Meating the challenge at the state fair

Pingel Processing gets third place for dried/smoked beef; other entries in top 15
Lynn Zaffrann

Although Pingel Processing LLC didn’t actually bring home the bacon at the 2023 Wisconsin State Fair meat competition, its entry in the Dried or Smoked Beef category brought home an honorable mention third-place ribbon. This was quite an accomplishment for owners Dallas and Dani Pingel and their full-service meat market and wild game processing plant in Red River, as it was the first time they entered products into competition at the annual fair.

Dallas Pingel’s efforts last June to submit his house-made meat products to the Wisconsin State Fair 2023 meat competition turned out to be a winning move. The third-place submission was a whole muscle round out of beef that was injected, brined, smoked and shaved.

“We always wanted to do it,” Pingel said. “But the deadline always snuck up on us. This year, we were committed and did it.”

Pingel Processing also entered five other products in other categories, with the Pingels noting all of them placed within the top 15. The other products they submitted were bratwurst, olive loaf, ring bologna, jalapeno cheddar snack sausage and bacon.

Considering they were competing against 100 other meat plants, this is a significant showing for a first-time competitor. Pingel said that he was familiar with some of the other meat plants that competed.

“There are some that we watch win other awards, like federal awards, and they go to Germany and win awards,” he said. “There is some big competition there, bigger companies.”

The dried beef entry was sold at the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction. A meat market in Middleton, UW Provision, placed the winning bid of $1,900. The Wisconsin 4-H Foundation was the recipient of the auction’s total proceeds, which was more than $105,000. The foundation supports 4-H activities, conferences, teaching materials and workshops, plus the overall development of 4-H youth.

All of the products that Pingel submitted to the fair are sold in the retail area of the plant, which has been in Red River for about four years. Previously, it was on Main Street in Shawano.

“Everything we sell is made here,” Pingel said. “We make over 40 different flavors of brats; we have a huge variety of snack sticks, summer sausage, jerkies, bacon. Everything is made on site. Everything is processed here. We do make homemade pizza, with homemade sausage, pepperoni, bacon.”

The fresh meat case includes a variety of beef, including steaks, roasts, ground chuck and brats. Chicken, stuffed pork chops and other products are also for sale.

“We have meat bundles; those are really popular heading into the winter,” Dani Pingel said. “The cool thing about that is that Dallas is very good in that, even if you order a bundle and you’re not really a big fan of chuck roasts and want more ground chuck, he’ll make the bundle exactly what you want.”

Dallas Pingel said that the plant processes a lot of wild game, including deer and bear. He employs three to six workers, depending on the time of year. They work on venison trim all year-round. During winter, they are in a crunch to process deer, so the venison trim may get backed up.

“We’re the only processor that is still taking whole deer,” Pingel said. “When a deer is brought in properly field-dressed, we skin it, cut it, grind it, wrap it. Everything is vacuum sealed. We make over 50 kinds of venison sausage, bacon, snack sticks, bologna, hot dogs.”

“The venison scraps that a customer may have in the freezer after processing a deer can be brought to us any time of the year,” Dani Pingel added. “If it’s off-season, it’s like a two week turn-around.”

In addition to the meat products in the retail store, Dallas Pingel explained that most of what they sell is made in Wisconsin.

“We sell local maple syrup. We have a variety of soups that are made locally,” he noted.

Other items in the store include barbecue sauce, seasonings, cheese and even locally made buns for hamburgers and brats.

Winning third place at the fair puts Pingel Processing on the way to future wins and becoming known throughout the state for its products and services. Although they didn’t bring home the bacon, the company’s bacon entry did come in at 13th place.


WHAT: Pingel Processing LLC

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Deer and bear drop-off from 10-11 a.m. Sundays.

WHERE: W9248 County Road A in Red River.

CONTACT: 715-851-8281, on Facebook at Pingel Processing LLC, and at