Best Bratwurst in Wisconsin (2016)


Many iconic American foods owe thanks to the immigrants who brought them to our country, and the bratwurst is a perfect example. Originating in Germany in the 1300s, bratwurst is traditionally made from veal, pork or beef and is named for the German "brat" meaning finely chopped meat and "wurst" meaning sausage. With its large number of German settlers, it's no surprise that Wisconsin embraces this delicious sausage including the version created in-state, the beer brat.

  • Usinger's


    Usinger’s makes many of the proprietary sausages that our top nominees in the bratwurst category serve, so it's only fitting that they themselves are a nominee. After learning from the best German wurstmachers, Fred Usinger came to Milwaukee in the late 1870s with $400 and his favorite sausage recipes. Four generations of Usingers have maintained operations of this nationally recognized business devoted to the craft of sausage making. The Usinger's Sausage shop sits in the heart of downtown Milwaukee.
    Photo courtesy of Usinger's Sausage and Smoked Meats

  • OSS Madison

    OSS Madison

    OSS stands for many things, including Old School Sausages, Our Signature Sausages and Order Some Sides. OSS Madison began with the simple concept of re-imagining favorite dishes like the bratwurst. The menu reads like an international sample menu, with dishes like the Bahn Mi, Lasagna, and the Spicy Casablanca. They also offer The Classic – a good old fashioned bratwurst topped with kraut, sautéed peppers, raw or caramelized onions.
    Photo courtesy of OSS Madison / Joshua Boll

  • Brat House Grill

    Brat House Grill
    Wisconsin Dells

    Located in a quaint historical building in Wisconsin Dells, Brat House Grill serves over 15 brat dishes, including Wisconsin cheese brat, Polish brat, andouille brat and the house favorite BHG Big Brat, a half-pound traditional bratwurst served on a big bun for big brat lovers. Top that off with a great selection of beer and live music, and it's easy to see why locals claim these are the best brats in Wisconsin.
    Photo courtesy of Brat House Grill / Facebook

  • The Vanguard

    The Vanguard

    The Vanguard’s marquis is simple: Sausage – Spirits – Beer. Enough said. Unlike other brat houses in Wisconsin, The Vanguard makes their sausages fresh in house – all twenty of them – including vegetarian and vegan options. Locals flock to this new joint which has been open just a couple of years but has already become a favorite neighborhood spot to enjoy a sausage and a beer. A simple concept done right.
    Photo courtesy of The Vanguard

  • Charcoal Inn South

    Charcoal Inn South

    Charcoal Inn South was opened in 1984 by Sheboygan natives Scott and Roger Prescher with the goal of serving “Sheboygan food” to the community. Charcoal Inn now has two locations, Charcoal Inn South and Charcoal Inn North serving the Sheboygan area. The name is no mistake as the restaurant prides itself on its charcoal-grilled food. The prices are reasonable and they have been noted for their Sheboygan-style brats in several local and national publications. Their huge Double Brat comes with pickles and onions.
    Photo courtesy of Sara / Flickr

  • Bunzel's Old-Fashioned Meat Market

    Bunzel's Old-Fashioned Meat Market

    Bunzel’s is a family-owned and operated Milwaukee meat market four generations strong with a dedication to delivering consistent quality products. Bunzel’s offers traditional brats but gets creative with their other homemade sausages. A customer favorite is the honey mustard brat, and other options include three cheese chicken, Reuben-style and Texas popper bacon brats. There's usually a brat option on the market's daily hot lunch or dinner take-out menu as well.
    Photo courtesy of Bunzel's Meats and Catering

  • Old German Beer Hall

    Old German Beer Hall

    The Old German Beer Hall brings the experience of Munich’s legendary Hofbräuhaus, the most famous beer hall in the world to Milwaukee. Their menu has a full slate of German favorites, including brats made by Usinger’s especially for the restaurant. Old German Beer Hall's popular namesake brat is made with beer and apple wood-smoked bacon.
    Photo courtesy of Mark Hines

  • Milwaukee Brat House

    Milwaukee Brat House

    Opened in 2008 on Old World Third Street, a popular area of downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee Brat House celebrates the city’s German heritage. Its menu section of "World Famous Sausages" has includes many themed brats, like the Southsider topped with Wisconsin cheddar cheese, jalapeno peppers and bacon. Hungry diners will also find a selection of stuffed brats and a Wisconsin-style beer brat.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

  • Über Tap Room and Cheese Bar

    Über Tap Room and Cheese Bar

    Offering an impressive 36 local tap beers, Über Tap Room and Cheese Bar claims to be able to turn a wine lover into a beer connoisseur. While the cheese selection is stellar as the name implies, Uber’s proudly serves Usinger brats as well. Their classic brat comes with mustard, ketchup, red onions and Usinger's cheddar on a locally baked pretzel roll, while the jalapeno brat is a delicious smoked sausage with cheddar cheese and jalapeno.
    Photo courtesy of Über Tap Room and Cheese Bar

  • Von Trier

    Von Trier

    The history behind Von Trier’s dates back to the 1930s but has been known as Karl Von Trier since 1978. Von Trier's Medley section of their menu boasts sharable sausage combos served on locally baked pretzel rolls. Choices include andouille, cheddar bratwurst, polish sausage, Bavarian bratwurst, knackwurst, alligator sausage and many more unique concoctions.
    Photo courtesy of Von Trier / Facebook

We asked readers to help us find the best bratwurst in Wisconsin, and for the past four weeks, they've been voting daily for their favorites. The results are in!

The top 10 winners in the category Best Bratwurst in Wisconsin are as follows:

  1. Usinger's - Milwaukee
  2. OSS Madison - Madison
  3. Brat House Grill - Wisconsin Dells
  4. The Vanguard - Milwaukee
  5. Charcoal Inn South - Sheboygan
  6. Bunzel's Old-Fashioned Meat Market - Milwaukee
  7. Old German Beer Hall - Milwaukee
  8. Milwaukee Brat House - Milwaukee
  9. Über Tap Room and Cheese Bar - Milwaukee
  10. Von Trier - Milwaukee

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Daniel Higgins (USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin) and The Gouda Girls: Tina and Katherine were chosen based on their knowledge of the Wisconsin food scene.

Other nominated restaurants included Brat Stop in Kenosha, Estabrook Beer Garden in Milwaukee, Horse & Plow in Kohler, Karl's Country Market in Menomonee Falls, Kegel's Inn in Milwaukee, OB's Brau Haus in Appleton, The Old Fashioned in Madison, Otto's Beer & Brat Garden in Minocqua, State Street Brats in Madison and Weissgerber's Gasthaus in Waukesha.

Congratulations to all our winners!

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AlertThe Experts

Jennifer Daskevich

Jennifer Daskevich

Jennifer Daskevich

Terry French

Terry French

Terry French

Daniel Higgins

Daniel Higgins

Daniel Higgins

Gouda Girls: Tina and Katherine

Gouda Girls: Tina and Katherine

Gouda Girls: Tina and Katherine