3 Recipes from the Great Lakes region of the US

These three delicious recipes will give you a flavour of life in the Great Lakes region of the US. 

There’s some fabulous food to be found in the Great Lakes region of the US, from spam burgers in Minnesota to the home of tomato juice in Indiana.

The region, which consists of the states of Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio, has a diverse range of delicious food, from the unusual to the iconic. Try some for yourself below…


Tomato Juice

tomato juice

Did you know that tomato juice was invented at the French Lick Resort, Indiana? This recipe dates back 103 years.

Chef Louis Perrin’s recipe:

  1. Clean and remove stems from one bushel of ripe tomatoes (canned tomatoes may be used instead if desired).
  2. Puree or mash through a fine sieve, discarding the pulp.
  3. To four gallons of juice add one gallon of water, two full tablespoons of salt and an equal amount of sugar to each gallon.
  4. Stir well, place in sealed cans, and heat in boiling water for 30 minutes.
  5. Cool slowly and remove to reasonably cool storage.
  6. Serve either hot or cold.



Horse Shoe Sandwich

horseshoe sandwich

A favourite in Springfield, Illinois, here's the recipe for the perfect Horseshoe Sandwich:


  • Frozen French fries
  • 8 slices toasted white bread
  • Baked ham, sliced or 8 cooked hamburger patties
  • Dash of ground paprika

For the Cheese Beer Sauce:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Prepare frozen French Fries according to package directions.
  2. Place two slices of toasted bread side by side on individual serving platters. Top with either ham slices or cooked beef patties (your choice).

  3. Cover with Cheese Beer Sauce.

  4. Mound a large amount of French fries on top and along the sides.

  5. To garnish, sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately.

  6. Makes 4 servings.

Cheese Beer Sauce method:

  1. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks and beer until mixed; set aside.

  2. In the top of a double boiler over hot water, melt butter and Cheddar cheese. Add Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper; stir until well mixed.  Add egg mixture, a little at a time, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir until mixture thickens and begins to bubble around the edges.

  3. Remove from heat and keep warm until sandwiches are assembled.


Spam burgers

spam burgers


  • 1 can (12 oz) Spam Luncheon Meat
  • 1 Tbsp Miracle Whip salad dressing
  • 6 lettuce leaves
  • 6 hamburger buns, split
  • 6 slices (3/4 oz each) American cheese
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 12 thin slices dill pickle, optional


  1. Slice Spam into 6 slices.
  2. Using a large skillet saute Spam until lightly browned, remove to paper towels.
  3. Spread Miracle Whip on both sides of each bun, layer remaining ingredients on the bun bottoms & cover with the tops.