SHEBOYGAN — Looking for the best sandwich in Wisconsin? Look no further than Sheboygan's own Charcoal Inn.
Food & Wine magazine highlighted the restaurant's double brat sandwich in its article "The Best Sandwich in Every State."
"You're not likely to hear a word spoken against the bratwurstin any corner of America's Dairyland, but appreciation translates to obsession in otherwise steady-as-she-goes Sheboygan, population 48,180, where some of America's finest tube steaks are split, grilled over charcoal, stuffed onto the locally-favored roll, which, like the brats, are an obvious descendant of a German original," the article states. "Top with mustard and onion, consume immediately, ideally at a backyard barbecue during the peak of summer, but finding a double brat on a hard roll is far from difficult—in Sheboygan, the vintage Charcoal Inn South is a time-honored must."
But you can find bratwurst sandwiches on nearly any Americana menu in Sheboygan. So what sets Charcoal Inn apart?
"First of all, it's the local brat and how it's made," owner Scott Prescher said. "There are so many brats nowadays made from thousands of different sausage companies. The correct mixtures come from Sheboygan. I've had brats in other places—I mean, the only thing I probably haven't done is gone to Germany and had one—and I haven't found anything better than a Sheboygan brat."
Where do they get their brats? None other than Miesfeld's Meat Market, of course.
"The other trick is that you have to do them on a charcoal grill," Prescher added. "There's no replacing it with a charbroiler, a flat grill or anything like that. You get the most flavor and the best flavor cooking it over real charcoal."
Guess that explains the name!
Once perfectly fried—because we all know that's how they're made, not grilled—the brats go onto a hard roll served up fresh from Johnston's Bakery, another Sheboygan favorite.
The combination has earned Charcoal Inn's doubt brat sandwich accolades in the likes of the New York Times, Milwaukee Journal, Chicago Tribune and more.
"The locals all know me, that's for sure," Prescher chuckled. "Anytime you get somebody noticing your food, especially out-of-town people, it's awesome."
But it's that local love that keeps Prescher and the Charcoal Inn staff going.
"It's good to get out-of-town people and money, but that's kind of gravy money. We have to survive on local people," he said. "Especially during this pandemic here, we want to thank the local people for helping us stay afloat. They've just been trying to help us through, especially during these tough times."