FISH Cookbook

The Modern Carnivore Podcast

In today’s podcast I sit down with Jamie Carlson and special guest Jon Wipfli. Jon is a Twin Cities chef who grew up in Wisconsin and then went off to get trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York before heading back to the Midwest (Minnesota) where he continued his food journey. He’s the founder of Animales Barbeque Co. which sits just outside of Able Seedhouse brewery in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. He’s also the author of the cookbooks VENISON, and the forthcoming FISH cookbook (links below). We talk about growing up in the midwest, learning to hunt and fish, and then dig into what it means to cook great fish. Enjoy the conversation!

The Modern Carnivore Podcast is talking FISH (the forthcoming cookbook) with its author Jon Wipfli #fish #fishing #cookingwild #meat Click To Tweet

Links from Today’s Podcast

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Fish Cookbook - Northern Pike Modern Carnivore

Why Listen to The Modern Carnivore Podcast?

With all the podcasts out there why would you want to listen to this one? Well, if you’re looking for a new adventure in the outdoors we’ve got some very interesting guests talking about topics related to honest food and wild adventures. Get ready to be entertained and enlightened on topics related to hunting, fishing, foraging…and more.

Here are a couple other podcasts you may be interested in:

Episode 9: Foraging For Wild Food with Jenna Rozelle from “Downeast” Maine

Episode 8: Hunting and Fishing In The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

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The Modern Carnivore Podcast is talking FISH (the forthcoming cookbook) with its author Jon Wipfli #fish #fishing #cookingwild #meat Click To Tweet

Transcript Of Podcast – Fish Cookbook by Jon Wipfli

Introduction: 00:08

Welcome to the Modern Carnivore Podcast. A guide for those interested in hearing more about hunting, fishing and other paths to eating more responsibly. Now here’s your host, Mark Norquist.

Mark: 00:23

Hello everyone and welcome to this episode 10 of the Modern Carnival or podcast. Today I am joined by John Wipfli and Jamie Carlson. Jamie, you are probably familiar with as he is a regular contributor on Modern Carnivore and if you haven’t checked out a couple of his recent recipes, I highly recommend it. One of them is a nettle pasta and if you think about stinging nettles, they’re generally something that you want to avoid when you’re in the outdoors because obviously they can create a stingy irritation, uh, to your skin. But Jamie shares with everyone a recipe for turning these wild weeds into this beautiful green pasta, which I think is pretty fascinating. Another recipe he recently did was a venison heart tar-tar. If you have not eaten heart from a large angulate like a, like a deer, you’re missing out. The tar tar recipe is, is essentially a way to prepare it raw and, uh, I’ve had heart with Jamie before and I know he knows how to prepare it very well and so I think you would find that recipe fascinating.

Fish Cookbook

Mark: 01:40

So I’m also joined today by John Wipfli. John is a new guest on the Modern Carnivore podcast. John and I get to know each other several years ago when he was an executive chef developing menus for a major barbecue chain and I knew at that time given his background that he was going to do a lot of amazing things. He was just getting ready to finish up a wild game cookbook called Venison, which we have talked about on Modern Carnivore before and he has a forthcoming cookbook here in the summer of 2019, early summer, that is called Fish and it is a comprehensive fresh water fish cookbook. And we talk about that today. John’s got a really great background. He is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York. He launched a few years ago, the Minnesota Spoon, which was a way to share barbecue in the north. And his regular gig now is he created a food truck called Animales Barbecue, which is in North Minneapolis where it sits outside of Able Seedhouse, which is a phenomenal brewery, uh, in the, uh, in the north loop area of Minneapolis. So if you are in the area, please go check it out, check out the food truck, checkout Able Seedhouse, and most importantly check out John’s fish cookbook when it comes out here in the next few weeks. Enjoy the podcast.

Mark: 03:18

Okay, we are at Able Seedhouse in North Loop area of Minneapolis. I am joined today by a couple of guys here. Why don’t you introduce yourselves.

Jon: 03:33

I am John Wipfli, uh, owner of Animales Barbeque Co, which is right outside Able (Seedhouse) Brewing four days a week. And I also wrote the Venison cookbook that’s sitting next to you and I have an upcoming fish cookbook that we’ve released this on May 15th.

