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Rest Stop Monster Truck Jam: Taco Trucks vs. Brat Big Rigs

Long before art nouveau taco trucks hit the 405, 18-wheelers have been lugging 65-foot, sausage-slicked gas grills across the country. Since 1995, Johnsonville Sausage Company has sent their nearly 27-ton Big Taste Grill trucks to food festivals, sporting events and fundraisers nationwide (one truck hits the East Coast, the other covers California and surrounding states). To date, the trucks have raised more than $2.5 million for charity.

18-wheel bratmobile
18-wheel bratmobile
Photo credit: Jenn Garbee

When parked, the body of the truck flips up to reveal a grill that can cook up to 2,500 pork sausages per hour. But only a small portion of the grill was fired up at last weekend's AVP volleyball tournament in Manhattan Beach. Banned from the beach for its excessive weight, the truck was parked several blocks north in the Ralph's parking lot on Manhattan Beach Boulevard, far from the hoards of bikini-clad potential customers.

John Dellich, general manager of the west coast tour, was doing his part to up the weekend tally. "Had a brat for breakfast," he said from the seat of his double-wide pickup truck, where he was napping away the grilling hours on Saturday morning.

Dellich hauls the 18-wheeler's sidekick, a concession trailer that serves as the sales counter. The former manager of American Idol's summer tour began his brat trek on December 27, 2008 in Phoenix and will wrap up around the same date this year.

As for how he's getting along on the sausage highway, Dellich replied: "Brats are a lot easier to deal with than 16 and 17 year-olds."


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