Wait up, summer's not over yet. You can tell because the streets are still lined with the ever-growing food truck culture in Milwaukee. It's Food Truck Week here at OnMilwaukee.com and all week long we're stopping at some of Brew City's best restaurants on wheels in search of the most interesting dishes on offer.
One of my fondest discoveries from my baseball trip to Texas earlier this summer was discovering my deep love and appreciation for brisket. I could eat it everyday. The only problem is that the brisket down in Dallas (or Houston or Austin or San Antonio ... ) is some of the best you're going to find anywhere, and while I've certainly had some tasty brisket back home, it just can't quite reach the meaty highs of Texas.
Well, I think I've found my favorite brisket in Milwaukee, brisket that could possibly compete with the scrumptious supply down in the South. And the best part? It comes surrounded by an equally delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Take that, Texas.
The dish is the brisket grilled cheese, and you can find it – plus a drink and fries – for $8 at the Roll MKE food truck prowling around downtown Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m.
"It's been on the menu since day one," said owner and chef Chad Rittgers. "I knew I wanted to do something with a grilled cheese. It actually started off with short ribs, but we just used that for another item on the menu, and brisket was something I always liked."
Oh, Rittgers definitely did something with a grilled cheese: He amplified it to upsettingly delicious heights. After sampling it earlier this week, my wallet and my waistline are both currently at risk.
Rittgers braises some beef brisket in Lakefront Brewery Eastside Dark beer (he doesn't drink wine, so he cooks mostly with beer). Last year they used Lakefront's IBA, but since that went seasonal, they moved over to the Eastside Dark.
He then puts some pieces between two slices of bread, along with some charred red onions, arugula, a holy triumvirate of cheeses – cheddar, gruyere and provolone – and arguably the sandwich's secret weapon (its obvious weapon is the brisket, duh): some Peppadew peppers.
"I knew when we started, I wanted to do something with Peppadew peppers because I'm a big fan of those," Rittgers said. "They have a very unique flavor. They're not spicy, but they're not overly sweet. They have a really interesting flavor, and I go to some trouble to get those. It's definitely worth it in the end product."
It most certainly is. The final product is a flavorful, meatily satisfying grilled cheese sandwich. The brisket is perfectly tender and juicy with that rich dark beer flavor, and the peppers add a nice little sweet surprise to every bite. Even with the dense, greasy and buttery flavors coming from the cheese and the brisket, it doesn't feel like a heavy dish either. Combine all of those awesome tastebud-tingling flavors with some perfectly toasted bread for a crunch, and you have one of my new favorite sandwiches in the city.
Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for crowds to flock to the sandwich either. Rittgers noted that it's generally the most popular item on the menu, usually selling out before the truck's regular 1:30 p.m. closing time. So if you're looking to sample a brisket grilled cheese sandwich for yourself, it might be best to stop by earlier rather than later. Otherwise, you might get "stuck" ordering the MKE burger, which features homemade Nueske's bacon jam. Or 12-hour smoked pulled pork. Or the Banh Mi pork belly sliders.
So yeah, dropping by the truck is pretty much a win-win. In the end, I say damn you, Roll MKE, for almost certainly ruining my boyish figure. The worst part is I'm loving every bite of this soon-to-be catastrophic weight gain.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published Dec. 20, 2014
With its brand of rock music uncoils, cracks and unleashes in sharp, aggressive, raw fashion with a swift dash of sex appeal, Whips is an remarkably appropriate name for the Milwaukee-based rock foursome. And now the quartet has a new LP, "Turn It On," arriving Saturday night at a record release show at the Cactus Club.
Published Dec. 19, 2014
"The Interview" was canceled this past week amongst hack attacks and terrorist threats. It doesn't matter that this happened to THIS particular movie. What matters is what this means for ALL movies. And what this moment represents is a terrible precedent for the future of film and art altogether.
Published Dec. 17, 2014
When I arrived to interview Harlem Globetrotter Sweet J Ekworomadu - the 12th female player in the team's 89-year history - in advance of their traditional New Year's Eve game at the BC, I was asked if I wanted to play a game of horse with Sweet J. Considering I hadn't shot a basketball since probably middle school, I couldn't turn down the opportunity fast enough. I was, however, able to ask some one-on-one questions with Ekworomadu.
Published Dec. 16, 2014
The story behind "It's a Wonderful Life" is now almost as well-known as the story of George Bailey himself. The movie performed below expectations back in 1946, but several decades later, as the movie made its way into the public domain, "It's a Wonderful Life" grew into a holiday classic. Now there's many renditions of the story, including a staged radio show version - complete with old school sound effects - coming to the Marcus Center.
Published Dec. 15, 2014
Fans have been routinely left waiting for a Chris Rock movie that truly plays up to the standard of Chris Rock. Luckily, the wait is over with the arrival of "Top Five," a loose-limbed comedy about celebrity that feels like a movie worthy of its star - in both its voice and its significant supply of laughs.
Published Dec. 12, 2014
2014 is coming to a close, which means it's time to put my first full calendar year as an official working, adult member of society in the books (well, jury's still out on the adult part). Here are some of the most memorable moments - both good and bad - from a most memorable year.
Published Dec. 10, 2014
Luckily, what's currently housed and featured at the Racine Art Museum is just as interesting and compelling as the building itself: an expansive two-part exhibition called "in(Organic)," a compilation of art works that combine the natural and unnatural - in terms of thematic meaning and artistic medium - in ways both beautiful and often unnerving.
Published Dec. 9, 2014
What doesn't kill you supposedly makes you stronger. In the case of the sneakily incisive new Swedish dark comedy "Force Majeure," however, what doesn't kill you reveals your deepest faults to all of your loved ones. And they are not impressed.
Published Dec. 8, 2014
2014 was the year of the selfie. In the beginning of the year, there was the great Oscars selfie, a photo that literally broke Twitter for a few seconds. The word existed before, but after that, suddenly news stations and outlets were attempting to cram it into every headline (similar to "twerk" in 2013) and everybody was getting on board with the word. A part of that selfie insanity was the irony-drenched EDM hit "#Selfie" from The Chainsmokers.
Published Dec. 7, 2014
When it comes to the classic story of "A Christmas Carol," Scrooge has always been the star. But just as important to the story are the Cratchits, who embody the Christmas spirit and the human spirit so essential to Dickens's fable. For the past few years, the two characters have been played in the Milwaukee Rep's annual production by the same two Milwaukee actors: Jonathan Wainwright and Marti Gobel.