Ear cooked on a campfire.

Cook Like a Wisconsinite: Fish Boil Recipe

Make your own authentic Wisconsin fish boil with this recipe from The White Gull Inn in Door County.

Serves 6

Recipe courtesy of The White Gull Inn in the Door County burg of Fish Creek. The inn cooks the fish outside over a wood fire, using a 22-gallon pot and two nets, one for the fish and one for the potatoes. This recipe is for cooking at home on your kitchen stove.

Note: You’ll need a 5-gallon pot, preferably with a removable basket or net, for draining. For smaller quantities, one basket or net is sufficient for both the potatoes and fish. If your pot does not have a removable basket for draining, you can make one cheesecloth bag to hold the potatoes and one to hold the fish, or drain the food in the sink, using a colander.

Step 1Wash 12 small red potatoes and cut a small slice from each end, for flavor penetration. Bring 8 qts. water to a boil in pot; keep it boiling as much as possible throughout the cooking procedure.

Step 2Add potatoes and 1 c. of salt; cook 20 minutes. Check doneness with a fork; they should be almost done. At this point, add 12 whitefish steaks (cut 2-inches thick) and 1 c. salt. Cook approximately 8-10 minutes, until fish are still firm, but begin to pull away from the bone when lifted with a fork.

Step 3At the inn, when cooking outside, they toss a small amount of kerosene on the fire when the fish is done, causing the fish oils, which have risen to the surface of the water, to boil over the sides. Do not attempt this at home; simply skim the oils off the surface with a spoon while the fish is cooking.

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21 Ways to Eat Like a Wisconsinite


Step 4Lift cooked potatoes and fish from the water; drain. Serve immediately with melted butter and lemon wedges.

*The amount of salt used in the fish boil is based on the amount of water. To expand this recipe, add 1 cup salt for each additional gallon of water.

‘Eat Like a Wisconsinite’ appears in the March 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.




Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.