Q | What are the most popular items on your menu? Why?
A | Bacon is our #1 seller, by far. The flavor hits you when you walk in the door. We have 3 types: single smoked, twice smoked, and peppered. We also sell a lot of ham salad, especially around the holidays (many whole smoked hams are processed around that time). Then there is our bulk sausage and bratwursts; we use finely-trimmed pork shoulder to make each of them, so the end result is very lean. People don’t believe us when we tell them they will have to add some oil to pan when they fry our sausage, and then they come back for more. We also produce our own sauerkraut, which is very popular around New Years. Recently, we started growing our own cabbage, too!
Q | Are there any items NOT on your menu that are staff favorites (that you’d be willing to serve up to any customer who asked)?
A | We recently started making more cracklings, the remains of pork fat that we grind and render. In the past, we just did this this to get enough lard, and the cracklings never made it to the store. Of course, if someone wanted some of our lard, we’d do what we could to help them out, but we’d never have enough.
Q | “Wild Game” (a category on your website) sounds so exotic! What are some of the more unique items you’ve seen come in to be butchered?
A | We’ve done our share of elk and antelope for sure, and there is always somebody bringing something in from one of the game farms. But once, a hunter wanted us to make goose sausage. We have to have a certain amount to fill our equipment, so he had to save up for a while. He did, and he was very happy.
Q | You list several recipes on your website. Which is the most popular? Or maybe your favorite?!
A | We do not really track the views on the individual recipes on the website, as they are meant to give ideas. But anytime we share a recipe to Facebook that includes bacon, it becomes popular! Once, we reposted the Carbonera recipe and added some Tasso Ham, it was quite good.
Also, via social media, we tend to post something about grilling brats on the first really warm day of spring, and that always gets some serious attention. And when tomatoes start ripening, we have a BLT recipe we share. Around the end of the year, we start posting pictures of our sauerkraut that we make with cabbage we grow.
Thurn’s is the epitome of a family operation. Not since my grandpa’s bakery closed in 2005 have I seen this level of dedication to customers. I was there for an hour and there was a steady stream of customers…and the Thurn men all knew their names. Impressive! I guess that’s what happens when you have 129 years of experience. :)