Barbecuing for the troops at the CATA's USO Barbecue

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The Chicago Automobile Trade Association is giving a helping hand to the USO of Illinois by having local Chicagoland dealerships throw barbeques to support the troops. (WLS)

For the fourth year in a row, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is giving a helping hand to the USO of Illinois by having local Chicagoland dealerships throw barbeques at their showrooms, all to support local USO efforts for our troops and their families. Over the past three years, 100 CATA dealers have rallied their communities to help raise more than a quarter of a million dollars to support USO of Illinois programs and services. And this year, the help doesn't stop there.

For the entire month of July, you can donate to the cause at all of the CATA dealerships by:

Donating loose change next time you're at your dealership for a tire rotation or oil change as a part of the Cup Holder Change Drive initiative. Every cent counts and will be donated directly to local troops.

Throughout the month of July, the dealers are running a social media contest where fans can nominate a military member or veteran they believe deserves the Ultimate Backyard BBQ. People are encouraged to share a photo and include a caption explaining the reason he or she deserves the event, using #BBQ4Troops. One lucky winner, and 50 of their friends, will receive the Ultimate Backyard BBQ including a personal cooking demonstration from Real Urban Barbecue chef and the chance to rub elbows with a Chicago Blackhawks player ambassador.

For more information visit or Drive Chicago on Facebook.

Chef Jeff Shapiro's tips for making the perfect brat:

Grill Brats - "Low and Slow"
- Preheat grill to medium-low heat so brats do not split and lose natural juices.
- Place brats on grill grate and close grill cover.
- Grill brats for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through (160F) and browned, turning links often.

While Brats are grilling, prepare the "Brat Hot Tub."
- Place foil baking pan directly on grill.
- Add butter and sliced onions. Saute onions until golden brown.
- Slowly pour beer into pan. You need three cans of beer, two for the hot tub and one to drink.

Serve Brats immediately to your hungry guests and place any remaining brats into the "Brat Hot Tub."
When folks are ready for seconds, or stragglers show up late, grab a Johnsonville Brat out of the Brat Hot Tub and enjoy
- Serve on hard rolls or brat buns.
- Traditional condiments are: spicy brown mustard, chopped fresh onion, pickle relish, sauerkraut.

If you want something a little different here are some new twists:

- Road House BBQ Brat: Sliced Brat with sautéed onion, garlic all mix with Real Urban BBQ Sauce on a Kaiser Roll
- Bratwurst Kabob: Sliced Brat with marinated vegetables, some on skewer and one off the skewer on a Brat Bun
- Brat Reuben: Grill Brat with caramelized onion, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Reuben sauce on a Rye Hoagie Roll

Find out more about Real Urban Barbecue at their website.
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