Lettuce Create the Ultimate Sandwich Thread

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

According to the BBC, now is approximately the 250th anniversary of the invention of that magnificent and versatile foodstuff, the sandwich.

I would like to celebrate with the ultimate sandwich thread. Please share your favorite sandwich stories, your favorite sandwich recipes, the name and location of the restaurants where you have eaten memorable sandwiches, and—if applicable—a story about the time a sandwich saved your life, or helped deliver one of your children in the back of a taxicab.

I’ll start.

The best variation on a club sandwich I’ve ever eaten is the swordfish club at Rustico in Alexandria, Virginia. The best Cuban sandwich I’ve ever had, oddly enough, was in Louisville, Kentucky, at a place called Havana Rumba. Best Philly cheese steak was at Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh. My favorite place for a deli sandwich is still the wonderfully-named Dagwood’s in Bloomington, Indiana. My favorite (and much underrated) sandwich cheese is cream Havarti. My favorite specialty sandwich accoutrement is the jalapeno bacon from Nashville’s Loveless Cafe.  The best burger I’ve ever eaten was at The Fatted Calf in Clayton, Missouri. Best meatball sandwich (and best authentic Italian cold cut sandwich) was at The Italian Store in Arlington, Virginia. Favorite somewhat exotic sandwich: the Banh Mi. My favorite national sandwich chain is Cosi. Or possibly Panera. Finally, just to mix things up, last week I was at Noshville Delicatessen in midtown Nashville. They’ve recently added a bold new creation to their menu called “Reuben Soup.” As you might guess, it’s a Reuben sandwich, only in soup form. I can report that it is a smashing success.

Other sandwich tips:

  • Think beyond mayo or mustard. Dress your sandwich with salad dressings, dips (spinach dip is a personal favorite), relishes, and tapenades.
  • How to make any sandwich at least 60 percent more delicious: Brush each side with olive oil, add some rosemary or Italian seasoning mix, then press in your Foreman Grill for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  •   Caramelized onions. Always caramelized onions. But to the point where they’re a wee bit charred, so they have some crunch.

Lastly, here is my favorite sandwich-related comedy sketch.

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83 Responses to “Lettuce Create the Ultimate Sandwich Thread”

  1. #1 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    The sandwich that lives in memory for me is a turkey and swiss with coleslaw on rye. Superior ingredients? Right mood? Who knows? It’s a very good idea for a sandwich in any case.

    I don’t know about best ever or even in Philadelphia, but I’ll put in a very good word for the subs (or heroes or hoagies– I grew up in Delaware, so I call them subs) at Cosmi’s on 8th St., and the extremely large and tasty sandwiches at the Famous 4th St. Deli.

  2. #2 |  mark | 

    I lived in Nashville for 5 years awhile back, and for my money the best sandwich ever is the pulled pork BBQ w/cornbread pancakes @ Mary’s on Jefferson Street. I recommend it w/plenty of sauce but however you roll….

  3. #3 |  Difster | 

    I have had many a good conversation with friends over Patty Melt sandwiches at Denny’s. Yes, it’s a burger, but it’s on bread so it’s a sandwich. In earlier years I didn’t like the grilled onions but later on, I always like a little bit at least so I would let them cook it and take most of them off when it arrived.

    I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world. I start with thick sourdough bread, slices of cheddar and Monterrey jack and some sort of sliced meat depending on my mood or what’s handy. Oh, and real shredded Parmesan cheese (for the outside). Don’t forget the butter and olive oil.

    Once you have all the ingredients ready, the first thing you must do is heat up the griddle or (God forbid) the pan to medium temperature before proceeding. If it’s not up to temp before you throw the bread on, you’re wasting your time.

    The griddle is hot and ready to go. Butter the outside pieces of bread, but make sure the butter is soft so it applies evenly and doesn’t tear the bread. If you want two layers of meat, put the cheese between them otherwise slice up the meat in to strips and interleave it with the cheese.

    Put your sandwich together. Lay down some olive oil on the griddle and set the sandwich down on it gently. Keep a close eye on it, you don’t want it to burn. Flip it over after the first side is 80% done. After you flip it, add your grated parm on top. Then, when the otherside is completely done, flipt it over and fry the parm on to it the other 20%. You really only need parm on one side but feel free to do both.

    Serve with pickle spears on the side and the drink of your choice.

  4. #4 |  Chris Berez | 

    Here in Manchester there is a BBQ joint called KC’s Rib Shack and they make one of the greatest sandwiches ever. It consists of a mound of pulled slow-smoked chicken breast, a mound of pulled pork, melted cheese, roasted red peppers, bacon, and garlic mayo. If ever you find yourself passing through Southern NH, do yourself a favor and make the stop. You will not be disappointed.

