Master Griller Mike Zeller Offers Quick and Easy Ways to Re-ignite the Summer Grill

Aug. 4 / — The dog days of summer are upon us, and most people admit that their BBQ menus are getting stale. In fact, according to national survey on grilling fare, 84 percent of Americans agree that hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken have become a backyard bore. This year, Johnsonville reminds grillers to re-ignite traditional Labor Day cookouts and backyard parties with more flavorful alternatives — juicy brats and savory sausages offering a delicious boost to the standard grilling menu.

Results from a national survey, conducted by Russell Research* on
behalf of Johnsonville Sausage, found nine out of 10 Americans agree grilling is one of the best ways to infuse flavor into food, but admit it can be challenging to come up with unique grilling recipes. The study also revealed that 95 percent of Americans enjoy eating grilled foods other than hot dogs and hamburgers. In fact, according to a recent taste-test conducted by Johnsonville, more people who grill brats, hamburgers and hot dogs preferred the taste of brats over the other meats.

As the industry leader in sausage, Johnsonville is fired up to help people bring flavor back to the grill with no-fuss grilling tips and mouthwatering menu ideas for Labor Day weekend. And they’re proving that
great taste doesn’t have to be difficult to achieve, as most Americans (76 percent) find it easy to grill brats.”Brats stand out from the other grilling meats — beef, chicken and hot dogs — because of their flavorful spices and juicy texture,” says Johnsonville Sausage Executive Chef Mike Zeller. “So in a way, not only is variety the spice of life, but brats are, too!”

For the 84 percent of Americans looking for new grilling options, Chef Zeller suggests trying new and unique recipes incorporating your favorite grilled items. One suggestion is the “Spicy Cracked Black Pepper Brats.”

Spicy Cracked Black Pepper Brats
by The Kitchen at Johnsonville Sausage

— 1 pkg. (19.76 oz.) Johnsonville(R) Fresh Original Bratwurst
— 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-in. round slices
— 2 Tbsp. olive oil
— 1 medium green pepper
— 1 medium sweet red pepper
— 1 medium sweet yellow pepper
— 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, optional
— 1 Tbsp. fresh cracked pepper
— 5 hoagie rolls, split


Grill brats according to package directions. Meanwhile, brush onion
slices with oil. Grill over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side or until
crisp-tender and golden. Cut onion slices in half; place in a large bowl.

Grill whole peppers until skins blister, about 3-4 minutes. With tongs,
rotate peppers a quarter turn. Grill and rotate until all sides are
blistered and blackened. Immediately place peppers in a bowl and cover or
cool for 30 seconds, place in a large resealable plastic bag and seal; let
stand for 10 minutes. Peel off and discard charred skin. Remove seeds.
Slice peppers into 1/4-in. strips; place in bowl with onions. Add cracked
pepper; toss gently. Place one brat in each roll. Top with pepper and onion
mixture. Serve hot. Yield: 5 sandwiches.

In addition to mouthwatering grilling recipes, Master Griller Zeller
and Johnsonville have put together a few simple tips to help even the most
inexperienced outdoor cooks take the “labor” out of Labor Day, while adding
flavor to their grilling menus:

1. Be prepared: organize your ingredients and gear (tongs, pans, etc.)
before venturing out to the grill.
2. Cook brats and sausages using the “indirect grilling” method: put coals
to one side (or turn on half of the gas burners) and cook your brats on
the opposite side of the grill.
3. To keep all of the juicy flavor in, only use tongs to handle your
sausage. That means no forks, no scissors or anything else that could
puncture the casing of your sausage.
4. To see if your brats are done, squeeze them with your tongs. If
they’re firm and the internal temperature is 180 degrees Fahrenheit,
they’re ready! This easy tip can help the 50 percent of grillers who
find it challenging to determine when meats are completely cooked. To
avoid the challenge altogether, try Johnsonville’s Heat & Serve Brats
or Smoked Brats — they’re pre-cooked and full of flavor!
5. Add hickory, mesquite or oak chips soaked in water directly to burning
coals for a rich, smoky flavor.

For more great grilling tips and recipes to spice up your Labor Day
cookout, visit .