Super Bowl Smackdown: Bratwurst and cheese vs golabki and pierogies
February 3rd, 2011
11:30 AM ET
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Jill Billante is a Senior Producer at AC360°.

Gridiron pundits say the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers are pretty evenly matched for Sunday's Super Bowl. The odds-makers seem to believe the same.

The spread is a low 2.5 points to the Steelers as underdog, but when it comes to game day grub, how do the two cities stack up?

iReport: Planning a Super Bowl road trip?

I'm a Pittsburgh gal, born and bred. I'll be cheering for the boys in black and gold, with an Iron City beer in one hand and a plate of pierogies in the other, as they go for an unprecedented seventh Super Bowl win. That doesn't stop me from indulging in the rich food heritage fueling both teams.

When it comes to chow, the two cities are surprisingly similar. The heavy Germanic influence of Green Bay is mirrored in the Eastern European food found in Pittsburgh - especially when it comes to sausage.

Since I'm a good sport, we'll begin with Wisconsin.

"Cheeseheads" (fans of the Green Bay Packers, often spotted wearing foam cheese wedge-shaped hats) come by this moniker honestly. In the late 1890s, farmers in Wisconsin shifted their focus to dairy production as many immigrants brought cheese making traditions to Wisconsin. That helped the state build a reputation as America's Dairyland. Wisconsin leads the country in cheese production and is in the top three for milk and butter.

The state was settled by many ethnic groups - French, British, Swiss, Dutch and even Scandinavian. Germans were by far the largest group and left their mark on the state's food and beer. Wisconsin was home to famous breweries like Miller Brewing, Schlitz and Pabst.

If you're rooting for the Green and Gold this Sunday, you're going to want to serve plenty of cheese and beer. Who can argue with that? The only thing better than cheese alone and beer alone is combining them in a delicious German beer and cheese spread. This German Beer Spread recipe will be making an appearance at my Super Bowl party.

Wondering what to serve with your beer and cheese? It's got to be bratwurst, that classic German sausage. If you're going to serve a brat you've got to follow the rules or risk incurring the wrath of a Cheesehead.

  • You must serve a bratwurst on a brat bun, or a Sheboygan roll, not a hot dog roll.
  • You cannot use yellow mustard.
  • You cannot boil a brat. You can pre-simmer or par-boil in water or beer, which is the Wisconsin way, but then you must pan fry or grill, otherwise, they'll burst.
  • Fish boils and fish fries are pretty popular in Wisconsin and Pittsburgh as well and consider serving a cherry pie or cranberry-apple cobbler, Wisconsin is a prolific producer of both fruits.

    Iron City Cuisine

    Pittsburgh has an especially rich food history. Germans settled in the area first, followed by Scotch-Irish and Irish. Then, as the steel mills flourished, the need for cheap labor brought immigrants from Italy, Hungary, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Most of the dishes trace are rooted in these Eastern European countries as hearty fare to sustain the blue-collar workers who spent long days toiling in the steel mills - from which the Steelers get their name.

    Since the Steelers clinched the AFC championship, you've probably heard a lot about the french fry-stuffed Primanti Brothers Sandwich. Don't get me wrong, I love Primantis and if you're in the mood, they're great sandwiches. There are just a lot of other regional dishes that are easier, delicious and shouldn't be overlooked.

    My Super Bowl party will include kielbasa and kraut sandwiches. Pierogies are wonton-sized dough pockets filled with potato and cheese or onion or any combination of those fillings. In my house, they must be boiled and then fried in lots of butter and accompanied by caramelized onions.

    Also appearing at the table: cabbage rolls or golabki commonly known in the 'Burgh as "pigs in a blanket." It's hard for me to think of little hot dogs wrapped in dough as pigs in a blanket; instead, I think of cabbage rolled around a filling of meat, pork rice and green pepper, baked with tomato sauce or soup. My mom is using Heinz chili sauce on hers this year. Heinz is, of course, a Pittsburgh company.

    Some of my friends like to eat Halusky – fried cabbage and buttered noodles if you're Polish, cottage cheese if you're Slovak. Chipped chopped ham sandwiches are uniquely Pittsburgh too and were created at the iconic Isaly's restaurant. The thinly sliced ham is mixed with barbeque sauce and served on a bun.

