Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bratwurst Stuffed Peppers - Brat Days Part 2: Entertainment

In my last post, I mentioned some of the "bratxotic" foods that we had at Brat Days in Sheboygan, WI.

bratxotic - adjective - of foreign or unusual character for a bratwurst, of uniquely new or experimental nature.  Country Town of origin:  Sheboygan, WI.  

The thing that I learned from that was to be creative and use bratwursts in ways other than just link sausage.  Dice it, slice it, or use it as bulk sausage.  Brats - they aren't just for buns anymore!  With that in mind, I tried something bratxotic this weekend.  

Fire Roasted Bratwurst Stuffed Bell Peppers


  • 4 links Johnsonville Original Brats
  • 4 ea green bell peppers
  • 1 cup pearl couscous, cooked according to directions*
  • 1/4 cup onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella 
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill set up for indirect heat to 350f.  
  2. Cut the top off of the bell peppers, remove the core and blanch the peppers for 3 minutes.  (Drop in boiling water and then remove them to ice water.)
  3. Remove the brats from their casing, break up into small pieces and brown in a saute pan over medium high heat.  As the bratwurst just starts to brown, add the onions and garlic.  Finish cooking until the sausage has browned.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce and Italian seasoning, cooking for another minute.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese.
  5. Stuff the meat and couscous mixture into the bell peppers.  Top the stuffed peppers with the remaining 1/2 cup of marinara sauce.  
  6. Place in a grill safe dish (we like stoneware) and roast on the grill for 45 minutes total.  Top with the remaining cheese in the last 10 minutes.  
  • Couscous measurement given is the precooked amount.  
Using the bratwurst as bulk sausage was excellent.  I can't believe I've never tried it like that before.  It cooks like Italian sausage but brings a different taste profile that we really enjoyed.  

Brat Days - Entertainment
When Johnsonville invited Alexis and me to attend Brat Days, I knew that the food was going to be good.  What I didn't know is how entertaining it was going to be.  The Sheboygan Jaycees packed some fun stuff for this festival.

Saturday started off with the Brat Days parade.  It starts off in picturesque downtown and ends three miles later at the festival.

Where does a 13 foot tall Bratmeister grill his brats?  Anywhere he wants to!
I didn't get a lot of parade pics because I was busy.  I was lucky enough to get to be the Grand Marshal of the parade!  We had a great driver (more about him next post) and joked about pulling off the scene from the end of Animal House but we mostly behaved.

When we finished the 3 mile parade route, the tail end of the parade was still just starting, so it was a LONG parade.  I got to keep the two door signs so I now possess the world's largest refrigerator magnets :)

Then there was the Brat Eating Contest.  Contestants had 10 minutes to eat as many brats (no buns or condiments) as they could in an attempt to split a $1,000 prize with the local charity of their choice.  
On your mark.....get set.......


The big crowd cheered them on as they chowed down.

The rules is that whatever is in your mouth at 10 minutes AND you swallow, counts.  The state Wing Eating champ Andrew Contois was 1 brat behind the leader and crammed 3 brats into his mouth to get to 15.  After 5 suspenseful minutes, there was an "incident" and he did NOT win.  When the smoke cleared, the magic number was....

Wally Jacoby (2010 Champion) was the 2012 Brat Eating Champ!  He ate about 3 1/4 lbs of bratwursts in 10 minutes.

Yes, Wally shows off his iron stomach by chowing down another brat during his radio interview.

The midway rides provided fun for all ages.

The park has a nice skateboard & bmx park.  The local kids kept it busy all weekend.

The event had three entertainment stages and there was always a band playing somewhere.

The Storm is a band of four 12 year olds and they did really well, playing a mix of older alternative songs and current hits.
Two bands that I had never heard of but really impressed us were...

Daphni - they did some fun 80's covers but their original stuff rocked even more.

Shaker and the Egg - a funk band that .... well....played that funky music, white boy.  
A band called Hairball was the festival's closing act.  The way Hairball was explained to me, I thought, "Oh, it's a cover band."  I couldn't have been more wrong.

Their tagline is "A bombastic celebration of arena rock".   They do cover rock classics but do it in the most entertaining way I have ever seen.  They swap out lead singers and each one is dressed in full costume for whatever band they are covering every other song.  So their performance is a rapid fire, revolving door of artists punctuated with arena style special effects like explosions, smoke, and fire.  One second Van Halen is up there performing, the next Prince, then Alice Cooper, then......I lost count of how many "bands" we saw that night.

Is that a pledge pin on your uniform?  Twisted Sister

Guns N Roses
The crowd had a blast with the high energy show.

At the end of the event, there was more entertainment than you could shake a brat-on-a-stick at.