    Also, Radley, I agree 100% on Havarti being underutilized. Really a phenomenal cheese that adds to any sandwich.

  5. #5 |  Chris Berez | 

    Also, since Difster brought up patty melts, I think this applies…

  6. #6 |  Adrian Ratnapala | 


    Two slices of bread,
    You favourite chilli sauce,
    Something sweet (such as chilli sauce),
    Salt, Vinegar,
    Salami or similar – thinly sliced,
    Cheese (any strong flavour, I like Cheddar),


    Slice some cucumber, shake it up in a ziplock bag with salt & vinager. Leave this in the fridge for serveral days, you can make many sandwhiches. On sandwich day, put all the ingreedients into the sandwich, but make sure that you have good layers of salami to to act as a sealand prevent the bread from getting soggy.

  7. #7 |  Jesse | 

    Hi think you are missing where the focus needs to start. Without top notch bread, no sandwich can be top notch.
    I’m going to put a vote in for fresh french bread (Julie child recipe) with Dijon mustard, rare home roast beef, sharp cheddar cheese, kosher style pickles, lettuce and tomato.

    Or toasted baguette, with feta cheese and fresh picked tomatoes.

  8. #8 |  Happy Birthday, Sandwich! - INGunOwners | 

    […] Happy Birthday, Sandwich! This year marks the 250th birthday of the sandwich. One of my favs is the pastrami on rye at Shapiro's. My favourite burger belongs, hands down, to Terry's Turf Club, in Cincinnati. Favourite at home is a good old fashioned grilled cheese. BBC News – Sandwich celebrates 250th anniversary of the sandwich Lettuce Create the Ultimate Sandwich Thread | The Agitator […]

  9. #9 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    Two North Carolina burger picks:
    Duffer’s, in Shallotte, NC (about 20 minutes north of Myrtle Beach), has one of the best burger I’ve ever had. They come in limitless variations, but the Tijuana (jalapenos and cheddar) always struck my fancy.
    Hap’s Grill, in Salisbury, NC (my hometown, and a city that spawned a police misconduct case that you may remember writing about) serves burgers that I hesitate in even attempting to describe. The scent of their chili can literally be detected from a mile away (you decide if that’s a good thing or not. Personally, I could live in a vat of that chili and be content forever).

  10. #10 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    Footnote: I also had a damn good burger at Harry Buffalo in Cleveland. So good, in fact, that I’ve been tempted to revisit Cleveland just to eat another one. Anything that could make a person want to be in Cleveland, Ohio has some serious merit.

  11. #11 |  Kass | 

    Awesome simple relish to put on Italian style sandwich: cherry peppers, onions, and black olives. Throw it in the food processor and go. Really zesty and yummy. And healthy!

  12. #12 |  BobN | 

    Great Sandwiches! there are too many to remember. Wagshals Deli, formerly in the Spring Valley area on Massachusetts Ave in DC had a great one called the Superior. If I recall it had roast beef, corned beef, liver pate, russian dressing and some other goodies. Mmm.

    Another great one was what was called “Turkey in the Slaw”, very similar to the sandwich Nancy L. describes above. Rye Bread, turkey, cheddar cheese, cole slaw, bacon, and russian dressing. Simply Great.

    Prosciutto sandwiches are always good. My favorite is prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and basil with a smear of garlic. Oil and balsamic vinegar to taste; all on a hoagie/sub roll

    Best pulled pork – mine, of course. Nothing beats fresh pulled pork right out of the smoker.

    Roast Beef and melted Brie is another great combo. French or sourdough bread seems to work the best for this.

    Thanks for this thread and keep it coming folks, I need more sandwich ideas.


  13. #13 |  Jerryskids | 

    Peanut butter, lettuce, banana on rye. That is all.

  14. #14 |  Difster | 

    I nearly forgot about my triple-decker PBJBC&H Sandwich.

    A few guesses as to the ingredients? I’ll post the answer in a while.

  15. #15 |  H. Rearden | 

    Radley – If you ordered a Philly Cheesesteak At Primanti’s in Pittsburgh, they would probably throw you out of the premises. I usually get the capicola, and always plenty of Trappy’s Red Devil sauce poured on. In my college days, a bottle of the sauce usually went home with me.

  16. #16 |  Caleb | 

    Love the Italian Store! Have to restrain myself from going in every time I pass it.