    If you’re in the mood for salad at your Super Bowl Party, then Pittsburgh has got just the thing for you: a steak salad. This sounds moderately straightforward, but there is a twist: it's salad greens topped with grated provolone, french fries and grilled steak or chicken.

    Klondike and Clark bars and banana splits all got their start in the region, so have some waiting in the end zone.

    Previously - Tradition, Teams & Texas – a menu for game day and some far-out chow from Top Chef's Richard Blais

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    Filed under: Holidays • Super Bowl

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    soundoff (56 Responses)
    1. michael

      The symptoms of iron deficiency anemia can be mild and hard to notice. Often, if the anemia is mild, there may be no symptoms at all. Even when there are noticeable symptoms, frequently they are dismissed as a bug or even just due to the fact that teens often don't eat as well as they should or sleep as much as they should. cpa websites

      February 6, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    2. Pittsburgh Liz

      Nothing beats pierogies and onions on a cold winters day ... or even a hot summer day. Check out Lviv European Deli's pierogies in the heart of Steeler Country, Coraopolis, PA.

      February 4, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    3. doe22us

      what about wakye and kelewele???

      February 4, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    4. jillmarie

      I love pierogies with peppers and onions. I'll have to look up the beer-cheddar dip recipe- sounds delish!

      February 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    5. Mmmm

      Why are we not talking about fried cheese curds? Those are the best things to come out of Wisconsin since the cheese curd itself!

      February 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
      • Snowbunny

        I 2nd that!!

        February 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
        • Mike S from Huntsville AL

          How can I get in on this sausage fest?? Middle-aged, bald, overweight, handicapped men like myself don't often get an invite to the "big game."

          February 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    6. Ro

      What a great Super Bowl blog! Cool that the writer took time to highlight great food traditions for both cities. Excited for this Sunday! Will save this blog for future Super Bowls too!

      February 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    7. JBJingles@RH

      Alrighty then, how about some chesse and beer soup with polish sausage!??

      February 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
      • RichardHead@JBJ

        That will work. Need to do the TEXAS chili though to use up the Brisket! :)

        February 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
        • JBJingles@RH

          Hubs is having some of his nowhere-near-Tx-chili chili tonight, so doubt he'll be in the mood for more on Sunday. He likes beans, and chunks of tomatoe, nothankyouverymuch. He has enjoyed the brisket sandwiches that last few days though...the rest will be waiting in the freezer for me.

          February 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    8. Ash

      Serve only veggies at the Superbowl and see how many fans turn up with food fantasies on their mind. Food addicts suck!

      February 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    9. sue

      This might sound like sacrilige, but I once made "brautwurst pierogies"...they were great! This year it'll be all things unhealthy: Welsh rarebit, chicken fried steak with bacon cream gravy, lard biscuits slathered with butter, and deep fried pork and chicken liver terrine bites (sounds disgusting, tastes delicous).

      February 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    10. Ryan Seacrest

      I secretly like it up the poop shoot. :)

      February 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
      • Tom Paris

        No secret there, Ryan.

        February 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
        • Ryan Seacrest

          It's not? I date women to hide the fact that I prefer wiener. Shoot.

          February 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
        • Rue Paul

          Give me a shout, Ryan!

          February 3, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
        • Greg Louganis

          Brat bunz are so good.

          February 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    11. RichardHead@JBJ

      Ohhhh Beer Babe! It's the only way to cook the Polish Sausage!

      February 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    12. FrenchOfficial

      "You met me at a party, six to eight weeks ago. You said I was a real good sport."

      "Oh, shit! Jill! I remember now! How are you?"

      "Pregnant. And I'm gonna jump out the window."

      "Hey, you are a good sport!"

      February 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    13. Pierogi

      I like Pierogi very much. Fortunately I live in eastern Germany next to Poland. Thus the original delicacies of both countries are easily to get. :-)

      February 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    14. Rosie O'Donnell

      Tacos anyone?

      February 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
      • Portia de Rossi

        Only if they are fish

        February 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
      • Melissa Etheridge

        And pink, in honor of Breast Cancer awareness.

        February 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
        • Meredith Baxter

          Ohhhhh,I love pink tacos and my new phone plan! Call me!

          February 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
        • Judy Garland, (yes), from the afterlife.

          How do I call? Click my heels three times?

          February 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    15. Patrick

      People from Pittsburgh are retarded. Bunch of toothless tobacco spitting rednecks. Who friggin cares what they eat?

