Lake Geneva Country Meats (Home of Leahy’s award-winning sausages)

Lake Geneva Country Meats (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin) is a family-owned and operated business since 1965.  We were greeted at the door by father and son, Scott and Nick Vorpagel.   We loved what we saw right away  — spacious interior with hundreds of food displays.

While interacting with Nick for the CPRTV segment, I could see Veronica, Joe and Glenn being offered samples of sweet and savory items — really one enjoyable food experience.  Nick Vorpagel is the Sales And Technology Manager and he showed us the various meat processing areas (it would have been great if there were actual meat crafting, sausage making operations taking place; no such behind-the-scene activity happening on Saturdays though).

But so relieved to learn that Lake Geneva Country Meats was recently featured on Discover Wisconsin and anyone can view the full episodes via   And we were also joined by the Master Meat Crafter himself, Jeff Schmalfeldt.

The store was getting a bit busy, but we managed to get footages of smoked sausages ready for cutting into separate links, hanged sides of beef,  sausage making equipment, locally manufactured food products (honey, brownies and cheesecakes), cheeses and yes, wine too.  Nick surprised me with a bottle of 2010 Late Harvest Riesling wine, B. Lovely to take home and enjoy (Nick you are a darling!).    Glenn made some purchases, including taco sausages and cheddar cheese and pepper bratwurst.  Nick emailed me this step-by-step “how to cook the bratwursts” and this gave me an idea of how I’d prepare the brats we purchased.

How to Cook Lake Geneva Country Meats Portabella Mushroom and Swiss Cheese Brats
All of our Fresh Mushroom Swiss Bratwursts come wrapped in white butcher paper, and you should follow these directions in their entirety.  If the brats are in a clear plastic package, they are already precooked, and you can start at Step 5.

1) If the brats are frozen, thaw them either overnight in a refrigerator or in warm water.

2) Place brats in a pot (medium-sized saucepan) of beer, butter and sliced onions, fully covering the brats (A dozen of brats with 1 sliced large sweet onion and 2 tablespoons butter).  If you do not like any of these items you can omit them and use water instead.

3) Bring pot of liquid to a boil.

4) Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. The water will turn foamy and the brats will turn gray as they cook.

5) Remove brats from water and place them on a grill, under a broiler or in a frying pan to brown.

6) Brown on each side for approximately 5 minutes. Remove brats from heat and serve (on fresh baked toasted buns). Use the onions from step 2 to top the brats with, if you like!

Since I’m a big fan of barbecued caramelized onions for my brats, you may want to do this extra step:  Caramelize 1 sliced large sweet onion with 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet.  Then add a jar of your favorite barbecue sauce and let simmer until mixture thickens.  Oh I can’t wait for summer!

The late John and wife Rita Leahy (Nick made sure we get to chat with Rita, and she is such an amazing and so approachable lady) started the business in 1965.   Rita gladly posed with son-in-law Scott and grandson Nick for Viatimes camera.

Rita ushered the crew to the tasting table…for some “bratwurst bracketology”.   Samples of 2 newly created “not on sale yet” gourmet bratwurst flavors were available for tasting — Honey Mustard Bratwurst and Spinach and Feta Cheese Chicken Bratwurst, with tasters voting for their favorites.  I loved them both…so glad the crew were busy shopping,  I didn’t leave the tasting table until I had samples after samples of the awesome meat products and cheeses too.

We didn’t get to meet Nick’s mom, Kathy Vorpagel, John and Rita’s daughter who is married to the President and CEO of Lake Geneva Country Meats, Scott Vorpagel.   Thanks again Rita, Scott and Nick… now we know where to get these quality brats and sausages for outdoor grilling this coming summer season.  Visit Lake Geneva Country Meats website for more info/special events ( ongoing wine tastings the third Saturday of every month; April tasting focus on Argentinean wines): And while at the website, view recipes like Carne Asada, Cranberry Glazed Ham and Lori’s Prime Rib.  More specials posted via facebook page,

I requested Nick to take some snapshots of meat processing activities….he sent these sausage making and custom meat processing exclusively for my blog (Nick, you are wonderful!)…

This is a picture of part of a customer’s locally raised and custom processed beef.  All of these roasts will be wrapped soon.  The white card contains all the instructions about how they would like their beef cut, thickness, package size, which roasts, etc.

Chuck is sawing some T-Bone steaks for the same customer. The saw cuts right through the bone.

Jose is trimming roasts from a primal cut.

This is a batch of Chicken Cordon Bleu brats being mixed together.  It has lean chicken, spices, and you can see the bits of cheese in with the meat.

 Jeff is stuffing some of our famous Cherry brats. The mixed meat and seasonings goes in the bowl in the left, and it comes out as a stuffed sausage from the tube!

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About Lake Geneva Country Meats: 5907 State Road 50 East, Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Home of Leahy’s award-winning sausages, fresh produce, local wines and cheeses and more visit Lake Geneva Country Meats to bring home a gourmet meal.  Be sure to look for Leahy’s Sausage in your grocer’s sausage section throughout Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Chicagoland areas. To sample or learn more about award-winning meats, sausages and gourmet foods, visit Lake Geneva Country Meats Gourmet Retail Shop, located just 3 miles east of Lake Geneva, visit online at or call 262.248.3339.

Connect with Lake Geneva Country Meats Facebook and Twitter.




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