The 4th of July is right around the corner and as it turns out, folks in Illinois like to throw the same thing on the grill as our neighbors to the north.

A comprehensive deep dive by Pantry and Larder, a food tips and tricks website, took an inside look at what we're chowing down on Independence Day, and the results were kind of surprising.

Surprising as in, to see that the popularity of these things hasn't reached either coast, but since I've only lived in the center of America for the entirety of my life, I guess you can say my shock was a bit naive.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that brats should be more popular than they are because Illinois and Wisconsin both say it's our favorite thing to grill up over the 4th of July.

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How can you go wrong with a brat? Even the most amateur grill meister can figure out how to cook one, right? Better yet, brats are so much more now than when they first arrived.

Nowadays brats come in a variety of flavors, like sweet-sounding Pancakes & Syrup, or face-melting spicy, like Jalapeno Cheddar and everything in between. Brats have been a go-to at outdoor family functions with my group of people for years now.

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As for sides, Pantry and Landry did find Wisconsin and Illinois differ a bit. Illinois' top side dish choice was baked beans. Nothing wrong with baked beans, but gosh are they boring.

Wisconsin's side dish pleases my palate a bit more with pasta salad being the pick.

No matter what you're firing up on the grill this 4th of July be sure to enjoy it. Just one brat at a time.

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