By Kady Cramer
There’s nothing quite like a bratwurst on a grill during summer. But why be boring? A trip outside the city limits will open your taste buds to a new bratwurst experience. Combinations such as burnt-end brats, bacon cheeseburger brats, and apple gouda brats help make an easy, all-encompassing decision for what’s for dinner.
Our wurst trip in the southland starts close to home.
Fritz’s Smoked Meats and Superior Sausage
Founded by Fritz and Rose Plapp, Fritz’s was originally established on 39th Street in 1927 by Fritz and Rose Plapp. Fritz brought his German master sausage maker skills to the meat market. Outgrowing their first location, Fritz’s moved to its current location on 10326 State Line Rd. in 1969.
The meat market does a lunchtime business featuring pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, brisket, hot dogs and sliced meat sandwiches. But their most popular lunchtime request is the jalapeno cheddarwurst and cheddarwurst.
“We use true natural hickory wood to smoke our meats right in front of the store fresh every day,” says store manager Kurt McDonald.
Uncooked bratwursts, along with other sausages including a knackwurst, Italian, chorizo, Polish and a host of other meats are available fresh from the meat case or frozen.
The restaurant is open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday, 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Fritz’s ships their meat nationwide and offers event catering. For more information, visit fritzskcmeats.com.
Kurzweil’s Country Meats
For many who have traveled to Branson and taken a turn onto 7 Highway just south of Harrisonville, the stand-alone country store Kurzweil’s Country Meats may come to mind. Due to a fire in 2016, the business moved to Harrisonville along 71 Highway, making it slightly closer for south KC bratwurst lovers.
Kurzweil’s has 35 award-winning flavors of sausages that makes the 30-minute drive worthwhile. Most popular is their burnt-end brat. Others include a Carolina reaper, Buffalo wing & blue cheese, chili cheese, bacon cheddar ranch, supreme pizza, applewurst and many more inventive combinations.
Now located in a strip mall next to a cinema, Kurzweil’s retains its country store experience, providing a number of sausages and meat cuts from their meat case. Most impressive are the custom-cut pork chops. A lunchtime menu of different sandwiches made from the long list of fresh meat is also available.
Kurzweil’s was founded in 1995 by brothers James, Tom and Dennis. The Kurzweil family agricultural heritage dates back to the 1940s. Carrying on the family tradition, James’ oldest son, Chris, joined the business as president and meat manager in 1997.
“We are proud to be a family-owned and operated, full circle operation,” says Chris. “We start with raising grain, feeding our raised grain to our hogs, and then using our own raised hogs at the meat market.”
Kurzweil’s retail store and restaurant is located at 2817 Cantrell Road in Harrisonville.
For more information, visit kurzweilscountrymeats.com.
McBee’s General Store & Meat Market
Once upon a time, McBee’s was the talk of the town when they had a location in Belton. In 2014, they closed shop and reopened about an hour away on 71 Highway just north of Adrian in Amsterdam. They recently opened a second location in Butler off 169 Highway.
McBee’s specializes in over 30 flavors of hand-crafted bratwurst. Starting with only 9 original recipes, the menu has more than tripled since the first store opened in 2005.
“It’s almost like Baskin-Robbins here with all these tasty treats that we have,” says general manager Jason Dunlap. The most popular bratwurst is the smoked apple Gouda, but other interesting flavors include pineapple jalapeno, Cajun, Bills McDill, New Orleans, Philly teaser and more.
Son-in-law to owners Bill and Leslie McGee, Dunlap has been part of the family since 1998.
Bill started his career in the meat industry at the age of 16. Now 44 years later, he lives out his dream of running his own meat business.
McBee’s still embodies the original process of hand-twisting and cutting. “It’s like a 15-18 step process,” says Dunlap. “But that makes sure the flavor and quality of meat is good every single day.”
“I’ve seen people come into our store with shopping carts and dropping 20-30 packages onto our counter,” says Dunlap. “I’ve heard people say, ‘You gotta stop at McBee’s and get a package of brats to take on the river,’ and it’s exciting to see that happen.”
For more information, visit mcbeesbratwurst.com
McBee’s ‘How-To’ on Cooking Bratwurst
Smoker: Slow cook at 265 degrees for about an hour.
Grill: Using indirect heat on the backside of your grill, cook for 30-40 minutes – then drag brat over the flames and grill grates for 2-3 minutes for that little bit of char.