  17. #17 |  H. Rearden | 

    peanut butter, jelly, bacon, cheese, and ham?

  18. #18 |  Ben | 

    Hot brown. Best one I have had is the one I made last weekend while my wife and I celebrated the Kentucky derby. The best one I had prior to that has at a country club in a small town south of Lexington.

    The hot brown is everything anyone would want from a sandwich without those pesky vegetables (save for a tomato).

    Texas toast
    Smoked turkey
    Open faced
    Smothered in Mornay sauce
    Topped with a couple slices of heirloom tomatoes
    Two slices of bacon

    Under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and browns.

    Good god

  19. #19 |  Wade Preston | 

    I’m really partial to sandwiches in my favorite Mexican joints. There are few things better than a chorizo con huevo torta- not only the chorizo and eggs, but avacado, jalapenos, refried beans, onions, all on a large grilled roll. It all combines to make an awesomely addictive flavor combination. a torta ahogada is even better as they drown the thing in a spicy chile gravy.

    If schwarma (similar to a gyro) counts as a sandwich, you have to find a place that makes them on freshly baked laffa bread. It’s similar to naan, and best eaten right away, so as soon as it comes out of the oven they make your sandwich on it, including hummus, pickled onion, other assorted vegetables, even french fries, and seriously good hot sauce. That’s livin’ my friends.

  20. #20 |  Marty | 

    BLT from Crown Candy in St. Louis is my go to favorite.

  21. #21 |  croaker | 

    Jeri Ryan, me, Erica Cerra :)

  22. #22 |  Pete Cofer | 

    I travel to Switzerland a lot for work, and I’m a huge fan of the veal bratwurst style “hotdogs” smothered in sautéed onions with spicy German mustard. I can’t say enough about the deliciously strong Thomy brand mustard that comes in a tube (like toothpaste) … just a little goes a long way. I always bring some home, but I see it’s available on Amazon.


  23. #23 |  Tony von Krag | 

    I’m partial to NOLA cooking, like the shrimp po-boy from Uglesich’s Restaurant, may they RIP. Another is the roast beef from Parasol’s, it’s so tasty it makes grown men cry. Heck just about any joint in NOLA rocks head & shoulders above the rest of the USA.

    Up here in Minneapolis Jack Riebel of the Butcher and the Boar does a awesome Cobb Burger & Vincent Francouals Vincent Burger ranks too. I’m going to say both Minneapolis & NOLA do some of the best Banh Mi ever, reason why is both cities have huge Viet populations all cooking up a storm.

  24. #24 |  Chris | 

    The Z-Man. It’s legendary.

    From one of Anthony Bourdain’s “13 places you need to eat before you die list”, Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ in Kansas City.

    The sandwich?

    Smoked brisket. Topped with a little bit of bbq sauce. topped with an onion ring or two. Topped with provolone, and then heated up and put on a bun.

    Yeah. Nothin better.

  25. #25 |  marta | 

    omg yes! caramelized onions! a little overdone for some crunch. yes.

  26. #26 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Thumbs up for Dagwood’s.

  27. #27 |  Anti Federalist | 

    New Jersey.

    First, breakfast: Taylor pork roll, egg and cheese on a hard roll.

    Second, and there are lot of names for this, an Italian sub being most common, but at my favorite sub shop in Jersey, Mike’s, it was simply a number 2.

    Ham, prosciutto, salami and provolone cheese on a Baldazana sub roll.
    Tomato, fresh onion, shredded lettuce, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

    Hipster foodie stuff? Not hardly, these are working man’s sandwiches.

  28. #28 |  Anti Federalist | 

    @ Chris Berez.

    I concur, great BBQ there at KC’s.

    Yankee Smokehouse over in Ossipee on Rte. 16 isn’t bad either.

  29. #29 |  RP-in-TX | 

    The best sandwich I ever had was in Zurich. I was rushing to catch a flight and grabbed it at a little shop. It was on a baguette and had sliced medium boiled eggs, romaine lettuce, and sliced Swiss cheese. It also had this thick yellow sauce that was kind of like mayo and kind of like butter (but not exactly either). The sauce also contained some herbs that I couldn’t identify. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I’ve tried to make them at home for years but I can’t figure out that sauce. I’ve tried hollandaise which is close, but that’s still not it.

  30. #30 |  RP-in-TX | 

    The best sandwich I ever had was in Zurich. I was rushing to catch a flight and grabbed it at a little shop. It was on a baguette and had sliced medium boiled eggs, romaine lettuce, and sliced Swiss cheese. It also had this thick yellow sauce that was kind of like mayo and kind of like butter (but not exactly either). The sauce also contained some herbs that I couldn’t identify. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I’ve tried to make them at home for years but I can’t figure out that sauce. I’ve tried hollandaise which is close, but that’s still not it.

