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Big Taste Grill Starts 2017 Tour

Johnsonville Big Taste Grill Opens 23rd Year; Names First Female Grillmaster

This year’s Johnsonville Big Taste Grill kickoff marks the 23rd season that the semi-turned-grill will hit the road on a cross-country tour. However, when the tour opens on March 24 in Tucson, Ariz., the grill will have its first ever female grillmaster, Suzy Shelstad, at the helm.

Over the next eight months, Shelstad and the Big Taste Grill team will travel to more than 60 events serving up Johnsonville brats and to raise money for local and national charities. Since its launch in 1995, the Big Taste Grill has served approximately six million Johnsonville brats and raised more than $4 million for charity. In 2016 alone, this goodwill grill partnered with 40 local charities in the markets it served, helping these organizations raise $102,390 for their programs and outreach.

Much like Johnsonville, Shelstad is a born-and-bred Wisconsinite. She joins the Big Taste Grill team with years of grilling experience and a passion for tailgate-worthy sausages, which makes her uniquely qualified to run a grill that can cook up to 2,500 brats per hour or 750 brats at one time!

Josh Majewski is also a born-and-raised Wisconsinite who loves everything Wisconsin - from sports to the great outdoors. He is a family man first, but also likes to get out and fish. No matter if the weather reads -10° and snowing or the perfect Wisconsin 75°, Josh is near a grill. He grew up eating Johnsonville brats and can't wait to share that great taste throughout the country this year!

Meet the crew here in this video:

Leading the big rig on the tour is veteran Big Taste Grill driver, Al Acosta, who got his first taste of the tour during the 2016 season. With more than 23 years of semi experience, Acosta’s favorite part of driving the 65-foot grill is the many smiles, waves and thumbs-ups he receives along the way.

To find 2017 tour stops and dates visit Or, follow the Big Taste Grill tour adventures weekly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Below are a few of the many events the Big Taste Grill will be present at during 2017:

About Johnsonville Sausage

Wisconsin-based Johnsonville Sausage is the No. 1 national sausage brand, featuring: brats, Italian sausage, smoked-cooked links, breakfast sausage, Grillers, meatballs and now, chicken. Johnsonville products are served in 125 professional, college and semi-pro sports stadiums throughout the U.S.

Johnsonville employs approximately 1,600 members. Founded in 1945 by the late Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, the privately held company remains family owned today, providing various sausage products in 40 countries. For additional information, visit

The Big Taste Grill:

- Visited 34 different markets

- Served 95,000 Johnsonville brats and Grillers at 103 different events

- Raised $102,390 for 40 local charities
2016 Tour