The Best of the Wurst: A Guide to Wisconsin’s Top Brats

By Hilary Burg
Staff Writer

Few foods say classic Wisconsin as clearly as the bratwurst. Hot off the grill and full of flavor, brats are the food of our tailgates, parties and backyards.

We in Wisconsin are passionate about our bratwurst – ask around, and you’ll be sure to get some strong opinions on the “right” ways to prepare them (Never boiled, grilled over charcoal, served on a hard roll). Whatever way you like your brats, here are some of the best stops around the state to indulge in this Wisconsin favorite.


State Street Brats – Madison

Located right in the heart of downtown Madison, State Street Brats is one of the city’s most iconic stops. This lively sports bar knows what Wisconsinites want – they do brats, burgers and beer, and do them well. Whether you’re looking to fuel up for a full day of Badger sports, or just craving a plate of classic Wisconsin food, State Street Brats won’t disappoint.

Otto’s Beer and Brat Garden – Minocqua

Otto’s Beer and Brat Garden in downtown Minocqua features delicious Sheboygan bratwurst, live music, and a large selection of Wisconsin beers. Enjoy your meal inside the European-style pub, or outdoors in the beer garden!

Charcoal Inn North and South – Sheboygan

Known as the birthplace of the American-style brat, Sheboygan County is home to some of the very best bratwurst, and there are few better places to get it than the Charcoal Inn. This no-frills family restaurant is a favorite among locals, and has earned their reputation by serving up juicy, flavorful brats in their simplest form- and making them delicious enough to stand alone. Get a single or a double, at either of two locations around town.

Brat House Grill – Lake Delton

The perfect stop after a long day of excitement in the Wisconsin Dells, the Brat House Grill has selection of bratwurst wide enough to please the whole family. Brat House grill serves a variety of traditional brats, chicken brats, and Polish and Italian sausages, all cooked to perfection and served with a side of homemade chips.

Meat Markets

Looking to fire up the grill yourself? Check out these Wisconsin meat markets with great selections of brats! 

Leahy’s Sausage – Lake Geneva

Leahy’s Sausage has proudly served high quality meats to the Lake Geneva area for 50 years. Among their closely-guarded secrets is the recipe for their family favorite- Cherry Bratwurst, prepared with a special blend of spices to make it “a little bit sweet, a little bit juicy, and a lot delicious!” Not near the Lake Geneva area? No problem- Leahy’s offers their fresh flavors at a number of retail partners around Wisconsin and Illinois. 

Hoesly’s Meats – New Glarus

Family owned and operated since 1983, Hoesly’s Meat Market is a New Glarus staple and produces some of the best Brats in town.  Hoesly’s offers a wide variety of traditional and specialty Brats, with flavors such as Philly Cheese, Swiss Mushroom, Pizza, and Beer!

Louie’s Finer Meats – Cumberland

Louie’s Finer Meats offers some of the best Brats and Sausages in the Northwest- and they have the awards to prove it. Having received numerous state and national honors, Louie’s knows what it takes to create bold, flavorful products.  With over 100 varieties of Bratwurst and an in-store bakery with fresh buns and rolls, Louie’s is your one-stop shop for a delicious Wisconsin meal.

Glenn’s Market – Watertown

Glenn’s Market earned their claim to fame by being the largest fresh retail meat market in Wisconsin, boasting a 36-foot fresh meat case and a 12-foot selection of Wisconsin cheeses. With so many choices, including gluten- and MSG-free options, Glenn’s has a brat (or two!)  to suit everyone’s taste.

Ski’s Meat Market – Multiple locations

Ski’s is known throughout the state for their freshly made, hand-twisted brats. With locations in Stevens Point, Oshkosh, and Green Bay, you’re never too far from indulging in one of Ski’s unique flavors – be it Bloody Mary, Apple Cinnamon or Maple Breakfast Sausage! 


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This entry was posted in Other Specialty Foods Restaurants