Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out.

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JRPfeff
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/06 08:51:30 (permalink)
stricken_detective

My mom wants to come, too!!! A definite 3 for me.


" /> Does this mean I should hide the liquor and firearms?
mayor al
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/06 09:14:38 (permalink)
I think it means you better find a way to "Tap Another Keg", and plan on deep-frying some cheese curds !  Oh Yeah, don't wear a #4 Jersey either. Memories of that "Lost Relationship" might put "Mom" 'Round the Bend' !!

Have a good time Folks, and get plenty of "Action" photos!
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/06 12:38:00 (permalink)
Final preps being made just before departure:

Defrosted brats from Thuringers and Schmeisser's-check.

Tomato, avocado, and corn salad-check.

Cooler for anticipated leftovers and maybe a quart or two of Kopp's flavor of the day on the way out of town-check.

Bobbi's fabulous Cherry Almond Pie for ChiTownDiner, frozen in Chicago since WSM Smoke Day back in May and now making its way back to its point of origin-check.

Skipped breakfast so as not to impede consumption of ridiculously copious amounts of bratwurst-check.

I reckon we're ready to go.  See you in a few hours.

Buddy
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/06 13:45:07 (permalink)
I forgot to mention I'm bringing Caprese Salad skewers as my side.
And a bottle of wine.

stricken_detective
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/06 13:57:37 (permalink)
JRPfeff

stricken_detective

My mom wants to come, too!!! A definite 3 for me.


" /> Does this mean I should hide the liquor and firearms?




She is looking forward to meeting everyone. I want to warn you, she is very very friendly & talkative. You may all get to see Quiet Aimee in contrast to her today.

My boss is a lot of fun as well. She just texted me that the Racing Sausages are at the Sendiks over on Capital & (is that Brookfield Rd or Calhoun Rd?) she SCREAMED when she saw them.
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/06 13:59:14 (permalink)
Oh & mom is bringing cucumbers in this sauce she makes out of white vinegar, sugar & onions. And a bottle of wine.

I am bringing a bottle of Passionfruit Mojito Mix.

My boss is bringing bok choy salad.

See you all shortly!!!!
JRPfeff
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/06 20:47:11 (permalink)
And the first runner up is .....

Roseland Bratwurst
JRPfeff
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/06 21:52:04 (permalink)
The winner is ......

Schwai's
kland01s
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 08:19:03 (permalink)
Let's see some photos as proof!
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 09:05:04 (permalink)
I just got yelled at on Twitter 'cause we didn't include Outpost Co-op's Bratwurst.

Do over!!!


JRPfeff
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 09:26:22 (permalink)
This is the only picture that I took.

JRPfeff
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 09:38:07 (permalink)
I was too busy to take pictures yesterday, but this image approximates to scene after the final bratwurst was sampled.

MilwFoodlovers
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 10:18:11 (permalink)
kland01s,
One of the guests lives near you. He almost brought Wurst Kitchen brats. I assured him he was smart to not have spent the $.

It was an extraordinary day, probably never to be repeated. Our two hosts deserve special recognition for not only pulling this off, but for putting up with this motley crew of Wurst Prüfers. CSD's Big Wally and the jalapeno cheese dogs were huge hits. Mrs. JRPfeff made the most incredible German-style potato salad any of us had ever tasted. The man, JRPfeff, had every brat cooked to perfection without beer used in cooking them or keeping them; like fine Q, low and slow makes the best wurst. The many side dishes, various beers, watermelon all combined to make this a day to remember. The buns, butter and hard rolls all sat untouched as we learned that even small samples of 30 brats are a helluva lot of brats to eat!
Thanks again to our hosts who have my vote for best  Roadfood hosts!p.s. Great to see CTD, Big Ugly Mich and spouse, the Roadhouse clan, the CSD's, The Olson's, Sal, Paulie, heck just a treat to see this great group again, The Contingent!
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 10:54:52 (permalink)
Outstanding afternoon! And if I hadn't been there and tasted for myself, I never would have believed the finals! I'm thinking it will be awhile before I eat another brat.
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 11:04:10 (permalink)
I think I'll spend some time today finding Wisconsin's best high-fiber cereal.

Many, many thanks to the JRPfeffs for hosting and cooking, CSD for bringing and grilling some Vienna Beef treats (I think I might be visiting Woodman's very soon to get ahold of some VB jalapeno-cheddar dogs), everyone who contributed brats, and all the others who brought side dishes and beverages or even just showed up with a willingness to put themselves through the contest.  Abe_Froeman and Mr. Maki brought some garlic polish-style hot dogs that looked really good but unfortunately they never made it to the grill; I think that might've been the only disappointment of the day.

