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Get grilling: The wurst and best (cheddar) brats to serve this Fourth of July

Brat_Brand-TestWith the holiday around the corner and a season of backyard barbeques ahead, we were craving a summer staple in the office: brats. And with a fair amount of our office from Wisconsin, we threw in a classic twist. Cheese.

“My favorite brand test yet.”

—Maggie Alt, Account Manager & Wisconsin native, brings her own sauerkraut to the party.

The Contenders:

  • Johnsonville Beddar with Cheddar
  • Teton Cheddar & Mild Jalepeño
  • Schweigert Smokey Cheddar
  • New Bohemia Mac and Cheese

The Criteria:

  • Overall taste
  • Texture
  • Packaging

The Breakdown:

Johnsonville_Brats

Johnsonville:

Taste/Texture:

For many of us in the office, Johnsonville is our go-to brat. It’s easy to find at any grocery store and always satisfies the “I need a brat” feeling. Compared to other brands, we noticed this brat seemed sweet and had a softer interior. The cheese was there, but it wasn’t as cheesy as the others and had an air of artificiality.

Packaging:

Our brat expert, Maggie, says, “Contrary to prior belief, I can’t always crush six brats in one sitting.” The resealable packaging Johnsonville uses is key and sets itself apart from other brands. Additionally, showing a cooked brat (grill marks included) gives the packaging taste appeal.

Teton_Brats

Teton:

Taste/Texture:

This brat surprised us (in a good way) with hints of jalapeño. It had a nice smoky flavor and the ratio of brat, cheese and spice was on point. Each bite remained interesting.

Packaging:

Teton’s packaging immediately stands out through their use of color and straight-forward design. Using “100% grass-fed beef” as a callout reaches an audience of people who care most about the quality of their meat. With this information larger than Teton’s logo, it can be implied that the company cares more about how their brats are made than about brand recognition.

Schweigert_Brats

Schweigert:

Taste/Texture:

Schweigert’s brats have a smoky, cheddar flavor. The brats’ wrapped casings give it a straight-from-the-butcher appeal. Overall, this brat has a great flavor and nice saltiness.

Packaging:

Schweigert’s packaging reflects a traditional-style that you’d expect from a mom and pop butcher shop. The nutritional information on the front, though promoting ingredient transparency, makes the design feel cluttered. The imagery provides taste appeal, but it gets lost in a dark background.

New_Bohemia-Brats

New Bohemia:

Taste/Texture:

Local to Minnesota, we were excited to try this brat. In tasting, we noticed a sweetness and greasiness (the kind you want in a brat). We loved the strong prevalence of cheese, but the softer texture, likely due to the cheese, was a bit of a turn-off.

Packaging:

The authenticity and simplicity of New Bohemia’s packaging draws us in. Like Schweigert, the packaging offers a style that seems like it’s straight from the butcher shop across the street. We suppose in this case, as a local brand, it sort of is.

The Verdict:

The winner of ‘Best Brat’ in the IN Food Taste Test was the Teton Cheddar & Mild Jalapeño. Distinguished by a smoky flavor and zing of jalapeño, this brat left a mark on our palates. It’s flavor, firm casing, and seasoning kept each bite engaging and delicious.

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