Spring Boating, Culinary Adventures Abound in Missouri

Near two of Missouri’s destination lakes, Wurstmeister Mike Sloan serves up award-winning Germanic European style meats

February 2024 Feature Del Williams Web Exclusive

For boaters hungry for adventure, endless outdoor and culinary opportunities abound around two massive lakes in Missouri. In Benton County’s Truman Lake, the upper arm of the Osage Arm flows past the City of Warsaw, where enormous catfish abound. The Osage Arm in front of Drake Harbor is a playground for tubers, water skiers and surfers. Nearby, The Lake of the Ozarks offers access to public beaches, great fishing, and plenty of room for fun and recreation on the water.

Boating aficionados on their way to Lake Truman or Lake of the Ozarks or returning home have spectacular culinary adventures awaiting them as well: an authentic German meal or picnic – bratwurst with all the trimmings from award-winning Wurstmeister Mike Sloan at two locations. Each location is just a ten- to fifteen-minute detour off the busy Interstate 70 that connects Kansas City to St. Louis.

Sloan now serves up his hearty meals and German-styled sausages in decidedly American-sized portions at the Hermann Wurst Haus on the Missouri River in the historic German immigrant founded town of Hermann, Missouri and in their new second location, Fulton Wurst Haus in Fulton, Missouri. Simply load up on Sloan’s variety of meats for grilling as well as the many side dishes available, which are sure to satisfy even those ready for or famished from a full day of boating, swimming, and water sports.

Tucked into the rolling hills and vineyards of Missouri, area residents and travelers passing through on the I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis are in for a unique and flavorful experience: bratwurst, bacon, and other Germanic European style meats courtesy of Sloan.

When it comes to bratwurst, Sloan is an artist in the kitchen as well as a crusader for his beloved German sausage with its distinctive flavor profile, often featuring notes of nutmeg, coriander, ginger, caraway, and other spices.

Sloan is not shy about his ambitions, good-naturedly proclaiming, “I want to be the Colonel Sanders of bratwurst.”

For those who haven’t brushed up on their German recently, ‘wurst’ means sausage, and ‘haus’ – well, that one is obvious. The two restaurants more than live up to their name, serving up a culinary bounty of Sloan’s 45 flavors of bratwurst and 12 flavors of bacon, among other mouth-watering offerings like beer marinated brisket, house smoked turkey, and even German bologna.

With his full beard and sturdy butcher appearance, Sloan is the embodiment of a Wurst Haus owner one would expect to find serving up sausages along the Rhine River. But don’t expect him to speak German. Even though his ancestors were fluent in the language, he is not.

Between them, Sloan and his wife Lynette have over 70 years’ experience creating specialty meats. All sausages and bratwurst are handcrafted in-house.

Like most traditional artisan chefs, Sloan is particular about where he sources his meats. During his 46 years in the industry, Sloan has formed many relationships with local farmers and most of the beef, pork, chicken, and turkey he purchases is from farms within a 300-mile radius. Sloan also has his own meat processing facility. In addition to handling the meat for his own businesses, he processes deer for hunters and livestock for local farmers and ranchers.

“We were farm-to-table before we even knew what farm-to-table was,” says Sloan.

Over the years, Sloan has accumulated more than 600 international, national, state, and regional awards, including 15 best-of-show honors and 29 international awards from the German Butcher’s Association in Frankfurt, Germany. His most recent award of national recognition was at the American Cured Meat Championships (ACMC), held in July 2023 in Charlotte, South Carolina. Sloan won Reserve Champion for Venison Soppressata.

“I’m proud of the awards because they don’t just give them away – you have to earn them. The German awards are very special to me because Germany is the epitome of the meat industry and sausage makers. It’s where it all started,” says Sloan.

His passion for creating both traditional and new sausage flavors, and for curing bacon, is equal to his devotion to delivering an authentic German experience for his guests. The warm-toned, wood-tabled dining hall lined with cold cases filled with meat, and wooden barrels hanging from the ceiling invite a party atmosphere which includes the enticing smells of marinating and roasting meats.

Rounding out the offerings of Wurst Haus’ bountiful menu are house-brewed craft beers and specialty sodas made with real cane sugar, along with Sloan’s wife Lynette’s family recipes of delicious side dishes. The tasty sides of German Potato Salad (packed with bacon), Red Cabbage, Onion and Cucumber Salad, among others are ample in size to make meals by themselves. A variety of cakes – including German Chocolate - are available for dessert.

The brats and Sloan’s never-ending quest to discover new taste combinations are reason enough to make a pit stop.

“We have so many different flavors that were not even thought of 15 years ago,” says Sloan. “One of the brats that we make, our number one seller, is a caramelized pear and Gorgonzola cheese bratwurst. As soon as we tell people it’s made with caramelized pears and Gorgonzola, their mouths start watering before they have even tasted it,” he adds.

With other mouthwatering choices like the popular bacon, potato, and cheese bratwurst, the jalapeno bacon bratwurst, along with many other delicious combinations, Sloan invariably encourages customers to double up on brats purchased at the deli to avoid suffering from pangs of regret later.

Those visiting the original location in Hermann will be treated to a historic German town, also known for its wineries and vineyards. The area has a long tradition of winemaking, and visitors can tour the wineries, taste a variety of wines, and learn about the winemaking process. The town also hosts German-themed festivals of Maifest, Oktoberfest, and Wurstfest. You might even see the Wurstmeister himself at a cart selling bratwurst and soft German pretzels and calling out to passersby, “How about a brattie (pronounced ‘brottie’) for you and your hottie?”

For those with late-night cravings for sausage after hours, Sloan installed vending machines stocked with brats, bacon, and other specialty items, located outside the Hermann Wurst Haus.

Considering all the Wurst Haus locations have to offer, they are an appealing pitstop for boaters on the way to enjoying themselves at nearby lakes or returning home.

If you can’t make the trip, fear not, the brats can travel to you packed in dry ice. There are hundreds of items on the online store at https://www.hermannwursthaus.com/, including all the bratwurst flavors, bacon, and even gift cards for the boat lovers and meat lovers in your life.

As spring fever beckons us out of our homes and into the great outdoors, extraordinary aquatic and culinary adventures are in store for boaters and their loved ones. Just head for two of Missouri’s most enjoyable lakes and explore mouthwatering, award-winning Germanic cuisine!

For more information: https://www.hermannwursthaus.com/

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