There’s no denying it—I have an addiction.  Maybe it’s the smoky smell when you walk in, or the tantalizing samples that are handed out, or perhaps it’s something they are adding to marinades.  Whatever it is, I will drive for two hours to get my fix at Schmidts Meat Market in Nicollet Minnesota.

It could be my 11thCommandament— “thou shalt not go without Schmidts”.

The market came to life in 1947 thanks to Gerhardt and Esther Schmidt, who decided to purchase a tiny little butcher shop in Nicollet Minnesota.  His plan was to serve the area farmers custom processing and butchering needs. SchmidtsStore It was a three person business; husband, wife and one helper, but that didn’t last long.  Seems they had a gift for German-style sausage making.  The business soon grew to become a full service butcher shop,  wood fired smoke house, processing production facility and retail store.  They even had to expand into another building.  Over the next 30 or so years, their sons stepped in to carry on the tradition, and Schmidts continued to grow, requiring even more space.  Now in the 3rdGeneration of Schmidts, my addiction destination boasts well over 3,000 feet of operations, providing me 56 feet of full service counter and 75 feet of self-service freezer cases  with an amazing selection of meats and over 50 employees.

I can tell when it’s time to head to Schmidts.  Cravings begin—the kind that get me pacing, fidgeting, opening the fridge 20 extra times a day as if to somehow magically find some maple beef sticks in there.

But no luck. The good news is, it’s an easy, scenic drive, between Mankato and New Ulm; one that can usually be combined with some business and pleasure stops.  In the fall it conveniently blends into a day of pheasant hunting.  And once there, welcome to carnivore heaven.  These butchers provide only the highest quality local meats.  You can call ahead to order special cuts of meat (I have requested whole smoked chickens before—oh my, they are fabulous!) but they will always have fresh selections at the ready every day.

What are my staple “must haves” from Schmidts?

SchmidtsMeatsOne package blueberry wild rice brats
One package cheddar brats
AT LEAST 20 maple beef sticks–and I am not good at sharing them–at all!
Two packages honey BBQ marinated pork chops (2 per pack)
One or two packages raspberry chipotle bacon
A selection of Italian herb, lemon & garlic, mesquite, and tequila lime marinated chicken breasts –each individually wrapped
One Wisconsin style summer sausage –cheddar cheese and cranberries
One garlic summer sausage—soooo garlicky!
One Minnesota style summer sausage – blueberries and wild rice
Half a dozen good size smoked bones for the kids


Of course it doesn’t stop there.  They make amazing little single serving pizzas that are scrumptious, and perfect for just me. Their ground hamburger is super lean, and available in bulk rolls or pre- made patties.  For recipes calling for sausage,  I will only use their bulk ground pork.  They have a huge array of cheeses, deli items, unique crackers, spreads, and dipping sauces.  They carry lutefisk.  They carry specialty items. They ship and offer gift cards.  Their award winning German-style summer sausage is their specialty, but trust me, they kick it in all the categories.

Schmidts Meat Market.  An addiction I will never EVER give up!   So, what’s your addiction?



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