Ore Dock, Social Distancing & Backfat...

Our first ever Social Distance Tap Take Over with Ore Dock was a HUGE success! Our Facebook Live – not so much! We did the best we could and made the most of the situation. If you were one of the folks listening in – I couldn’t even get the camera to work, so it was literally just listening – Thank you for bearing with me and my technical difficulties! We sold a ton of beer but haven’t popped any kegs yet. So if you missed out on grabbing beer tonight, the Ore Dock tap list is still current. Bramble on Rose, Berserker, Banderilla and Queen City Kolsch were our biggest sellers!


A full work week into the Stay Home, Stay Safe order and The Wicked Sister is still doing fine. Knowing that this will last a while, we are making additional changes inside to help keep our guests and The Wicked Sister crew safe. Our salt & pepper shakers have been washed and sanitized, just waiting to be refilled when we can be open for dine in guests. Our chairs are flipped because trying to keep up with sanitizing them after each guest was just too much. Our menus, pens and frequent touch points are sanitized after each use. The Wicked Sister’s number one priority at this point is the health & safety of our crew and guests. Remember, we are happy to offer curbside pickup if you prefer to stay in your car!


Since I promised to share this story earlier in the week, and it makes the perfect point of “If things don’t as planned, just do your best.” Plus, today was a super fun day so it’s good to end with a fun story –I’ll tell you about the time my grandpa convinced me to render lard which turned into an enormous disaster! 


About eight years ago – Ironically, I think it was during the H1N1 outbreak – my grandpa decided that we needed to raise pigs because pork prices were going to skyrocket. Grandpa bought five piglets, one for each family. They were sweet and adorable, and I just couldn’t imagine eating them – although 5 months later, this changes, I promise. 


Grandpa primarily raised them, and the plan was to have them butchered and processed in late November; however, we failed to account for hunting season. Love’s Meats was unable to take them due to the high volume of deer processing so we would have to wait. Grandpa had bad hips and said he no longer felt safe getting into the pen to feed them. How I ended up on pig duty – not living on the compound and having two small children at the time – is beyond me, but I’m sure Grandpa simply mentioned it and I probably volunteered. I HATED every minute of feeding the pigs! They were mean, they were disgusting, and I had to carry 5-gallon pails of grain and water through the cows who I’m convinced saw a sucker coming and made my mission all the more difficult. My dad would actually wait for me to pull up to the barn and would watch the show safely from the “good” side of the fence. I no longer felt bad about eating the pigs.


By December or January, we were able to get all five pigs butchered and processed. I remember Grandpa coming back from Rudyard, standing around the back of his pickup truck drinking a beer. He said aloud, not really to me, “It’s a shame to waste all this good backfat.” I casually asked what we would do with backfat. He smiled and said, “My mom and grandma would have made lard…You know lard makes the best pie crust.” And because I’m a complete sucker, I offer immediately to render lard for Grandpa. Beers finished, we load - I don’t know - a hundred pounds or more of back fat into my car and off I go. 


After some research, Pinterest is giving me two methods: On the stove that seems faster, but requires a lot of attention, or in the crock pot that is slower, but requires little work from me. I opt to go with the Set It & Forget It method. A few hours in, the backfat is melting but there’s a weird smell coming from the crock pot. Another hour and I’m getting a headache. I can’t really describe the smell, but if you think of a hot day in the pig barn at the Chippewa County Fair, that’s fairly close. Another hour and I can’t take the smell anymore! I shut off the crock pot, turn off the furnace, open every window in the house, and the kids and I escape to my parents’ while the house airs out.


After many hours, we come back home. I’m horrified that I can smell “it” from the street, and the inside isn’t any better. I lit a fancy candle to try to combat the smell, but there’s no hope. After a day or two, our house finally returned to normal. The backfat still in the box was loaded back into my car and returned to Grandpa. I threw away an otherwise perfectly good crockpot because I couldn’t get the smell of melted backfat out of it. We eventually threw away the candle because neither Brian nor I could light it without getting nauseous. And my grandpa laughed his ass off.


While I’m sure homemade, freshly rendered lard is amazing – for $3.97 I can run to the store and buy an entire pound. (Which is way cheaper than a new crockpot!) The point is, I tried something new and it was an absolute disaster! Tonight, we tried something new and it definitely didn’t go according to plan! And that’s ok. We’ll keep trying new things. We’ll learn from our mistakes, as much if not more, than our successes. The point is to keep trying and to keep moving forward. 

Thank you for your continued support of The Wicked Sister, and graciously allowing us to learn from our mistakes! Be on the look out for our Sunday Brunch plans this weekend. Continue to be safe and we look forward to seeing everyone as soon as possible!