History of Thielen Meats
Many people in central Minnesota and many who pass through Morrison County have known for the past 80 years about the fantastic meat market known as Thielen Meats of Pierz. The meat market was started by Phil Thielen in 1922. They were first located in back of a furniture store in downtown Pierz, a farming town of 1,300 people 110 miles north of the Twin Cities.
Phil's son, Lerald or Junior, worked for his dad and eventually took over with his wife, Dorothy. They built the present building in 1961. Lerald died in 1977, but Dorothy's still around and still helps out sometimes.
Thielen Meats is currently owned and operated Lerald's son Keith and his three sons Matt, Andy, and Joe.
It was Phil Thielen who developed the bacon-making formula still being used today. It all starts with good-quality pork bellies, currently supplied by a packing plant in North Dakota. The bellies are hung on racks that are then rolled on overhead tracks into a 6-by-12 foot steel smoke chamber or smokeshouse. It's how great-grandma and grandpa did it. There's nothing written down; it's just the way we've done it for 80 years.
New York Times
Bacon With Meat to It by Melissa Clark
October 9, 2002 — Melissa Clark released an article in the New York Times saying that she found some bacon with some real meat to it during her trip through Minnesota. She said that Thielen Meats of Pierz has bacon with an ideal meat-to-fat ratio: there's just enough fat to carry all that good porky flavor but not enough to leave a greasy puddle in the frying pan. Read the entire article.
Bacon Sales are Sizzling after Nation Gets a Whiff
November 16, 2002 — After the New York Times article was release the phones were sizzling at Thielen Meats in Pierz. For 80 years people have known about the uncommonly good bacon being produced in Morrison County by Thielen Meats of Pierz. The Thielens were working 14 hour days for weeks just to keep up with the deman for their famous bacon. They went from selling 1800 pounds a week to selling 9000 pounds a week. Bacon was even ordered by Martha Stewart for her cooking show.