Gustafson’s Smoked Fish and Beef Jerky

Review by: Michael Stern

Gustafson’s is not a restaurant, but a gas station and party store with delicious food that is oh-so-ready-to-eat. Even with your eyes closed, you’ll find it as you cruise along the shore road (we don’t recommend driving this way) because a sugar maple haze from a quartet of smoldering smokers outside clouds the air with the unbelievably appetizing smell of whitefish, trout, menominee, chub, and salmon turning gorgeous shades of gold. Inside, coolers are arrayed with the firm-fleshed beauties, which you buy by the piece, wrapped in butcher’s paper. Utensils and plates are unnecessary; it’s a pleasure to use one’s fingers to pick flavorful chunks of fish straight from the paper in which they’re wrapped.

Beef jerky is another smokehouse specialty of the Gustafson family, who marinate strips of top round for a day-and-a-half, then slow-smoke them over maple for six hours. Jerky is made with a traditional smoky-sweet taste, Cajun-spiced, or barbecue flavored.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula lends itself to waterside picnics. A few chaws of jerky, a moist hunk or two of freshly smoked freshwater fish, a fifty-cent stack of saltine crackers, a bag of cheese curds, and a beer, plus the scenic beauty of Lake Michigan’s northern shore: what’s better than that?

What To Eat

smoked lake fish

DISH

Gustafson’s Smoked Fish and Beef Jerky Recipes

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What do you think of Gustafson’s Smoked Fish and Beef Jerky?

One Response to “Gustafson’s Smoked Fish and Beef Jerky”

Thomas Gillette

March 22nd, 2007

In addition to sublime smoked fish, perfect jerky of all types, and a beautiful drive along the North shoreline of Lake Michigan, Gustafson’s is decidedly NOT pretentious. In fact, it is an authentic slice of the local color and “ethos” of the area; very straightforward shoot-from-the-hip no-nonsense friendliness that is disarming.

In a day when a $5 cup of coffee is defined by “large, grande, double-demi-hemi-semi-grande” or other such nonsense, it’s delightful to find a place with such good food purveyed by people who ask the simple question “do you want this one or the big one in front of it?” It’s a trip back to a more honest, less pretentious time… and it’s a trip to arguably the best smoked fish and jerky found ANYWHERE. Enjoy the drive, and buy more than you think you’ll need. It might not make it over the bridge!

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