Friday, April 08, 2011
Man Cave got in touch which I think is pretty cool, since I'm a female griller. That's pretty progressive for the guys. Some of them like to keep the Man Cave off limits for the girls. They do have a point there. I drop in, but it can get a tad rowdy outside with the guys. I know. My sons have put me on crutches before, but that was at the lake where they water tubed me in high gear and circled and made a huge wake. When Momma gets thrown 8 feet in the air, the landing is not so pretty. My doctor said he hopes I do not go on vacation very often.
The Man Cave guys wanted to know if I'd check out their brats and let them know what I think. If I'm not in max mode (which can happen - but I'll say), I'm game to try out something new in the grilling or barbecue world. My only stipulation is that I'm going to call it the way I see it. If someone does not want to gamble on that, it's fine.
The brave guys at Man Cave decided I might be a Tomato Basil Brat kind of woman. That works. There are few general flavors I do not like. The only one that comes to mind right off would be figs. Ugh. Don't send fig anything. And, I turn down any offers figgie, since I know those kick in my gag reflex. I can't do a fair review on anything "fig."
Man Cave nailed the mail in. The products were packed well and rock solid frozen when they arrived. UPS did not even bounce the box off the side of the house or anything strange. Yes. I can tell when it's a delivery issue rather than the packing end.
These are gourmet brats. I don't see much information online or on the package (even with my reading glasses). Just eyeballing, I'm thinking these are the slow smoked type and not Johnsonville brats (which is all we can get here and which we do love). With flavors added to the meat mix, you don't want to break the casing and lose the flavor.
I'd also note that The Kings Stock brats sold by Man Cave are smaller sized brats versus the Johnsonville (which I hope gives everyone a ballpark size idea). They are closer to hot dog size. This meant that the buns were rather large for the brats, but they were sub buns (really the only option here other than just standard hot dog buns). I just used the sub buns like we typically do and broke off bread (much to the delight of my dog who is a bread hound).
I fired up the PK cast aluminum grill which is a charcoal unit and does a great job at offset slow smoking too. The coals were to one end. The meat went on the other end. And, I smoked these brats around 20 minutes.
The brats looked and smelled great as I was grilling. Though I typically do a beer and butter boil on the mass market brats, this was a slow smoke on the high end brats.
When the Man Cave brats came off, I bunned them up and gave them a try. I must say they were excellent. I liked the extra flavor cased in. It took longer to smoke these brats, but it cut out the step of simmering them on the stove beforehand.
All in all, I would say this is a thumbs up on Man Cave Tomato Basil brats. They were easy to smoke up, and the flavor was terrific. I would like a higher end smaller bun to go with them. If you live in a bigger city, you probably have that option. Go with the smaller buns in the classic hot dog size range.
We did have some fun on Facebook about the t-shirt Man Cave was kind enough to send. They sent me Extra Large. I am sure no tiny, but I'm not XL. I dubbed the t-shirt my Man Cave dress. Several Facebook barbecue buddies asked that I provide proof of this dress of the Man Cave. So, I talked my son into taking a few photos while I grilled Man Cave brats in my Man Cave dress. (Son has requested no more XL t-shirts be sent as he is not going to get out in the yard and do this again - haha.)
The Man Cave shirt is cool, but it is certainly manly as one might expect. I gifted it to the father of the boys after the one grill photo shoot. It would be a super gift for the guy in your life who loves to grill.
Man Cave is clearly more of a guy site as you can guess from the name. But, it is also a cool spot for women to pick up some great grill gear and food for gifts. So, don't be shy if you're female. But, I do have a tip for the guys. Do not buy your sweetie a XL Man Cave shirt. Even if it would happen to fit in terms of size, those rules would not be what she would wear around town (-: