Did you make a list of everything you want to cram in this summer? Is repeated backyard grilling top of the list? Then we are like-minded, and you might just want to print this list and keep it in your glovebox. There are a lot of great brats out there, and only one summer of 2014 in which to devour them. Some might say it’s not a true bratwurst unless it’s consumed in Sheboygan on a Johnston Bakery hard roll. Call them they will send you some! Otherwise, just consider it a delivery device to enjoy some of the most delicious brats in the world from here in Minnesota (yes, we’re talking to you Wisconsin)! Here are Dara’s Top 5 Bratwurst for your grilling pleasure.
Classic Brats: Kramarczuk’s
215 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414
For Twin Cities Brat lovers, this should be the obvious choice. The institution in Nordeast has been making classic brats for decades and nothing has changed (unless you count being able to scarf these bad-boys down at a Twins Game now). Kramarczuk’s classic Polish Sausage might be the best in the country, the wonderful white-colored Bockwurst is fantastic and of course, get the perfectly made brats and you’ll make all your grill mates happy! It’s a classic but for good reason. They make the best sausage in town.
Fancy Farm-driven Brats: Clancey’s
4307 Upton Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55410
There’s no secret that Dara is a lover of Farm-Driven. As we all should be. It’s just better knowing where your food came from. It tastes better, it helps the local farmers and economy plus you know it’s fresh. Clancy’s in Linden Hills does a few on the fancy side (Fennel Pollen with Pork, Lamb-Blueberry Sausage, etc) plus some classic sausages. It’s a tiny place, an old-fashioned Butcher Shop and they do everything local from the farm to your grill. You will taste the difference.
Another mention here for those on the east-side of the Twin Cities. Head to Heartland in Lowertown St. Paul. Lenny Russo’s superb farm-to-table restaurant also has a market and meat processing. You’ll never know what they put in the sausage case but rest assured it will be fresh from a farm, local and delicious!
Crazy variety Brats: Grundhofer’s in Hugo
15449 Forest Blvd N
Hugo, MN 55038
What about the “crazy brats”. The brats you tell people you’re making and they wonder if you’ve inhaled too many lighter fluid fumes. Grundhofers in Hugo (and also need to mention Anoka Meats) is the place for you. Gummi-Bear Brats anyone? Cherry Kool-Aid? Wild Rice, Mushroom and Swiss, Pizza, and on and on. You won’t find that in Bavaria. Grundhofer’s has over 40 brats to choose from (not all as weird as Gummi-Bears by the way). If you’re looking for something really unique, the food that will make you stand out from the crowd at your next grilling party, then this is where you need to shop.
Southeast Asian Brats: 88 Oriental Foods
291 University Ave W
St Paul, MN 55103
Maybe you think this is an odd addition to a bratwurst list. And we wouldn’t really disagree. But when you talk locally made and totally delicious sausage making, don’t look past the great Asian culture we have in the Twin Cities. They make a great brat! A lot of the Southeast Asian Markets in the Twin Cities are doing their own sausages and brats with flavorful pork, lemongrass and tons of spices. 88 Oriental Foods in St. Paul along with Golden Harvest are perfect stops to try a new flavor in your tubed meats. They’re usually zingy, sweet and spicy. Sounds good to us.
Travel-ready Brats: Butcher & Boar Sausages at Lunds & Byerly’s
While the brat is really the finest travel-ready food we can think of right off the bat, the Butcher & Boar Brats you’ll find in the case at Lunds and Byerly’s stores are the simplest buy for ease of transportation. Just chuck them in the bottom of the cooler and you’re off to the cabin. You know Butcher & the Boar from their downtown Minneapolis “meatery” where you can devour everything from Wild Boar Chops to great brats. They now package up a couple of their favorites and sell them in Lunds and Byerly’s. Dara’s favorite is the Smoked Chedderwurst but don’t miss out on the kickingly good Smoked Hot Links! Perfect with your favorite brew.