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Johnsonville Big Taste Grill Celebrates 20 Years

Twenty years ago, GMR built the first-ever Big Taste Grill for Johnsonville Sausage's 50th anniversary. Given the moniker "The World’s Largest Touring Grill," it hit the road amid great fanfare and celebration, bringing delicious Johnsonville brats to people all over the country.

This thing is not your average backyard barbecue. Weighing more than 53,000 pounds and measuring 65 feet long, this giant grill can cook more than 750 brats at a time or 2,500 brats per hour.

Today, the Big Taste Grill is still delivering big taste to fans from New York to California, and GMR continues to bring the tour to life through charity work, media appearances and the presence of an endearing “Grillmaster” as the face of the campaign.

Community Connections

Since hitting the road, the program has raised more than $3.5 million for a variety of charities nationwide by partnering with local groups who staff the grill. In 2013 alone, Johnsonville raised more than $130,000 for 60 different organizations.

The Big Taste Grill is also great at spreading the word about grilling for charity as far and wide as possible. Often, the Grillmaster showcases original grilling recipes right from the Big Taste Grill for local news and morning shows. Anchors, reporters, weathermen and cameramen go crazy for this thing, which helps build connections with the storytellers in each market, and thus the audiences they reach.

Take a look at a recent grill appearance on KTHV-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas, before Riverfest 2014.

The Grillmaster

One of the tour's essentials is a highly skilled, heavily trained Johnsonville Grillmaster to ensure things run smoothly in the field. There have been a variety of personalities in this position over the years, all of who brought their own flare and charm to the program. This year, the 20th year, the Big Taste Grill’s newest Grillmaster got into 'grilling shape' through one-on-one training with his predecessor.

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