Wooden Windmill, Fremont, Nebraska

For over four years now, Kelly Goudy, friend and manager at Butler’s restaurant at the Inn at Essex, has been raving about her family’s Wooden Windmill in Fremont, NE. “If you ever make it out that way, you have to stop in and visit. Just take a right off of interstate 80, then take route77 until you see the big wooden windmill on your left. “ Well, we finally made it out. The directions may have been that simple, but I fell asleep just before we were supposed to turn and got us a tad mixed up. What can you expect? It is vacation, after all. (This is my excuse for today, as I’ve also mixed up East & West once. Okay, or twice or so…) But, back to the smoking Wooden Windmill. Kelly’s mother, Michelle, and her husband, Kent Hulett were our gracious hosts for our stay in Fremont. Kent, along with his brother Kevin, own and run this successful smoke-house. In true restaurant form, the moment we arrived, Kent had to excuse himself and ran off to open the Wooden Windmill because his opening staff member did not show. Many of us know this situation all too well. You may have the best, most reliable staff out there, but it’s still the service industry, and, inevitably, someone doesn’t show at the worst opportune time. So, this said, we understood, and offered to go in and help. Michelle had made a huge spread of roast pork with Jamaican jerk sauce (home made, of course), tomato mozzarella salad with fresh basil out of her back deck garden, sliced cucumbers and onion in vinegar, salad, potatoes, iced tea…It was out of this world. I couldn’t get enough of the jerk and added it to my salad, also. We sat out on their very peaceful back deck amongst the zillions of butterflies and relaxed and digested a bit before going into town to visit the Wooden Windmill. After a bit of exploring the area and seeing the Platte River, we decided we were up to the challenge of another meal (our other only a few hours behind us). The Wooden Windmill lived up to Kelly’s years of tasteful description. We ate smoked short ribs, smoked pork ribs, smoked chicken, smoked pulled pork, corn muffins, baked beans, coleslaw, and even an enormous (not smoked) burrito. It was all to die for. The smoke flavor in everything was all the way through, but not over powering. Just right. It was evident that someone very skilled had taken pride in this food. To complement the smoke, Kent also has his signature bbq and hot sauces “Baby Huey”. My favorite is the sweet hot, Marcus’ is the original. With full bellies, we retired for the evening in the camper out in front of Kent & Michelle’s home and rested up for the following busy day.

Knock knock…room service…was the wake up call. Coffee (yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!) delivered right to our door! For once, I almost didn’t argue getting out of bed! What wonderful hosts! They more than spoiled us. Chef Marcus & Kent met up with Kevin, Kent’s brother, at the Wooden Windmill and fired up the large black rotating smoker. Once the fire was just right, they smoked pulled pork and bologna. This took about four hours (something that in competition, which the Wooden Windmill does occasionally, would take as long as 8 hours). After an interview with the Fremont Tribune, http://www.fremonttribune.com/articles/2007/09/05/news/local/doc46decf12ad972961881534.txt , and lots of sampling of their hard work, Kent & Chef Marcus headed over to the local tech school where Marcus spoke to 20 students in the culinary program about New England Culinary. All in all it was a very successful and fun day. We greatly thank Kelly, and Kent & Michelle for a wonderful visit to Nebraska. Such connections as this is what makes for a wonderful adventure!

Published in: on September 9, 2007 at 7:29 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sounds like you had fun in the Iowa this past week! My daughter is interested in the culinary arts and it would have been great to have known you were in town to listen to you talk about NECI.

    I really enjoyed reading your entries. There is nothing like traveling and experiencing local spots and especially local seasonal produce.

    I always try to impart on my daughters the enjoyment of eating fresh Iowa produce like radishes, asparagus, morel mushrooms, sweet corn, fresh eggs, tomatoes, venison, etc. They long to have these things all year round but I remind them that you enjoy what you have and soon another product will be coming into season.

    It is kind of like the seasons in Iowa. We get an equal amount of all 4 seasons which keeps everyone excited about what is coming next.

    Good Luck in your travels,


  2. Hope all is well. Just catching up on my reading…

    I was at work today and I heard a rumor that you guys were coming to maine for an alumni breakfast with chef michelle leborne. just had to find out if this was true.

  3. How’s the gold digging going, guys? I sent you Chef Michel’s schedule of upcoming alumni events, especially as you head further west. I highly recommend the Husum
    WA alumni event, near Portland OR; you can go for the day or just for the reception. I passed on the address in MT to Dawn and Amy Hill who should be mailing you the table apron/drape, whatever they call that thing! Keep in touch!

    Erika, it’s killing me when I look at the pictures of all of the smoked meats and I still have an hour before lunch time… not fair!

  4. JOHN L, We are sorry we missed you in Des Moines, as well. I would like to send you infomation on the New England Culinary Institute for your daughters, if you’d like. I also could set you up with the two alumni that I spent time with, Sean or Haley Wilson, to speak with you or possibly visit the kitchens they work in. Feel free to contact me at 802-734-7118 while we’re on the road and be sure to visit the http://www.neci.edu website. Continue to promote eating fresh & local! Chef Marcus

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