The Great Dane Brat & Bacon Pretzel Burger

I am in Madison, Wisconsin, a town that so far only lends description as an unspecifically great place to be.  People love it here, they love to talk about it, and they are quick to think of it as “just like Austin.” And I equally unverifiably agree, sure it’s a fun place, but not thrilling in any distinct way. You never say “I was in Madison” and hear the response “Oh man, did you do [uniquely madison event]?”

Or at least I thought. I have so far discovered two very incredible things that go rarely mentioned about this epicenter of the dairy state; the beer, and the sandwiches.  The beer is amazing, but I will pass on that variety of fancy adjectives in describing the huge variety of local brews (and yes, in Wisconsin, Schlitz is a local brew, available on tap no less).

But the sandwiches. My god, the sandwiches. To only discover the secret of how this small city makes anything between bread so incredible, so perfect, all the way from delicate deli sandwich to full-blown novelty burger, just an absolute embrace of the True Sandwich Ideal.

I plan to bring more news from the sandwich front, but the device I ate tonight must be shared immediately. From The Great Dane, a pub featuring something like 15 beers of their own invention, and a newspaper menu detailing a full page of sandwiches, comes the Brat & Bacon Pretzel Burger. I will let the menu description do justice:

A one-third pound U.S.D.A. choice ground beef patty and a one-quarter pound bratwurst patty grilled with caramelized onions and topped with Applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, pickles and tomato. Served on a pretzel roll with a side of Peck’s Pilsner mustard.

Let’s review: a beef patty, a sausage patty, applewood bacon, sharp Wisconsin cheddar, all on a pretzel bun. The bartender stated “never put it down. It just won’t look the same if you do,” and it wasn’t long to see the wisdom in this. Once you commit to eating this ‘burger’, you have no choice but to delve in with blind devotion and kill it off as fast as you can. To stop and reflect will only lend to fear and guilt, uncertainty and doubt.

My fellow pretzel-burger consumer could only mutter a string of repeated “oh my god…. oh my god…” after wiping his hands of the affair, staring down the bar at some other patrons who voiced their curiosity with further “oh my god… oh my god… I can’t walk… yes I recommend it.”

And now, with a Fat Sandwich Company and a Come Back In yet to explore, I wonder if I might have found the true Mecca of Sandwich. More to come.

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