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Answering all of your Brat Questions

We’re coming up on the 4th of July and that has us excited about one thing – BRATS!  The 4th of July is one of the biggest brat holidays of the year, which makes for a busy weekend at Lake Geneva Country Meats.  Throughout the year, we get a lot of questions about our brats and we’re aiming to answer those below. Check out the videos and see if your most burning question gets answered!

Rows of brats in case

How do you recommend cooking brats?

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Everyone has their favorite way to enjoy a brat, but we have one sure fire way to get a delicious brat every time.  The answer to this question depends on if you’re cooking a fresh or pre-cooked brats.

If you’re cooking fresh brats (they come wrapped in white butcher paper), we recommend parboiling them first. Put them in a pot of cold water, bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat and let them simmer for about 10 minutes. This step will allow the brats to cook through thoroughly.  After simmering, you can throw them on the grill or under a broiler to get those beautiful grill marks or just to help brown them up a bit. Make sure they’re 165ºF before you eat them!

If you have one of our pre-cooked brats, it’s simple; just throw them right onto a low-medium grill or under the broiler for 3-4 minutes per side and you’re good to go! You can also simply microwave our pre-cooked brats and have them ready to eat in no time at all!

For complete instructions on how to grill brats, check out this video.

Should I boil my brats in beer?

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NO!  This one surprises a lot of people, but the beer/boiling combo makes them not taste so great – the beer gets kinda acrid tasting, which isn’t a flavor we love on our brats.  If you love the idea of beer brats, place your cooked brats in a beer bath at the end of the process, but we do not recommend this as a first step.

What is the spiciest brat at Lake Geneva Country Meats?

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We have a lot of spicy food lovers and they want to know what our most spicy brat is. We have a lot of brats that incorporate some heat, but people want to know what the spiciest brat of them all is!  Any guesses?

Well, Nick is revealing the spiciest brats we carry! And here we go:

  • Smoked bacon cheddar and jalapeño.  This one is a pre-cooked option so great to grab for a quick bite to eat.
  • Fresh taco brats!  That’s right, all of your favorite taco flavors packed into a little sausage.  But what really gives it the kick is the bits of jalapeño mixed in.  Yum yum.
  • And if you love jalapeño, even a bit spicer than our taco brat is our jalapeño popper brat.  This one has habanero cheese and a spicy seasoning mix added to pieces of jalapeño.
  • Lastly, if you’re a fan of chicken brats, try our chicken hot wing brat.  This one gives you all of your favorite buffalo chicken flavors and is the best topped with ranch dressing!

Pound for pound, bang for your buck, the Jalapeño Popper brat is going to be the spiciest of them all!

How many brats do you make in one day at Lake Geneva Country Meats?

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Each day differs a bit, depending on what we’re working on, but here is a quick glimpse into a week of brat-making at Lake Geneva Country Meats.

Fresh brats are made on Mondays and Thursdays.  Jeff and Aaron keep super busy with this task and crank out plenty of amazing brats for you.

In a slower week, we make around 1,500 pounds of fresh brats (plus more precooked).  There are 4 brats per pound, which means on any average week, we are cranking out 6,000 fresh brats in a week.

Now, on a week like 4th of July, we’re getting a bit more crazy.  When it’s all said and done, we will make close to 16,000 brats.  That’s 3,000 – 4,000 pound of tasty LGCM sausages.

What is the difference between fresh and pre-cooked brats?

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Our fresh brats are not cooked at all.  They are what you see in the fresh meat case, alongside our beautiful steaks, chops, burgers, and more.  You’ll want to cook these to an internal temperature of 165 at home. We generally can do some more fun things with flavors in the fresh brats since we don’t have to worry about how the flavors and textures will end up after being cooked twice. That’s why you’ll see macaroni and cheese, cherry, chicken hot wing and tons more as fresh brats only.

Our pre-cooked sausages are just that; fully pre-cooked by us.  We do this in our smokehouse.  Some of the sausages are steamed and some are smoked.  These are fully ready to eat.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you could eat them cold!  But, we would recommend at least throwing them in the microwave for a bit to warm it up.  Pre-cooked brats are great when you need a fast meal or perfect for events like tailgating!

Do you put fillers in your brats?

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YES!  But not what you think.  You better check the video out for a great Nick Dad-joke on this one.

But yes, we use non-fat dry milk and other items as binders.  This is what helps keep the brat packed together.  Without any binder, your sausage would fall apart and end up with a mealy texture that no one likes. Everyone’s definition of “Filler” varies a little bit, but you can trust we only use quality ingredients that are safe for human consumption as evaluated by the FDA & USDA.

How do you come up with all of those delicious brat flavors?

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Our flavors come from all sorts of places.  Much like an artist who gathers inspiration from everything, we like to think we do the same for brat flavors!

Sometimes a customer comes in with a great suggestion that we want to try.  Sometimes Nick eats a meal he loves and thinks the flavors could work well as a sausage.  And sometimes we work with our spice companies to test out fun new flavors.

We’ll usually run a small-scale test batch to see if it passes our quality tests. Ideas that sound great on paper can go wrong in execution – the texture can be off, or flavors can not quite come together. You never know, and we may need to make some tweaks, or scrap the flavor all together! But usually, we get the recipe just about right, and will scale up to full sized production batches and bring a new brat flavor to you!

What are the most popular brats at Lake Geneva Country Meats?

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Well, this is a quick and easy one.  You ready?  Here goes:

  1. Cherry – a long-time leader and our cherry brat just keeps gaining in popularity.
  2. Fresh – everybody loves a classic!
  3. Portabella Mushroom & Swiss Cheese – made with local mushrooms from just down the road grown by River Valley Ranch.
  4. Cheddar & Green Pepper – Green and Gold, just like the #1 football team 😉
  5. Onion & garlic – a classic flavor combo for people who like a boldly seasoned sausage.

And a rising star that’s always gaining in popularity is our Honey Mustard – maybe it’ll break the top 5 soon!

We hope this post answered your LGCM bratwurst questions – if you have more, feel free to leave us a note in the comments below and we’ll get back to you with an answer!

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