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Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe – Rio, Wisconsin

Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe is a special treat to the meat and bacon lover. Tucked away just miles from the interstate, Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe is more than just sausage. Heck, it’s even more than just meats! Walking into the store feels a bit like walking into a small town supermarket with aisles of ice cream, chips, and even other goodies like jellies and jams from Door County, Wisconsin between the door and the jackpot: the long meat counter and freezers packed with brats, chicken, and other assorted meat goodies. Johnson’s also carries a full assortment of liquor, wine, and beer.

I was greeted by an enthusiastic employee named Chris who is a self-described foodie. He was eager to give me a tour of their incredible variety of meats and flavors they make right in their shop.

Johnson’s meats are locally sourced from within a 50 mile radius from the store. They are a full processing plant and they continue to develop products for all kinds of appetites such as a non-pork bacon for bacon lovers with religious restrictions on pork. They also offer a full catering menu for your special occasion.

Most of their meats come pre-packaged and either refrigerated or frozen with prices rounded to nearest whole dollar. It is very easy to know what you are paying before you ever get to the counter. Prices are easy to discern and there is very little per pound pricing. Many of their products come packaged in $5 vacuum sealed packages. If you buy five $5 items, the sixth one is free! With their fantastic variety this gave us the perfect opportunity to try several items economically. We grabbed two kinds of bacon, breakfast sausage, bratwursts, and two kinds of beef sticks for the car ride home.

Beef Sticks

For the beef sticks, I chose two flavors, BBQ and Teriyaki. I first tried the BBQ flavor. Immediately I noticed how tender they are and easy to bite through. Some companies’ casings are tough, but this was very easy, especially for the kids. Tenderness is a theme across the Johnson’s meat lineup. They weren’t too flavorful, but just enough to give a hint of that barbecue taste. If you are a beef stick fan and don’t want the flavor to stay with you when you burp two days later then these are the right kind for you. The teriyaki ones were much the same. Not a strong flavor and tasted somewhat similar to the BBQ ones.

Cajun Bacon

Looking for a little variety with my bacon I settled on the Cajun bacon. The Cajun bacon reminded me of the beef sticks having the same taste and the same flavor. I would consider the meat tenderness and flavor to be the Johnson’s signature.

It cooks like how you would expect a bacon to cook and smells like jambalaya when cooking. It is thick-cut which is my preference. This bacon must truly be savored in order to find the real taste of the Cajun spices. Let the flavor come to you. It does not have a smoky flavor.

Camper’s Bacon

When I asked for their signature bacon I was directed to the Camper’s bacon. I had no idea what to expect with the Campers bacon, but it was a treat. This bacon doesn’t look like most other bacons. It is a beef and pork mixture and comes fully cooked. It’s also much shorter in length than most bacon. All of these elements combine to make a great bacon for camping.

I chose to use this bacon for BLT sandwiches. It is a very easy bacon to cook. It lays in the pan really easily and very flat and it does not stick to the cooking surface. Being that it is pre-cooked you are merely heating the bacon to your desired crispness. For BLT sandwiches I like my bacon very crispy which takes longer to cook than how I would cook breakfast bacon. The result was great! I definitely recommend this one.

Maple Breakfast Sausages

Their breakfast sausage carries the Johnson’s signature; it was similar to the beef sticks in flavor and tenderness. They had a hint of maple flavoring. I prefer other breakfast sausages to these.

Cherry Bratwursts

With a large variety of bratwursts I wanted to try something I had not seen before. In addition to choices such as blueberry brats I decided to give the cherry brats a try. The brats come frozen and pre-cooked. For further variety I cooked them on the George Foreman grill. They were easy to cook and while the George Foreman made them look very dark, they did not turn out crispy (as I had feared), yet they seem to be meant for an outdoor grill, not a George Foreman.

When they were ready we placed them in our homemade buns. A first bite is like a first impression and my first bite left me wanting more! Unlike their other products, the Cherry brats do not carry the Johnson’s signature. In fact, they are some of the best brats I have ever had. They were not very greasy and they did not have grease spitting out as I bit into the brat. Like their other sausages the casing was easy to bite through. The cherry in the brat wasn’t distinct, but it was still a good sausage and I am definitely returning to Johnson’s on my next trip through the area for more brats.


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