It’s all about taste for Brian Young, who has brought a little bit of the party life of Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Bowling Green, with his Wisconsin Style Italian Beef.
“Because of COVID, I was sitting by myself for weeks at a time. … The recipe was a natural,” Young said. “It’s a Crock-Pot recipe. Plug it in on the workbench and eat some Italian beef.”
Young isn’t of Italian heritage, but he grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Kenosha.
“The Italian beef, it’s a staple that’s easy to make. When people come over, I use it for parties. This next one coming up, is a barbecue theme, otherwise I’d use it. Christmases, or New Year’s Day, my family made it.
“Giardiniera, you can’t really find it around here. It’s in every grocery store in Kenosha (Wisconsin). It’s an Italian town. It’s basically an Italian relish,” Young said. “The one you see around her, with cauliflower and carrots in it, that’s not the one I use. It’s hard to find,” Young said. “You can find it at Walt Churchill’s, but I haven’t found it in any store here. Look up Chicago-style Giardiniera, but I don’t use the hot version. I use the mild version.”
He found the Enrico Formella brand online, as a good example. It’s more finely chopped.
“There are different brands, but you don’t want the version with the big cauliflower in it. That’s wrong,” Young said. “Don’t use that. It’s more like a chopped, but not ground up relish. You’re not going to find it in this town.”
He prefers it on Italian bread rolls, but he can’t find the exact ones that he likes in Bowling Green, so he just uses hamburger buns.
For the spices, he uses a common generic packet from Kroger.
“It’s just an Italian dressing mix. Normally you would put vinegar and oil in there and it makes an Italian salad dressing, but I never use it for that. Basically it adds the salt you need and I sprinkle it on top of the meat after I put it in the Crock-Pot.
“You can buy any kind of meat. I use chuck roast, but if you want a less fatty version, you can use top round, or something like that. I guess it just depends on how much fat you want to deal with.”
Young came to Bowling Green because of his wife’s job. Just before the pandemic started Maureen Barry was hired by Bowling Green State University as a first-year experience coordinator with library teaching and learning.
He works for Advanced Food Products, a Pennsylvania company based in Lancaster County, best known for the Amish population. He works in the True Dairy Specialty Products division, as a sales division manager.
When he lived in the Dayton area he started two microbrewery bars with live bands and held porchfests.
“Here, we started doing these COVID porch things, because no one could go out last year. We knew some bands and it just started with these bands playing on porches. People could stand outside and wear masks. We can keep our pods together,” Young said. “Everyone felt safer.”
They had eight porch shows since the pandemic started and they continued in his garage, called “The Speakeasy.”
Some of his porch shows included Tree No Leaves, Toraigh and Zack Fletcher, from Moths in the Attic.
The Speakeasy was started during the pandemic. It started with a simple bar.
Then Young added high flow HEPA air cleaners that filter the air every 10 to 12 minutes. That led to insulation, lighting, tables, heating and a large screen television. He expanded the garage with heavy duty double tents, so as to allow for social distancing.
The ceiling and walls are filled with beer and music memorabilia.