Brad
post edited by Brad_Olson - 2009/09/07 11:14:13
JRPfeff
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 11:11:57 (permalink)
Come on over.  I'm cooking leftover brats for lunch.

Yes!  I really am.

I'm going to do my original plan of pitting the "Champions" against each other.  It will be a different kind of test, on bun with condiments.

I am also preparing a Bracketology for those who didn't attend.  It will highlight some of yesterday's biggest surprises.
kland01s
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 11:47:06 (permalink)
MilwFoodlovers

kland01s,
One of the guests lives near you. He almost brought Wurst Kitchen brats. I assured him he was smart to not have spent the $.


I haven't had a Wurst Kitchen brat in a while, last few have been from Ream's in Elburn, Il.

Speaking of burn....   I think I have heartburn from thinking about all the brats you all consumed! I always knew you people "up North" were a hardy bunch!


JRPfeff
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 11:55:52 (permalink)
kland01s

MilwFoodlovers

kland01s,
One of the guests lives near you. He almost brought Wurst Kitchen brats. I assured him he was smart to not have spent the $.


I haven't had a Wurst Kitchen brat in a while, last few have been from Ream's in Elburn, Il.

Speaking of burn....   I think I have heartburn from thinking about all the brats you all consumed! I always knew you people "up North" were a hardy bunch!

 
Ream's bratwurst held a special distinction in yesterday's contest.  Of the 30 different competitors, Ream's was the only bratwurst to receive 0 votes. ZERO!  A complete shutout.

Fine Illinois Bratwurst, indeed! 
MilwFoodlovers
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 12:09:43 (permalink)
Oooo, I always wondered what FIB stood for.  
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 12:30:24 (permalink)
I wrote a lengthy post very early this morning, about 4:00am, and just seconds before I hit the “Post Message” button, something went screwy with my DSL connection, froze up the computer and ultimately lost everything I had written.  After five minutes of swearing and slamming my fists, I went to bed.
 
Take two.
 
Well, it was quite the event, although perhaps not exactly as we had all planned it in our minds prior to the day.  I don’t think anyone ever got to eat an entire bratwurst on a bun, but no one left hungry or dissatisfied.  There was a church supper’s worth of non-brat food, plenty of good company, and picture perfect, end of summer weather to distract us from any perceived shortcomings of the day.
 
JRPfeff and his able assistant, Brad Olson, kept the brats cooking throughout the afternoon.  Unfortunately, the judging process took longer than anyone could have imagined (let’s see you try to cook almost 30 entries fairly and evenly and keep track of the whole thing in a blind tasting situation).  After doing all that tasting it was a wonder any of us could still stand up, let alone crave another bratwurst.  Yeah, it was just a half an inch at a time, but multiply that by as many as 20 samples each and that’s a whole mess o’ bratwurst you’ve just eaten.
 
It really didn’t matter.  While Jim and Brad were heroically slaving over the coals, the rest of us were congregated off to the side where tables were set up with side dishes that included jumbo shrimp smothered in artichoke hearts and pimento, cucumber salad, caprese salad skewers, bok choy and ramen salad, avocado/tomato/corn salad, another salad with mandarin oranges and more ingredients than I could identify, and finally, as MFL mentioned, the most amazing German potato salad any of us have ever tasted.  Apologies to anyone whose contribution I missed.  I’m still in a food induced fog and my memory is a bit shaky.
 
I’ll take a moment to describe the potato salad because it was just that good.  Bobbi Pfefferle was responsible for this wonderful creation (no surprise).  The difference in hers over others we’ve all had, is that she sliced the potatoes when they were raw, rubbed them with a bit of olive oil, and roasted the slices on a baking sheet, resulting in a gorgeous and appetizing deep brown color and slightly caramelized flavor.  Add to that piles of crisp bacon, added at the last minute to avoid the typical sogginess of most store bought versions, and a stunning dressing that gave you a mouth watering vinegar hit off the top that quickly receded to let all the other flavors come through, and you’ve got, what we all described as, the best German potato salad on the planet.
 
Once we got through round one of the judging, JRPfeff graciously relinquished one of the four grills he had working so that chicagostyledog could introduce us to Big Wally (a ½ pound of pure beef pleasure in a natural casing), and Vienna’s newest release, a jalapeno cheddar dog.  They both must be pretty good if we could still appreciate them after ingesting that much bratwurst.
 
