How Common Is Bratwurst in the US?

SMRT-1

Earning My Ears
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
In the recent video where Steve, Deni, and Fiasco go to Disney Springs to try a few of the WonderFall seasonal menu items, I was surprised at Fiasco's lack of familiarity with bratwurst. While discussing the pretzel charcuterie board at Jock Lindsay's, he said "I've never had a brat. I think it's a German thing. Correct me if I'm wrong."

I can understand if someone has never eaten bratwurst, but it seemed odd to me that someone wouldn't really be sure what it was. However, I grew up in the Midwest where it's a staple of summer cookouts, and everyone knows what it is, so that got me thinking about whether or not it was as well known it is in other parts of the country. Is it just Fiasco, or are there areas of the US where most people don't know what bratwurst is?

Just how familiar with bratwurst are people in different parts of the US?
 

Cloudy

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
I grew up in the Midwest, Ohio. I am of German decent so I know what a bratwurst is. I think everyone around here knows but I have little experience elsewhere. I mean what is an Ohio State tailgate without bratwurst?
 

Pyotr

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 17, 2018
I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and bratwurst are one of the 4 major food groups. We cooked them for just about every sporting event and bbq.

I’ll add that I currently live outside of Sarasota and brats are not common at all. Some of my co workers were baffled last time I brought some for lunch.

Then again, I never had grits before moving down south.
 
  • Jennasis

    DIS life goes on
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2000
    When I was growing up on Long Island, it was Kielbasa at barbecues. In NC where we are now, no such thing seems to exist, but they have Brats.

    Also, it is entirely possible to go through life without having "had a brat", or knowing where they originated from.
     
    Last edited:

    pdarrah

    It's nice to know you are real, too
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2004
    Illinois here - Brats are common and everyone has them. You can't have a cookout without grilling some brats.
     

    SorcererHeidi

    Sorcerer please cast forever love spell for me
    Joined
    Jul 16, 2007
    Yep, just like @Jennasis mentioned, I grew up with Kielbasa, in CT and NY, being around Polish, Russian, and German first and 2nd generation immigrants. Became familiar with Bratwurst as I got older, and got around more. :) I have also been to Biergarten MANY MANY times, as that was a "must do" for me when I was going regularly to WDW> I think I remember Fiasco saying he grew up in the Northeast also, but maybe he was not around the ethnic mix, or people that that were "into" brats or kielbasa?
     
  • Deanna404

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 23, 2019
    Near Atlanta here - brats are not so common, although they are available at most grocery stores. So is it "brats" as in "cats", or "brots" as in "dots"?
     
  • ImarriedGrumpy

    AKA Miss lady who isn't my mommy
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2005
    I'm originally from MN, spent 10 yrs in WI for college, grad school, and first jobs. I've lived in CA for the last 15 years, and brats are definitely not a thing out here. When I first got here I rarely spotted them in the grocery store, and the first time I brought them to a summer potluck they were a novelty item (along the the sauerkraut and german mustard I provided). I see them a little more often now, but I still meet a lot of native Californians who have never had one and aren't sure what they are.
     

    SMRT-1

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2019
    Also, it is entirely possible to go through life without having "had a brat", or knowing where they originated from.
    I never stated that it wasn't, and that's essentially the whole point of my original post, so let me reiterate.

    I wrote in my original post that I understand someone never having had a brat, but that being unsure of what it was seemed odd. I also wrote that I realized that I couldn't assume the reasons for one person's unfamiliarity because it might very well be a regional thing, which piqued my curiosity as to where in the country people do/don't know what bratwurst is, and prompted me to ask the question.
     

    SMRT-1

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2019
    Thanks for all the replies. It's always interesting to discover what regional uniqueness still exists around the country.

    With brands like Johnsonville airing national commercials, and their availability at sporting events across the country, it always seemed like bratwurst must be pretty widespread, but while it's maybe not a local as a po'boy, or quite as specifically regional as grits, it's clear that it's not known nationwide. Based on the replies so far, it sounds like FL and CA have areas where the brat is unknown (although, given many Californians preference for healthier foods, it's not surprising that a tube of meat, fat, and salt isn't popular 😏).
     

    DisLiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    I grew up knowing what bratwurst is. But this thread reminds me of when the Mrs. Ts company ran the "What's pierogi?" ad on TV. I used to think "Who the heck doesn't know what pierogi are?"

    Since having kids, though, we find that a lot of people will ask our kids about what they're bringing in their lunches or snacks, so apparently a lot of people get used to one set of food items and just stick to them. :)
     

    SoarinSC

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 6, 2010
    Can't speak for anyone else here in the Southeast, but I've always known what a brat is...then again, I grew up military so had more exposure to things like wienerschnitzel, etc. My local walmart has these awesome brat and cheese patties that go great with sauerkraut.
     

    NYCgrrl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 13, 2017
    I grew up in the Bronx during a time when there were still many German-American enclaves throughout the borough and in nearby Manhattan. The shadow of one neighborhood's roots can still be found on the East Side of Manhattan, in the mid 80's and 2nd Avenue, called Yorkville. Schaller and Weber's butcher shop, and Heidelberg Restaurant, still exist and you can certainly get most any kind of wurst, cooked or fresh, there.
    So yes, I know bratwurst but prefer knockwurst and weisswurst;).
     

    North of Mouse

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2011
    In the recent video where Steve, Deni, and Fiasco go to Disney Springs to try a few of the WonderFall seasonal menu items, I was surprised at Fiasco's lack of familiarity with bratwurst. While discussing the pretzel charcuterie board at Jock Lindsay's, he said "I've never had a brat. I think it's a German thing. Correct me if I'm wrong."

    I can understand if someone has never eaten bratwurst, but it seemed odd to me that someone wouldn't really be sure what it was. However, I grew up in the Midwest where it's a staple of summer cookouts, and everyone knows what it is, so that got me thinking about whether or not it was as well known it is in other parts of the country. Is it just Fiasco, or are there areas of the US where most people don't know what bratwurst is?

    Just how familiar with bratwurst are people in different parts of the US?
    Deep south here, 'calling' them brats, not so common, but we do eat them and know what they are. We're more likely to call anything of that nature that we grill - a sausage!! :D
     

    tguz

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2018
    I just googled pierogi.....I had no clue what it was. I had heard the name but no clue. Brats are big business here in Iowa. I don't go a week without grilling some up. To me, there is nothing better than a hot day and grilling some brats over charcoal. Through the hated Winter, I survive with my George Foreman grill. :)
     


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