Mark: 03:52

There you go. We’re done with the podcast

Fish Cookbook

Jon: 03:54

There you go. Drink some beer.

Mark: 03:58

That sounds good. We do have good beer.

Jamie: 04:01

I’m Jamie Carlson. I’m a contributor to Modern Carnivore and here to provide entertainment as always

Fish Cookbook

Mark: 04:09

So a little bit noisy here in the, in the brewery, but these guys were kind enough to let us come in here, uh, on the day when it is closed. And as you mentioned, Jon, we are sitting about 20 yards from your food truck and uh, you know, why don’t you just, let’s start with that. Explain a little bit about, about the food truck.

Jon: 04:30

Uh, you know, planning for this food truck went back probably a year and a half now. Um, more than that actually. And we finally got it launched last August, end of the summer. So we missed the busy season. We just went through our first winter. I think we closed only for two or three days throughout that terrible winter we just had it so it was a long, a long winter to be working in a food truck

Mark: 04:55

I do notice you’re in flip flops today.

Jon: 04:58

Yeah, man.

Mark: 04:58

…and we’re supposed to get 15 inches of snow on Thursday

Fish Cookbook

Jon: 05:01

(yea) It’s stupid.

Jon: 05:02

No, I can’t, I’m over it. Um, yeah, so, so we finally got the barbecue food truck up and running. Uh, we just smoke fresh meat four days a week, serve them right over the smoker kind of deal. And we smoked meat until we run out. And that’s just, that’s how it works.

Mark: 05:22

And we, we are, we are a, the reason you’d grunting is we do have somebody else here with us today. And who is that?

Jon: 05:29

That is my Weimaraner Hank who was usually fairly well behaved, but the moment you stop paying attention to him, he does stuff like this.

Mark: 05:38

He’s a big boy.

Jon: 05:39

He IS a big boy

Fish Cookbook

Mark: 05:40

So, um, I have had your barbecue before, but before you had this truck and so I’m looking forward to trying it out. You’ve got some, some crazy, uh, uh, items on the menu there that look really good. And I know your tagline on your Instagram account is a stretchy pants recommended, which I like. I like that. Um, but you got what? The Meat Tornado, is that a, is that one of your items?

Jon: 06:06

Yeah, that’s a, that’s a one day a week item. So that’s a Sunday-only item. And that thing, I mean, just honestly, it just started as a joke. And um, we basically, so the way that came up as we take our ribs are ribs have 12 bones in them. We take the last two bones off of each rib, smoke those, and then take the meat off of it. And then we turn that meat into a sandwich cause it eats better after it’s picked. Um, and instead of trying to eat it off the bone where it can get kind of fatty down there. And um, so we were trying to figure out a way to use that meat that was still a quality way to use it. And then I was watching a parks and rec one night and Ron Swanson has a meat tornado line and we just decided to run it. And then people like recognize a reference and then Instagram caught onto it. And we haven’t been able to not run it since then. So Sundays, start selling it at noon. We do about 40 a week and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Mark: 07:03

So how often are you selling out of a, of product

Fish Cookbook

Jon: 07:07

Uh, summer months. We sell out a pretty much every day (that) we open right now. We sell out of our smoked meats. The way we do it is we load the smoker up, we fill it with pork belly, ribs, um, and sausage. And for example, we’ll load at once on a Saturday at 7:30 in the morning and then once at noon and we’ll sell out the first round by 4:30. And then we pull out the second round and usually sell it out by 8:00. But then there’s some other items like Tacos and bowls you can get later on into the evening.

Mark: 07:34

Okay, cool. Cool. So, um, you know, the, the main purpose of our conversation today is to talk about your forthcoming cookbook called Fish, correct? Yup. You got it. But, uh, let’s, let’s step back a little bit first in, talk a little bit about you in your background. Cause we’ve talked about having you on the podcast for a long time.

Jon: 08:01

Yea, a while now.

