People think those of us who grill outside in the winter to be crazy. Well, I can remember a few evenings in early May when it's been almost as cold! You don't have to mothball the grill just because it's cold outside. The food tastes just as good, maybe even better, and hey, standing in front of a hot grill takes the chill off a cold day, or night!
Here are some pointers to stay warm and get great results for winter grilling. First, dress appropriately, in layers and don’t forget the hat. Most of your heat loss comes from your head, so unless you’re planning on keeping it close to the grill (not recommended) keep it covered. Next, grilling in winter takes a bit more time. Your grill will take longer to get warmed up and that can add about 25% more time to the cooking process. So, make sure you have enough propane or charcoal on hand before you start, because running out midway through can be a pain. Finally, enjoy the peace and quiet of winter serenity. Odds are there’s not a lot going on outside, maybe a squirrel fight or an occasional deer sighting. It’s just like ice fishing, they're even better when you get them in cold weather. There is nothing like a brat right off the grill and it just seems tastier in January!
If you’re not a fan of the cold, well, there are some great soup recipes in the Usinger cookbook and on our website.
Quit chillin’ start grillin’.
Warm sunshine and crisp air, autumn is truly on it’s way. No need to think about hanging up the grill tongs quite yet. There are two months of great grilling weather ahead.
For cool weather grilling try something a little spicy, like our Smoked Chorizo or Smoked Andouille links. For something completely different, try grilling our bone – in, Smoked Pork Chops. They are cured, smoked for hours in our brick smokehouses and are fully cooked. When you put’em on the grill they’re nothing short of amazing!
Now is a great time to try something new, during our Fall 15 promotion. Until the end of September, you can stock up on Usinger deli products and save 15%. All you have to do is type in “Fall 15” in the promo code when you order online. Don’t forget the Summer Sausage and Braunschweiger, so you are ready for those big game gatherings. The Fall 15 promotion is available only on sausage products and only in the online Deli Store, or at our retail store downtown at 1030 N. Old World 3rd Street.
Oktoberfest is the world's largest outdoor party. It’s celebrated all over the world, including right here in Milwaukee, but the main event is in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The 16-day festival runs from late September to the first weekend in October. They’ve held it there since the early 1800’as and it’s an important part of the Bavarian culture. Wiesn, as it’s referred to in Bavaria, is short for the grounds it’s held on. Munich’s Oktoberfest averages about 6 million visitors per year! Most other Oktoberfest celebrations are patterned after Munich’s, they’re just a little smaller.
If you like to eat German food, Oktoberfest is a party you don’t want to miss. Here’s a sample of what you can try, Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinsh axe (grilled ham hock), of course they’ll have plenty of Würst (sausages) along with Brezen (pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), and Sauerkraut. Several of these dishes may sound familiar because they are served at Milwaukee’s Germanfest.
Along with Bratwurst another popular wurst traditionally served at Octoberfest is Weisswurst (a short, stubby link with a light, fluffy texture, white in color, speckled with fresh parsley and a hint of onion).
In Milwaukee, we too love an outdoor party. Host your own Octoberfest celebration with Usinger’s Weisswurst and Bratwurst. Hand crafted in our sausage kitchen on Third St. in downtown Milwaukee, they are spiced perfectly and great on the grill.
Enjoy the season, Prost!
Now that grilling season has returned, it’s time for a little review of some of our favorite grilling links and ways to prepare them. While they all taste great, there are subtle differences in the way you may want to prepare them.
Usinger Cooked Brat - The white brat. Bavarian style made with finely chopped Pork and Veal. These are the type served all over Germany. When grilled they actually swell and get plumper as they are cooked. Grilling gives them a crispy outer skin and smooth flavorful center.
Usinger Fresh Brat - My method for grilling a fresh brat is "low and slow". It's the opposite of grilling a steak, which you sear right away to seal in the juices and then cook them at a lower temperature. With a fresh bratwurst it has to acclimate to the heat slowly. Too much heat too quickly can cause the brat to swell so much that it will break the casing, which is what you are really trying to avoid. If the casing breaks, all of the juices and spices wind up in your grill.
Usinger Natural Casing Beef Frankfurters - These are meaty, juicy and have more than a hint of fresh garlic. Grilling enhances the "pop" when you bite into the natural casing.
Usinger Smoked Andouille Sausage - This is a great sausage with lots of complex flavors. Spicy, smoky and tangy all at once.
Usinger Jalapeno Cheddar – A hardwood smoked, fully cooked bratwurst that is ready to heat and eat. Made from coarsely ground premium pork, Jalapeno peppers, cheddar cheese and our apple wood smoked bacon for extra smokiness. One of my favorites.
Additional tips - Personally, I'm not a fan of parboiling. It can change the texture of the casing and dilute the flavor of a perfectly spiced sausage. If you're short on time, the pre-cooked are quick and don't require the care of grilling fresh meat.
If you like Kraut, try our Festival style sauerkraut. It's pre-cooked also and may be the only condiment you need.