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 Oct. 20, 2014
In 2012, comedian Tig Notaro went through a series of intense, significant personal crises that would be overwhelming in a four-year stretch, much less in merely four months. In a matter of a few months, Notaro faced a break-up, a sudden death in the family and two potentially fatal ailments. And in the middle of all of that, she had a stand-up gig at Largo in Los Angeles. The rest, as the cliché says, is history.
Published Oct. 16, 2014
A little over a decade ago, Milwaukee musician and Testa Rosa lead vocalist Betty Blexrud-Strigens got a chance to see the legendary Patti Smith in Madison. Even though the show came quite some time after Smith's punk glory years, Blexrud-Strigens still remembers the rock legend providing a charge. Now, it's up to Blexrud-Strigens and a roster of Milwaukee artists and musicians to bring that essence back to the stage with "Smith Uncovered."
Published Oct. 15, 2014
After three years, The Rural Alberta Advantage is taking a new album on the road, including a return stop at Turner Hall Ballroom on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. Before then, however, OnMilwaukee.com chatted with the band's drummer Paul Banwatt about the process behind "Mended with Gold," looking back at the band's past and spending some time in a creepy Canadian cabin. And, of course, hockey.
Published Oct. 14, 2014
Judged as awards bait, "Kill the Messenger" won't likely snag the golden glory it's looking for. Once you remove the arbitrary frame of awards season, "Kill the Messenger" is a solid, satisfyingly unpredictable and well performed journalism drama that - following the lead of "Shattered Glass" and, of course, "All the President's Men" - often plays like a tense thriller.
Published Oct. 13, 2014
At the end of the month, the Milwaukee Public Museum will celebrate the fall - as well as its current "Alien Worlds and Androids" exhibit - with a Sci-Fi Film Fest. Every Thursday and Saturday (save for Thanksgiving) from Oct. 23 through Nov. 29, the museum will screen a sci-fi flick in the Dome Theater.
Published Oct. 12, 2014
How does one stretch a barely 30-page short story of accumulated gripes and grumbles into a feature length film? In the case of "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," the answer is simple: poorly. By the time its 82-minute running time comes to a grateful close - and all of the cliché, contrived and crude chaos with it - Alexander's bad day has morphed into the audience's bad day.
Published Oct. 10, 2014
Few bands have come out of the gates as strongly as Milwaukee's own Field Report. So it's safe to say the bar was set high for Field Report's eventual sophomore attempt, one nicely cleared by "Marigolden," released Tuesday, Oct. 7.
Published Oct. 7, 2014
Just when it seemed like the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival was just beginning. As it turns out, 14 days goes extremely fast, as the sixth annual cinema extravaganza comes to a close Thursday night. But let's not quite start throwing dirt on the festival's casket quite yet. There still are three days of movies, filled with plenty of great options to offer. Here are some of the best of the rest of the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival.
Published Oct. 6, 2014
If the opening moment of "Wetlands" desperately pleads against its existence, the ensuing 109 minutes of youthfully exuberant gross-out comedy - currently showing at the Milwaukee Film Festival with a final showing Monday night at the Times Cinema at 10 p.m. - couldn't be a more enthusiastic endorsement for it.
Published Oct. 6, 2014
This afternoon, William Stace - founder of the Miramar Theatre - announced that he and Larry Widen, former owner of the Times and Rosebud Cinemas, have together formed a group called The Milwaukee Theatre Alliance. The group's goal is to purchase the long-closed Modjeska Theatre and reopen it as a multi-use performing arts space.