traditionally known as Thüringer Rostbratwurst. Small bratwursts originate in Nuremberg, Germany; the more common longer, thicker form can be found almost anywhere else in Germany.
Eating practices and traditions
The bratwurst is often considered as "The German Fast Food Meal". A Bratwurst can be eaten with Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and roasted onions. The sausage is often eaten with a hot or sweet German mustard, with ketchup and a piece of toast or sliced and eaten as Currywurst, sometimes also served on a hard German roll and accompanied by beer. It is a very popular snack in German-speaking countries, where Bratwurst in a roll is sold at various fast food outlets and is often consumed while standing.
In the United States, bratwurst (colloquially known as "brats") are usually eaten on a hot dog bun or a hardroll, topped with mustard and/or many of the other condiments often eaten with hot dogs. These may include ketchup, onions (grilled or raw), pickle relish, sauerkraut, and others. The bratwurst is occasionally served as a pair of links nestled in a buttered hardroll with these same toppings; this is called a 'double brat'. Another serving variation of the bratwurst, particularly common in Novi, Michigan is to serve it in a sausage bun with a melted slice of Pepper Jack cheese; this is often referred to as a 'Jack Brat'.
Within the US, bratwurst, while not strictly a regional cuisine, is strongly identified with areas of the US where German and other Northern European immigrants settled in large numbers, like Sheboygan, Wisconsin, which is informally known as the "Bratwurst Capital of America". The city celebrates "Sheboygan Bratwurst Days", a community festival held on the first Thursday through Saturday of August each year. Bratwurst is especially popular in a region stretching from Chicago, Illinois up through Wisconsin into Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin is also a center of bratwurst appreciation. Johnsonville Foods, the nation's largest bratwurst maker, is based in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. Other traditional Wisconsin brat manufacturers include Klement's Sausage Company and Usinger's, both of which are based in Milwaukee.
The city of Madison, Wisconsin, holds an annual festival billed as the "World's Largest Brat Fest". The four-day charity event sees tens of thousands of brats sold by "celebrity" cashiers, usually local television, radio, and government personalities. Brat Fest's self-proclaimed world record is 189,432 brats consumed during the 2004 event.
Another town with German-American roots is Bucyrus, Ohio, which is known for its unique recipe incorporating caraway seed. It holds a bratwurst festival annually in mid-August attracting over 100,000 visitors annually. A Bucyrus-style bratwurst is served split on a rye bun with sauerkraut, mustard, and chopped white onions.
Anyone ordering a bratwurst in the United States, particularly in the midwest, is likely to receive the aforementioned Bucyrus-style brat, which is about 1" in diameter, is brown-red in color and includes spices and caraway seed.
A bratwurst mascot can be seen racing around the field following the sixth inning of all Milwaukee Brewers home games in the Sausage Race. The race pits several varieties of Klement's Racing Sausages against one another, including a hot dog, an Italian sausage, a Polish sausage, and a chorizo sausage.