The Green Bay Packers’ victory in Super Bowl XLV has put the team back on the national radar. When people think of the Packers, they first think of legends like Vince Lombardi, Ray Nitschke and Brett Favre, or current players like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews Jr. and Greg Jennings. Then, naturally, they think of cheese, beer and bratwurst.
I live in Wisconsin and I can tell you cheese, beer and brats aren’t just for the tourists. They’re part of our culture. What many don’t realize is that like cheese and beer, brats come in all kinds of varieties. Our state is filled with small butcher shops that compete with one another to come up with ever more elaborate variations on the theme of “mildly spiced pork in a sausage casing.”
One of Wisconsin’s more popular “alternative” bratwursts is the Packer brat. It gets its name from how it varies from a standard brat. Packer brats have green peppers and cheese stuffed inside them, representing the Packers’ green and gold team colors. Some butchers also include sauerkraut.
Adding peppers, cheese and kraut changes the taste quite a bit. The tang of the cheese and kraut combines with the bittersweet peppers to create a deep, complex flavor. The aroma of a Packer brat on the grill or in a frying pan is nothing less than a sniffable appetizer. The aroma of a leftover Packer brat in the fridge, however, can be a bit horrifying, so keep them tightly sealed.
If you’d like to try Packer brats, you can buy them online from Glenn’s Market in Watertown, Wisc.