Fire Away: A chef’s tour of the joy and agony of cooking over a live fire

This is the fourth installment of Off the Map, a column by chef JD Fratzke. It appears monthly at growlermag.com and occasionally in print. Cooking outdoors over an open fire has become, over the years, my favorite way of preparing a meal. Whether it’s a few pork chops, a chicken, a pile of brats, or just … [ Read more]

Anatomy of a Hot Sauce

When Craig Kaiser created the hot sauce that would become Minneapolis cult favorite Cry Baby Craig’s, he didn’t expend too much effort. In fact, he says, it was almost entirely accidental. Kaiser was working at Cafe Maude in South Minneapolis in 2011, and a supplier error stuck him with a pile of habanero chiles instead … [ Read more]

Buying and Handling Chiles & Aguachile​: Ceviche with a Kick

Photos by Tj Turner If you’re in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area, there are a number of great Asian, Indian, and Latin markets that carry wide varieties of chiles at affordable prices. Products stocked vary week to week, but the best shops have wide selections that satisfy most if not all culinary needs. A few … [ Read more]

Boiling Point: The fiery Door County fish boil tradition has deep and native roots

It’s early June, and rain is falling near the tip of Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula. Despite the wet weather and a persistent wind, more than two dozen spectators are gathered together in a damp little community facing the water, awaiting the climax of a local ritual that dates back at least 350 years. At five … [ Read more]

Better Camp Eats & Drinks: 2 Essential Spice Rubs for Camp Cooking

This article is a part of The Growler’s Outdoor Guide. Find more tips for outdoor adventure and dining here.  Everything tastes better in the wilderness, but that’s no excuse to eat bland food out of plastic bags. One of the most versatile (and lightweight) weapons in a camp cook’s arsenal is the spice blend. The … [ Read more]

Better Camp Eats & Drinks: Dehydrated Dining Tips and Recipe for Peanut Coconut Curry

This article is a part of The Growler’s Outdoor Guide. Find more tips for outdoor adventure and dining here.  Extended camping treks involve a lot of planning, especially when it comes to meals. To punch things up—and not drag down your pack in the process—turn to dehydrated food. Before you run out to your local … [ Read more]

I Left My Heart in Shafter Ghost Town

This is the second installment of Off the Map, a column by chef J.D. Fratzke. It appears monthly on growlermag.com and occasionally in print. It was in the waning years of the Clinton administration that I found myself standing on the roof of an abandoned blacksmith and livery in a southwest Texas ghost town. The journey had … [ Read more]

Disturbing the Peace, Honoring the Place: Amy Huo is cooking farm-to-table in Eau Claire, damn the cost and consequences

Amy Huo will tell it to you straight: she isn’t the easiest person to work with. “I have an addiction to doing something new, even if I piss off everyone,” she laughs. As a food truck chef and entrepreneur, she has built her reputation in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, by dishing farm-to-table food from her roving … [ Read more]

Who Owns Asian Food?

“When you realize a life was given so you could have life, it changes the way you live. It also changes the way you cook.” – Yia Vang, at the April 8, 2019 Lynhall panel discussion “Insiders or Outsiders: Who Owns Asian Food?”   The challenges of cooking Asian food in America defined a conversation … [ Read more]

New City, Great Grub: Tracking down the best eats in a strange place

Having good “restaurant radar” is a wonderful thing for anyone who loves to travel and eat—it means that you can parachute into just about any new city and dine well. As a professional food writer, I’ve spent years honing my ability to guess my way into a great meal. You can leverage the same sort … [ Read more]

Recipe for Reinvention: For Doug Flicker, Bull’s Horn is a revolt against his own success—and a return to his roots

If you walk into Bull’s Horn in South Minneapolis on the right night, and the scene hits you just the right way, you’ll experience a sudden, giddy rush of confusion. It’s not any single thing—it’s all the details taken in at once: the bubble hockey game, the pull-tab station, the plastic water glasses, the occasional little … [ Read more]

Cold Waves, Hot Ramen: Wherein the Boundary Waters sets its hook in the soul of a Minnesota chef

This is the debut of Off the Map, a column by chef J.D. Fratzke. It appears monthly at growlermag.com and occasionally in print. Wells was stripped to his skivvies and running in place, every inch of his skin the color of raspberry bubble gum. Though it couldn’t have been more than a 30-yard swim to … [ Read more]

Family Dinner, Solved: The Loaf Pan Library

Here’s all that you need to solve the eternal question of how to feed your family well: Freezer space (a chest freezer is perfect). A handful of suitable recipes. And about two dozen aluminum 9-inch-by-5-inch (8 cup volume) loaf pans with covers or aluminum foil to make lids. We’ll get back to the details of … [ Read more]

Dollars to Dumplings: Tim Niver’s relentless hustle keeps his culinary mini-empire current and profitable

If you watch Tim Niver casually assemble an order of bucatini all’amatriciana, you might easily mistake him for a chef. “I love that browning effect on the garlic,” he says, the smell of pancetta filling the kitchen at Mucci’s Italian. “You get that slight tinge of bitterness and you can even find some of those … [ Read more]

Wild-Fired Kitchen

For Ryan Stechschulte and KZ ProVisioning, feeding the Minnesota Wild is a job and a passion Deep in the bowels of the Treasure Island Center in downtown St. Paul, chef Ryan Stechschulte stands over two enormous metal pots of gourmet goulash and talks about Minnesota Wild hockey. If the TRIA Rink practice lair is the Batcave, Stechschulte is … [ Read more]

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