Once the winners were announced, anyone who could walk (waddle?) from the yard to Bobbi’s kitchen was treated to dessert waffles in angel food, chocolate, and graham cracker varieties.  Light, fluffy mousses waiting to be dolloped atop the steaming hot waffles included Key lime, hazelnut, cheesecake, and chocolate, with hot fudge and caramel toppings available for drizzling on top.
 
This was a spectacular event.  As others have noted, with I’m sure more praise to come, we cannot thank enough our overly generous and gracious hosts, Jim and Bobbi Pfefferle.  You guys went far above and beyond in opening up your home and devoting your talents to making your fellow Contingent members feel welcome.  To everyone who participated in the day’s festivities (and to those who couldn’t make it, you were missed), a heartfelt “Thank You” from the Roadhouses and the froemans.  You people are what Roadfood is all about!
 
Buddy
 
P.S. Among the topics discussed yesterday was the next tour, which will take place in Milwaukee.  But I’ll leave it to the organizers of that event to make their announcement when they are darned good and ready.
 
B.
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 14:16:08 (permalink)
The Great Brat Challenge - Bracketology

This is a rundown of the bracket results from Sunday's Great Brat Challenge. There were numerous surprises, well beyond ALDI's second place finish.

This is the final list of bratwurst entries.
  • Christman Meat
  • Eden Meat Market
  • Glenn’s Market
  • Gooseberry’s
  • Hoelsy's
  • Jacobson Bros.
  • J.L. Richards
  • Johnsonville
  • Karl’s Country Market
  • Klement's
  • Konop’s
  • Kramarczuk's (from Minneapolis)
  • Loehr's Meat Service
  • Miesfeld’s
  • Mr. Baseball's Brats (made for Uke by Usinger's)
  • Ray's Meats
  • Ream's Elburn Market (from Elburn, IL)
  • RJ's Meats
  • Roseland Bratwurst - aka, Mystery Brats II - aka, ALDI brats
  • Roundy's - aka, Mystery Brats
  • Ruef's
  • Sausage Haus
  • Schmeisser's Homemade Sausages (from Niles, IL)
  • Schwai's
  • Sendik's Fine Foods
  • Sheboygan Brat Company
  • Sorg's
  • Spar's (from Buffalo, NY)
  • Thuringer Meats (from Arlington Heights, IL)
  • Usinger's

The poultry brat participants were:
  • Glenn’s Market Turkey Brats
  • Karl’s Country Market Turkey Brats
  • Miesfeld’s Chicken Brats
  • RJ's Meats Chicken Brats
The voting at the taste-off was conducted as a blind tasting. Each bratwurst was cut into several bite-size pieces and my guests sampled 3 or 4 at a time and voted for their favorite. The samples were unadorned by bun or condiments, so the results are not reflective of what you eat around your backyard grill.

I should have limited the amount of samples in the first round, because my judges quickly were filled up and became rather sick of bratwurst by the final round. The taste-off took 5 hours from the first tasting until the championship vote was cast.

An analysis of the results follows.

"Champion Bratwurst"

This exercise in insanity began with my wanting to pit 4 bratwurst makers that advertise themselves as "Champion" in one form or another. The four are Glenn's Market, Karl's Country Market, Miesfeld's and RJ's Meats. Of these four "Champions," only RJ's advanced out of the first round. Both Karl's and Glenn's missed advancing by one vote, Karl's losing to Mr. Baseball and Glenn's losing to Usinger's. You can read whatever you want into Usinger's producing Mr. Baseball's Brats.

Of special note is Miesfeld's, often held up as the standard for bratwurst excellence in Wisconsin, and more importantly, in Sheboygan. Miesfeld's received only one vote in its first round heat.

Mass Produced Brats

Johnsonville, Roundy's, Klement's, Usinger's, Mr. Baseball, Roseland, and Sheboygan Brat Co. are what I consider mass produced brats. Surprising to me, many of these did well against the specialty sausage makers, with all but Johnsonville and Roundy's advancing from the first round. Both Roseland and Sheboygan Brat Co. made it to the finals, and Usinger's missed advancing by one vote.

Johnsonville, like their Sheboygan County neighbor Meisfeld's, deserves special recognition for receiving only 2 votes, less than even the storebrand Roundy's received.

