By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Oct 04, 2006 at 5:46 AM
The staff of doesn't need much of an excuse to grill out, but this latest Milwaukee Challenge gave us one, anyway: Who makes Milwaukee's best brat?  It may be a debate even greater than who brews Milwaukee's best beer, but our fearless and hungry carnivores were up to the challenge (the vegetarians among us ate veggie dogs but didn't participate in this taste test). Unanimously and perhaps surprisingly, our team picked Usinger's. Here's why:

Craig McKinney
Art Director
Pick: Usinger's

The first thing I noticed as I began grilling our brats was how quickly the Klement's began to shrink. Even more noticeable, was the difference in overall size when I finally pulled them off the grill. The Klement's brats shrank almost a third, while the Usinger's stayed nearly the same size as when they were raw. After I piled some sauerkraut on both brats, I found a chair and began with a Klement's. While I enjoyed the kraut flavor, the Klement's brat seemed almost non-existent when it came to taste. Following some water to cleanse the pallet, I moved on the Usinger's. I still definitely tasted the kraut, yet it seemed like more of a mix of flavors this round -- including that smoky fresh off a charcoal grill taste. The brat definitely had more juices and spice that it added to the combination. Overall, I'll stick with my usual pick -- Usinger's.

Molly Snyder Edler
Staff Writer
Pick: Usinger's

Although I am not a big "brat" person, I occasionally like to indulge in our state sausage (OK, it's probably not officially our state sausage, but ... ) That said, I was surprised how much more I enjoyed the Usinger's. It was plumper, juicier and spicier. It appeared to have more fat than the Klement's -- I could actually see little white globs in the meat -- but that's what made it taste better, I think. From this point on, it's Usinger's all the way for this former vegetarian.

Bobby Tanzilo
Managing Editor
Pick: Usinger's

I sampled both sausages in my traditional way: on a bun, with yellow mustard and a dollop of sauerkraut. Although I enjoyed both brats -- each had good flavor -- I found that the Usinger’s sausage, which didn’t shrink as much while cooking, retained more moisture and was the juicier of the two. Add to that the pleasing snap to the casing, and the Usinger’s wurst was best for me.

Andy Tarnoff
Pick: Usinger's

I love a good brat as much as the next Milwaukeean, but I usually order up fresh turkey sausage when grilling out.  That's why testing these two real brats was such a tasty challenge -- health benefits aside, you can't even compare turkey and pork when it comes to brat taste.  Immediately, the Klement's sausage reminded my taste buds of something … what was it … ah, a Brewers game! (Well, duh, that's what they serve at Miller Park.)  But the aftertaste of Klement's put me off a bit, especially when compared to the Usinger's.  It's rather hard to quantify taste in bratwurst, but I found the Usinger's to be superior in all categories: taste, aftertaste and the perfect amount of leanness/fattiness.  To me, the Klement's tasted a bit cheaper or generic, while the Usinger's was essentially the perfect brat. It tasted a little saltier (which I like) and it grilled up a little better.  Hands down, Usinger's was my favorite.