One-of-a-Kind Midwest Sandwiches
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Wisconsin: Beer-Braised Brats
Steep your grilled brats in this onion-and-herb beer mixture for an easy way to keep them warm while tailgating. Beer-Braised Brats get a liberal dose of cranberry-pickle relish for extra color and tang. This is a Badger State meal in a bun.
Wild Rice and Turkey Loaf Sandwich
We put a hearty twist on an old standby, the meatloaf sandwich. This Minnesota-inspired sandwich blends two delights from the North Star State: turkey and wild rice. The wild rice adds a surprising crunch. Top it with roasted red pepper strips or some bold cranberry relish.
Michigan: Salmon Tailgating Sandwiches
Freshwater salmon gets the spotlight in Salmon Tailgating Sandwiches, based on the Great Lakes State's bounty. To represent the state's plentiful fruit crops, a relish made of Granny Smith apples and dried cherries tops it all off. While freshwater salmon would be the first choice in this sandwich, ocean fish works, too.
Iowa: Grilled Pork Wraps with Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish
The Hawkeye State's biggest harvests include corn and pork, two ingredients that star in Grilled Pork Wraps with Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish. If you're tailgating, just grill the pork at the game and slather on a honey-mustard glaze while it cooks. Then wrap the filling in tortillas right there for your guests.
Illinois: Apple Bagel Sandwiches with Pumpkin Cream Cheese
The Prairie State grows 80 percent of the pumpkins processed in the United States. That's why we created Apple Bagel Sandwiches with Pumpkin Cream Cheese. They're a good option for morning tailgating events. Or try them as a meatless sandwich any time of day. We also like the added crunch of the nuts.
Nebraska: Beefy Chili Dogs
The Coney Island Lunch Room in Grand Island, Nebraska, has served its all-American chili dog since 1933. In honor of this Cornhusker State edible institution, we cooked up Beefy Chili Dogs. Stewing the hot dogs in the seasoned meat mixture makes them extra juicy. Top them with cheese.
Missouri: Smoky Brisket Sandwiches
Brisket is a tough cut of meat that's transformed into heavenly tenderness with slow, low cooking. That's how we went about bringing together beef and barbecue, two essentials of Show-Me State cuisine, in Smoky Brisket Sandwiches. Serve on crusty ciabatta rolls. If you like morel mushrooms (and can find them!), try them here.
South Dakota: Bison-Zucchini Burgers
The Mount Rushmore State is the largest producer of bison in the nation. So we took this lean meat and created grilled Bison-Zucchini Burgers. Pita bread holds the moist, tender burger, and it's topped with a cabbage slaw tossed with Thousand Island dressing.
North Dakota: Venison Sausage Focaccia
A popular meat mixture in the Peace Garden State makes an appearance in our Venison Sausage Focaccia. Serve it with potatoes, and top it with onions and red sweet peppers. Hunters are known to make their own venison sausage. If you can't find it, use regular sweet Italian sausage.
Kansas: Hot-Off-The-Grill Pizza
The Italian heritage of the Sunflower State was our inspiration for Hot-Off-The-Grill Pizza. The state's impressive wheat production shows up in the tasty crust, a garlic-basil flatbread. Top it with roasted peppers, sliced meat, cheese and basil. To save time, substitute 3 cups of shredded pizza cheese for the mix of provolone, mozzarella and Asiago.
Indiana: Ham, Cheese and Sauerkraut Sandwiches
We put some of the best-known Amish products in this Ham, Cheese and Sauerkraut Sandwich. Sauerkraut and mayonnaise top sliced cheese and ham on country-style bread. Baked until melted, it's the perfect Hoosier State tailgating sandwich. For lower sodium, omit the ham.
Lemon-Dill Walleye Sandwiches
Our walleye sandwiches showcase fish grilled on a bed of lemon slices with a lemon-and-dill marinade.
Tailgate Toting Tips
For cold foods, wrap them well in plastic wrap or place them in a tightly covered container. Transport cold foods in an insulated cooler with ice packs. You want to keep the cooler at 40 degrees or below.
For warm foods, place in a tightly covered storage container and tote in a covered, insulated container. Serve within two hours of heating/cooking.
(Originally published in Midwest Living® September/October 2005.)