Mark: 08:01

And, uh, I just mean it was back before Venison when we were, when we first started talking about some different things. Um, but uh, when did, when did you start hunting and fishing? Did you grow up with it? Did, did you learn it later on?

Jon: 08:16

Yeah, so my family…I grew up in a hunting and kind of an outdoors family. And so I was always around it when I was a kid and it was a part of just our daily (routine). You know, I grew up in the middle of Wisconsin, so that’s not that uncommon. Um, it was just a part of the day-to-day sort of operation. And then I took part in it to a small degree when I was younger and through high school. And then when I left Wausau, Wisconsin to move on to go cook, I really didn’t take part in hunting. Um, and kind of for like a 10 year span, I was more focused on other outdoor activities: camping, biking, hiking, snowboarding, all that stuff. Um, and then when I moved back to the Midwest when I was, I guess I had been 26 or 27, it just naturally fell into place as a thing to do in the outdoors. I have a huge circle of friends who hunt fish and it’s just the, you know, it’s just the best activity you can do in the Midwest and this region. So when I moved back here, immediately started, uh, just participating in those activities again. Um, and then it just kind of fell in line with cooking. Um, obviously as a byproduct of hunting. You end up with some meat occasionally. If you’re lucky. And uh, yeah, now we’re here

Fish Cookbook

Mark: 09:38

Very cool. So when you were growing up in Wisconsin, did you deer hunt?

Jon: 09:45

I didn’t deer hunt until my twenties. It was, I always, well, I would go to deer camp and, you know, hang out with the guys and drink beer. Um, but it was mainly, uh, birds and fishing.

Mark: 09:58

Okay. Okay, cool.

Jamie: 09:59

When you were younger, the venison, the game, whatever you had, was it any good?

Jon: 10:09

Man, you know? Uh, it’s hard to say. Yeah. One thing I do remember is eating, uh, eating a lot of lead and I didn’t like that experience. Experience. Yeah. Um

Fish Cookbook

Mark: 10:24

I don’t know, I think it’s a good ingredient.

Jon: 10:25

So it’s a little toothy.

Jamie: 10:28

Growing up. I’m actually surprised that I’ve actually enjoyed wild game anymore because any deer that was shot was turned into summer sausage.

Jon: 10:38


Jamie: 10:38

Uh, all of it. There was nothing left over. And anything else that was shot was cooked until it died a second death. And the ducks that we’d get, the geese that we get, we’re dry and stringy, and at that age, you know, I’d take a glass of milk, the at each bite down. Yup. So I was just curious if other people had similar experiences here in the Midwest

Fish Cookbook

Jon: 11:02

I think, you know, I think there was a lot of crock pots involved.

Jamie: 11:06

Yes. And cream of mushroom soup.

Jon: 11:08

Yeah. Uh, yeah. And that’s kind of my memory of it. It definitely wasn’t an elevated experience,

Mark: 11:14

You know, you know, for me it was a, it was the, uh, probably the worst preparation for, for game, uh, when I was a kid was, was ducks where my grandmother’s recipe that my dad would always follow was roasting them, and we always plucked her ducks. We never would never skin or notes, always, always plucked him no matter how small, little teal to large mailers. Um, and then, uh, in an attempt to keep them moist, you know, he put two bacon strips across the top, you know, cross cross her, which did no good really in the end. I mean, I think it was, you know, you’d bake it for, oh my gosh, I don’t even know. Hour and a half or whatever it was…

Jamie: 11:59

But you got to eat two pieces of bacon…

Mark: 12:03

Actually, they were never cooked that well, so, you know, and they would just get so dried out like that. I still remember when I was in my early twenties, first time I read a recipe on super high heat baking, just just with the duck and then serving it rare and going, oh my gosh, why haven’t I been doing this my whole life

Fish Cookbook

Remainder of transcript available upon request.

Thanks for listening to the Modern Carnivore podcast with Mark Norquist, Jon Wipfli and Jamie Carlson. You can continue the journey by going to

Posted by Mark

Mark Norquist is Publisher and Editor of Modern Carnivore. He's spent a good part of his life outdoors. He has a passion for hunting, fishing, foraging and eating healthy food.