Polashek's Locker staff with 'Bizarre Foods' host Andrew Zimmern: First row from left; Katie Stika, Adam Polashek and Judy Polashek. Back row from left; Cory Polashek, Paul Polashek, Andrew Zimmern, Greg Shimek, Dave Ott and Ashley Polashek. (Submitted Photo)
Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods," known for exploring cultures through unique and sometimes astounding entrées with host Andrew Zimmern, paid a visit to Polashek's Locker Service in Protivin, Thursday, July 12, to sample a collection of its award-winning sausage products.
Founded in 1983 by Paul and Judy Polashek, the Locker offers meat services including beef, pork and venison processing and retail sales. Their products are often distributed to local community grocery stores.
The Polasheks have three sons, two of which, Adam and Corey, work at the family business. The Locker's achievements include reserve champion in 2012 at the Best of Midwest Cured Meat Competition for their ring baloney and numerous awards for their lunch meat, jerky and "smokies" sausage at the annual Iowa Meat Convention.
A representative of the Travel Channel contacted the Locker in May to request information about the products and details about the business. After a 30-minute discussion with Polasheks, the correspondent asked if they would be interested in hosting the Bizarre Foods crew at their business.
"They said they'd call back if they needed any more information," said Adam Polashek. "I didn't think they'd call back, but they must have called three or four times before they finally revealed the Locker would be a Bizarre Foods feature in their Iowa episode tour."
According to Polashek, Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern and a film crew of about 10 arrived the morning of July 12 and began recording interviews and footage of the staff making all the selected food items. While most of the products were made during the filming, batches were already prepared beforehand for recording Zimmern's taste testing. The menu products prepared for Zimmern and the film crew were jaternice, pickled pork hocks, pickled beef tripe and headcheese.
"He didn't spit any of it out," said Polashek referring to Zimmern's taste test. "Zimmern and the film crew loved the jaternice, and they devoured the whole batch."
According to recipetips.com, jaternice is a pork sausage typically made from pork liver, pork snouts and/or jowls that are ground together with spices and cereal. It is also known as white jets, liver sausage or ring pudding sausage. Commonly served in Czechoslovakia, jaternice is also a popular food item with Bohemians and is often served with sauerkraut or potatoes and various vegetables.
Polashek also remarked on the opportunity for Bizarre Foods to showcase the unique meat products, which are not commonly recognized.
"Jaternice is not well-known, so it was great occasion to present this item in Bizarre Foods," said Polashek. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have Andrew here at the Locker."
The episode will air sometime in December and will feature several other Iowa destinations including Mount Vernon and Des Moines.
For more information about Polashek's Locker, visit www.polashekslocker.com