Wisconsin is brat country, something I learned too late after my first trip to Miller Park.
While I liked Miller, I was a little bit miffed at the low quality of the hot dog. I believe at the time I declared it to be the worst dog I’d ever had at a ballgame, and I liked Wendy Selig less afterward for it. (This was in 2001 when she still owned the Brewers.) As far as I was concerned, there was no excuse for a ballpark in Wisconsin to have a lousy hot dog.
It became a theory of mine after learning that Milwaukee is the only ballpark that sells more brats than hot dogs that the lesser dog was intentional, as a way to get folks to buy more brats. I was probably wrong on that one, although I’m not yet totally convinced.
Sausages at Miller Park are available in four varieties for varying tastes. There is the Wisconsin brat, the Italian, the Polish, and the Mexican chorizo. The four flavors are very different, but according to most accounts, the one thing that makes them all taste better is the Secret Stadium Sauce.
Secret Stadium Sauce is a Milwaukee institution, carried over from the days at Milwaukee County Stadium. It is a blend of water, tomato paste, corn syrup, vinegar, a blend of spices and capsicum. The story of its creation is one of necessity being the mother of invention: close to 40 years ago, the team’s concessions were running out of ketchup and mustard, so a vendor named Rick Abramson put together a concoction of ketchup, mustard, smoked syrup and barbecue sauce, slapped it all together, and became president of Delaware North Companies Sportservice. Now there’s a company that recognizes genius when they see it.
Indeed, baseball authorities Tony Kubek and Bob Costas would trade off broadcasting duties when announcing games in Milwaukee, so they could each enjoy their brats with Secret Stadium Sauce without enduring endlessly long seconds of delay between bites.
Like the Stadium Mustard in Cleveland, the Secret Stadium Sauce is available in local grocery stores in Milwaukee, which means that there is no shortage of it in the world-class tailgating scene of Miller Park parking lots.
Condiments – bringing people together.