An Up North cookout is best with fresh-from-the-garden sides (well worth a slaw and potato salad betrayal), local butcher shop franks and a couple of Up North mustards that pack heat. Time to eat watermelon with your hands, squeak into fresh green beans and fire up a frank at the end of a stick.
Menu for a Sure-Bet Summer Meal
Basil Deviled EggsChili Garlic String Beans
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Teardrop Tomato, Avocado and Red Onion Salad
Red and Yellow Watermelon
Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice CreamRosemary Lemonade
Ramp up your cookout with even more local flavor in the form of award-winning mustard and great brews:
Passing musterElk Rapids’ Johan N. Bech left Denmark in 1961 and instantly started to miss the mustard from his hometown of Randers. He stocked up when he went home to Denmark on what he called mustard “with the edges still on it.” Finally in 1982 Bech made his own mustard with a 100-year-old Danish recipe, and started producing his golden topping in a converted marina on the island where the Elk River flows into Lake Michigan. He calls it Bech’s Classic Sharp, and it’s tangy, thick and sharp, excellent when used sparingly to dress a frank — especially with finely chopped red onion. Find it and other Bech’s varieties on grocer shelves across Michigan. 231-264-5080.
Brownwood Farms’ matriarch made her sweet, tangy Kream Mustard on the shores of Torch Lake in 1945, and it’s been spooned on Up North hot dogs ever since. This spring our local fave made big at the Napa Valley Mustard Festival World Wide Mustard Competition, where officials awarded Brownwood Farms the gold medal in a competition that drew 350 entries from gourmet mustard purveyors from 19 states and 4 countries, including Japan and Germany. 888-772-9444.
Summer sippersHot afternoons call for an easy-drinking beer such as Short’s Brewing Company’s Pontius Road Pilsner or Locals Light. Get a growler pulled from the tap for $12 ($8 refills). And if there’s pink lemonade behind the bar (a summertime treat), ask the tender to mix you a growler of Irish Shandy: three parts Pilsner to one part lemonade. It sips smooth and just slightly sweet. 121 N. Bridge St., Bellaire, 231-533-6622.
Traverse Brewing Company also handcrafts a traditional Irish Shandy with a proprietary blend of Ole Mission Ale and lemonade. It’s available in bottles (six-packs for $8.55 and cases for $34) at the brewery pub room. 11550 U.S. 31, 2 miles south of Elk Rapids, 231-264-9343.
Emily Betz Tyra is associate editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.[email protected]