Five Fabulous Finds From My Home State, Michigan (and one from elsewhere)

  1. Bier-Camp (bier-camp.com)
    1643 S. State St.
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    Phone: 734-995-2437

    This was a pleasant surprise. I had read about this place and decided to check it out. They sell smoked brisket sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches and on Fridays they sell a steamship beef round sandwich as well. All their meats are smoked on the premises. Every sandwich I’ve had here was excellent. They have a plethora of jerkeys and sausages also. And they have unique items like tavern cheese spread with bacon and scallions and a beef jerky pate. The owners are super-friendly. I really enjoy going to this place.

  2. Schramm’s Meadery (schrammsmead.com)
    327 W. 9 Mile Rd.
    Ferndale, MI 48220
    Phone: 248-439-5000

    I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Ken Schramm, the owner and meadmaker at Schramm’s Meadery on National Mead Day. Ken is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and he makes a mean mead. At the top of the line is a mead called “Heart of Darkness.” Ever the Joseph Conrad fan, Ken named this mead after Conrad’s novel. At $42 dollars a glass, it’s expensive, but it is so worth it. I’ve been told it is the number one fermented fruit beverage in the world. All of the meads Schramm makes are works of art. Stop by for a cheese plate and a flight of meads.

  3. Tracklement’s Smokery (tracklements.com)
    212 East Kingsley St.
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    Phone: 734-930-6642

    T.R. Durham has been making smoked fish for years and he ships his product all over world. He always has about a dozen varieties of smoked salmon on hand at his smokery nestled just around the corner from the Kerrytown Market (Scottish style, Thai style, kippered, Miso marinated, to name a few). On any given weekend, however, he features a unique item that he has slow smoked. For instance, last week he had smoked chickens on hand. This past week he had smoked bluefish. Next week, he’ll feature smoked pork chops. Oftentimes he’ll have some of his famous beef jerky or salmon jerky for sale. And T.R. Durham is a delightful man who has a real passion for his work. His assistant Ellen is also delightful and if you’re polite she’ll let you sample new products. This place was a true find.

  4. Fairway Packing Meat Co.(fairwaypacking.com)
    1313 Erskine St. Detroit, MI 48207
    Phone: 313-832-2710

    This is the number one spot in the state to get quality steaks and meats. For example, they sell a burger meat called the Smokehouse Blend. It’s comprised of equal parts Beef Short Rib, Kobe Brisket and Chuck. I’ve yet to serve it to anyone that didn’t rave about it. The best steak I’ve ever cooked came from Fairway, a Wagyu 28 day aged bone-in Strip. It literally melted in my mouth. Everything at this place is high quality.

  5. Srodek’s Sausages and Pierogis (srodek.com)
    9601 Joseph Campau
    Hamtramck, MI 48212
    Phone: 313-871-8080

    I stumbled upon this place after a morning court hearing in Hamtramck. I was looking for a place to get good Polish Sausage and three people in the courthouse (including the Judge) all recommended Srodek’s. Well, they were right. This is the best Polish Sausage I’ve ever had and all of it is homemade. Their Hunter;s Sausage, especially the Venison blend, is also first-rate. Finally, the Pierogis are dynamite, especially the Pulled Pork ones and the Corned Beef with Swiss.

  6. Steve Smith Teas (smithtea.com)
    1626 N.W. Thurman St.
    Portland, OR 97209
    Phone: 503-719-8752

    I first read about this Tea maker in a beverage magazine wherein they were featured in an article regarding a tea that they aged in whiskey barrels. I became intrigued and ordered some of their teas. I now order their tea regularly, especially their Kandy, a black tea. I also really like their Brahmin and Yunnan. Every once in a while they make a specialty tea. One of my favorites was a tea they aged in Pinot Noir barrels. Mr. Smith is, quite frankly, a genius.