the nation”, and received that accolade also in a 1984 book called “The Book of Bests“.
If you can’t get to the Upper Midwest, then just type in the URL, press click, and enjoy these great products at home.
Milwaukee is a great meat town, and an even better sausage town. Two of my favorite companies are there, Klement’s, and Usingers, with the latter dating back well over one hundred years, and the former, the upstart, being only about 70 years old.
Both companies offer a wide variety of smoked and fresh sausages, deli meats, and other specialities, and at least Usingers ships; seems Klement’s used to, not sure if they do any more or not. The products are widely available in Southern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, and Chicagoland groceries. Both companies use old world recipes, and top quality ingredients for a product you can depend on.