High-End Grocery Brats

I have 3 brats that I would include in this category - Sendik's, Gooseberry's, and J.L. Richards. They are from the meat section of grocers/caterers, not from a stand-alone butcher or sausage maker. I found all three of these to be forgettable, although Gooseberry's did advance to the second round.

Flatlander Bratwurst

Perhaps this is a preview of the results of this week's Packers-Bears game. Of the 3 brat entries from Illinois - Ream's, Schmeisser's and Thuringer - none advanced out of the first round.

Ream's bratwurst held a special distinction in yesterday's contest. Of the 30 different competitors, Ream's was the only bratwurst to receive 0 votes. ZERO! A complete shutout.

Ream's calls themselves "Fine Illinois Bratwurst." Indeed, no better description is possible!

Flying Sausages

The poultry brats were disdained by the meat eaters yesterday with one exception. Karl's Country Market's turkey brats were judged to be the best and were described as the most like a pork bratwurst.

The Champion

By the time the final rolled around, I let a few of my non-voting helpers know that ALDI had advanced this far. When the voting commenced, it was clear that Roseland (ALDI) and Schwai's were the clear leaders. I asked Brad Olson to taste some samples just in case there was a tie.

When the votes were counted, Roseland and Schwai's were deadlocked. Brad cast his vote for Schwai's (he did not know the brat identities) and Buddy showed up late and chose Schwai's. Thusly, a Badger State cultural tragedy even exceeding Brett Favre in a purple jersey was averted.

Wrap-up

It was a super event, but never again. In this format it took too long to complete and I was on the verge of losing control a couple times (I misplaced my numbered entry list once which was needed to decipher the numbered results). Hopefully, these results will provide you some guidance when you go shopping for encased meats.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2009/09/08 20:46:04
Michael Hoffman
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 16:31:25 (permalink)
Too bad you didn't try Carle's from Bucyrus. You had your chance. 
Poverty Pete
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 20:13:26 (permalink)
Bucyrus?  That was the name of the horse Alexander the Great rode into battle.  I didn't know there were preservatives strong enough to make sausages from him.
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 20:23:08 (permalink)
We entered Bucyrus in a special ancient Greek horse bratwurst category along with Pegasus Brand Flying Sausages and some hollow wooden brats that said "Made in Troy" on the label.  JRPfeff threw a couple of those Trojan brats on the fire and it almost seemed like you could hear screaming coming from inside the brat.  Weird, huh?

Buddy
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 20:44:50 (permalink)
Are you certain that it is spelled "Bucyrus" ??   I have heard the name "Butkus" used when describing a knarled old tough weiner from Chicago !!
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 20:49:25 (permalink)
Actually, I just googled it, and the horse's name was Bucephalus...so, mebbe this Bucyrus brand is a little fresher.
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 21:39:18 (permalink)
Thank you very much Jim & Bobbi for your hard work and hospitality and thanks also to everybody else for a great day. I had a lot of fun.
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 22:18:37 (permalink)
You're welcome Gyp and everyone else.  We had a ball, thanks for making the work worthwhile.

Meanwhile, the wheels are already spinning for next Labor Day.  I guarantee there will be absolutely no bratwurst prepared and served by yours truly at that event.

Jim
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 23:51:04 (permalink)
BuddyRoadhouse

We entered Bucyrus in a special ancient Greek horse bratwurst category along with Pegasus Brand Flying Sausages and some hollow wooden brats that said "Made in Troy" on the label.  JRPfeff threw a couple of those Trojan brats on the fire and it almost seemed like you could hear screaming coming from inside the brat.  Weird, huh?

Buddy

We're those Trojan brats ribbed?
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Re:Wisconsin's best bratwurst? Let's find out. 2009/09/07 23:52:49 (permalink)
Thank you Thank you Thank you for such a great day. It was ALLLLL I heard about today from my mom (she had a great time, I am sorry I could not find her off switch. ), and my first text this morning was:

"I got squirted by Big Wally's Wiener at SausageFest '09."

from my boss who also had a great time, as did I.

As someone else pointed out, it was nice to get together, relax, talk, eat, and not be running from place to place for a change. It's something The Contingent might consider for some outings this winter (after the one we were hearing about Sunday of course).

Dinner tonight was 2 Big Wally's (thank you CSD!!!) simmered in mom's kraut (one 32oz jar of franks, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar), homemade potato salad & leftover bok choy salad my boss had brought.

Photos to come, Mrs JRPfeff is the EVIL GENIUS of dessert & potato salad.
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