There are two guys in my band from Sheboygan, Wisconsin — let’s call them the Two Guys From Sheboygan. After many missed invitations, I finally got myself over to Cory’s for a real Sheboygan bratwurst cookout, complete with his parents visiting from Sheboygan.

Now, I live for stuff like this. Little ol’ foods from places that specialize in those little ol’ foods. Cory’s parents brought the sausages, hard rolls, and even some 4-year aged white cheddar, fresh from ‘Sconnieland, and you can bet I was taking copious notes. This is the kind of food you can’t get just anywhere, so when you do get it, it’s glorious.

You think you know what bratwurst tastes like? Not if you buy it at the grocery store. And if you can’t get all the way to Munich or the German Alps for the real thing, you’d do well to fly some in from Wisconsin and give your friends a fantastic treat. This bratwurst, cooked outside on a grill, doesn’t taste smoky or garlicky or any of those other flavors that tend to make sausage all taste the same. And there’s no liver in it, so give that idea up, too. It’s just quietly savory, and all the flavors balance together into something you can’t really figure out.

And the brats are only half the experience. The other half is the rolls, which although they’re called “hard rolls” are anything but. They’re as light and soft as a fresh piece of French bread, but more satisfying and chewy. They’re not sausage-shaped, either, which is cool.

Sheboygan brats are served on a buttered hard roll with good mustard, ketchup, slivered red onions, and a side of coleslaw. If you’re up to it, put two sausages on there, but Cory’s mom said you can also just slice one sausage longways in half to cover the roll. And they’re great left over: Warm them up in a skillet. Butter the roll and heat the halves face-down in the skillet til the butter melts.

Don’t wait for football season to try them. Baseball and brats are the ticket. Get yourself to Sheboygan online. Some of the best local factories don’t ship their sausages, but the following vendors do, and they’re Cory-approved. Johnsonville sausages are widely available, but according to him they’re not quite as good.

Sheboygan Bratwurst Co
Fresh Sheboygan Hard Rolls
Johnston’s Bakery
Bake Your Own Hard Rolls

And how ’bout some local brew?

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