      February 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        I chaw toobaccy, and I'm not toothless nor redneck. Far from it. People are surprised to learn this. I also smoke both types of tobacco. And I like beer.

        I work at your bank, most likely.

        February 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
      • Don

        Jeesh, a little angry pal? I visited Pittsburgh once and I thought the city was beautiful and the people were nice. You must have walked down the wrong street.

        February 4, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    16. Erin

      I think it's Scots-Irish, not Scotch – which is what I'll be drinking on Sunday to keep my Steelers Super Bowl Sunday anxiety to a minimum. Gimme an "Imp & Iron" – three cheers for our Steelers!

      February 3, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    17. Truth

      Both Klondike Bars and Clark bars are two of the greatest treats on Earth. Absolute freakin heaven.

      February 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
      • polishsausage

        zzz Klondike Bars couldnt be any more boring if they tried.

        February 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    18. JBJingles

      Wow looks like the vote on the cuisine is as close as the odds are on the game! I love me some brats, and hubs likes his pierogies, so we will probably do both and mix and match it up.

      February 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
      • RichardHead@JBJ

        Steelers RULE and so do Pierogies,Kielbasa and BEER!

        February 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
        • Richard Simmons

          I LOVE kielbasa!

          February 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
        • George Michael

          I like weinersnitzels in public restrooms.

          February 3, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
        • Elton John

          Where's the cream gravy?

          February 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
        • Ricky Martin

          I'm fixin' to make some up for Sir Elton John right now.

          February 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
        • Justin Beiber

          MMmmm! Don't forget Pigs in a Blanket for me!!! I prefer wheat bread.

          February 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
        • Ellen

          You can have all the pigs in a blanket that you want.

          February 3, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
        • Liberace

          I can't sing with my mouth full!

          February 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
        • BoyGeorge

          I can sing with my mouth full but it is just mumbles.

          February 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
        • JBJingles@RH

          Ah, pierogies and kielbasa it is! Can you simmer the kielbasa in beer like the brats? That was so good last time with the onions steeped in the beer as well. And we had them on hot dog rolls *hangs head in shame*

          February 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
        • Senator Larry Craig

          Hey, Justin! Holla!

          February 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
        • Parker Spitzer

          I want in on this!

          February 3, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
        • Ex Pastor Haggard

          I still love my wife and snausagez.

          February 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
        • Aaron Rodgers@Richard

          Up yours. We rock!

          February 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
        • Bret Favre @ Aaron Rodgers

          Check your phone. Sent you a text. Good luck this week.

          Sent from my iPhone

          PS: Loser

          February 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
        • RichardHead@Aaron Rodgers

          Since they made you stay in Irving Tx,You may want to go to Aaron Rent's and get yourself a Football team. Packers SUCK!

          February 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
        • SnowbunnyakaAaron@RH

          HA! Gotcha!

          February 3, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
        • Chastity Bono

          I used to be a girl who is now a guy and don't have to stuff sausages down my pants anymore! :)

          February 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
      • Bilbo Baggins

        For the record – The Pittsburgh area was settled by Scot-Irish. Scotch is a very fine whiskey.

        February 3, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
      • jcanchola

        Wow, what an article. Unfortunately, the only thing that sounded any good was da brats! Cmon people! Dough? stuffed with cheese and fried in butter with onions? You cant do better than that at a super bowl party? Real football parties must include barbecue of some sort at least. Meat is king at our party. Ribs, bbq Wings. Also, chili. Yeah big meaty chili...and sunday we will be offering a huge pot of gumbo as well! So please, try not to get into the cabbage-gruel-fried,stuffed,dough thing this sunday. You will only be a disappointment to yourself and others! Much like this article! ha ha

        February 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
        • KissmeimPolish

          Dude don't knock it if you've never tried it. My man is a southern boy and he loves it when I make Perogies, Golumpkis or Holuski. Eastern European food is mostly meat and potatoes. Golumpkis have more meat than rice and them and have tons of flavor. Never has it been "gruel" as you so lovingly call it. I love ribs but this is my comfort food.

          February 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
      • Pittsburgh Steelers Fan

        A lot of Pittsburgh folks call the cabbage rolls halupki. Pigs in the blanket can be either halupki or also hot dogs with crescent roll bread around them.

        February 4, 2011 at 9:25 am |
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