  31. #31 |  Difster | 

    The PBJBC&H Sandwich referenced above is:

    Peanut butter, jelly, banana, cinnamon & honey. It’s an exquisite sandwich full of very complementary flavors as long as you really like sweet stuff.

  32. #32 |  A leap at the wheel | 

    Made my wife a BLT for her mother’s day picnic. Chibatta bread, home made bacon, tomatoes, leaf lettuce, home made mayo. Good stuff.

    My all time favorite though is is either a hot Italian sub from the pizza place I used to go to in high school (what is it about hot tomatoes and Italian dressing?), or the capacolla w/ egg from primanti brothers.

  33. #33 |  Abe Pafford | 

    This is a great idea for a thread.

    My contribution – My own personal homeade tuna salad recipe. Start with olive-oil packed tuna. Brand matters here, and Cento (bright yellow can, from Italy) is the best I’ve found, and has the benefit of being carried at a number of large grocery stores. Add diced celery, a handful of capers, mayonnaise, and the secret ingredient – fresh rosemary that you have charred over an open flame (gas stove or grill is handy, but I’ve used unscented candles in a pinch), stripped from the sprig, and mixed into the mayonnaise. Serve on good bread, toasted – (I think almost all sandwiches should have toasted bread).

  34. #34 |  Abe Pafford | 

    Best breakfast sandwich – The Julian – at Mariner’s Cove in Brielle, NJ – fried egg, Taylor pork roll, fried potatoes that somehow are simultaneously soft, crunchy, creamy, flavorful, held together without actually being pressed into a potato cake – I have no idea how they do it. Served on a good roll with salt, pepper and ketchup. Goes perfectly with a glass of OJ and a cup of black coffee.

  35. #35 |  Resistance | 

    Blackened halibut sandwich from Market Grill at Pike Place Market, Seattle.

  36. #36 |  R. Pointer | 

    Peanut Butter (Crunchy or Smooth), Miracle Whip, whole wheat. Add Romaine lettuce if you like.

  37. #37 |  R. Pointer | 


    Sadly the Fatted Calf was bought by new owners (stopped cooking to order – no more bloody calf burgers) and then they failed to clean their copper hoods properly (rumored) and the place burned. As of last summer they were on the downhill slide and openly asking customers to support them or they would close after 40 plus years of business. I have had more calf burgers than almost any other hamburger in my life – a shame to see them struggling.

  38. #38 |  doomboy | 

    Grinders at the Red Pepper in Grand Forks, ND.

    I don’t even know if its still in operation.

    The place would be dead until 1AM when the bars started closing, then a massive line.

    Just a basic sandwich. A sub bun with ham, turkey or beef, a little lettuce and mayo (maybe it was a custom mayo-ish sauce), and the bonus was taco meat.

    Maybe nostalgia has biased my taste buds but back in the day, these grinders f-in rocked!

  39. #39 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Best Philly cheese steak was at Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh

    I love Primanti Bros., but this is like saying your favorite football team is the New York Yankees. They don’t make Philly cheese steaks (and like other places don’t claim to).

  40. #40 |  Darrel | 

    Torta from Rico’s in Clovis, NM – pulled pork on a homemade roll with a thin slice of ham all grilled in lard on a hot fire. Add lettuce, tomato, avocado and a generous dollop of mayo. They give you a tiny container of mostly vinegar-based hot sauce (thin) to add right before you munch it all down. Never had anything better before or since.

  41. #41 |  GÄC | 

    The Mossy Spaniard – another Salisbury native here!

    My favorite two sandwiches are probably not the best out there, but have very deep sentimental value to me, and I don’t get to have them very often (which means when I do, they are golden). First is a Wink’s BBQ sandwich – pulled pork, hot slaw, and just a splash of sauce. With a Cheerwine to drink, of course. Best barbecue in the world (well, since the T&F burned down 30 or so years ago…).

    Second isn’t from any set restaurant. Nothing beats a nice Leberkäse at one of the fests here in Germany. While it translates as “liver cheese” it actually has very little liver and no cheese in it at all. Basically it is a bologna-like loaf of meat. Pan fried, with a nice dab of mustard, in a delicious crunchy roll. Can’t beat it on a nice spring day, accompanied by a maß of your favorite beer….

  42. #42 |  hlmd | 

    The “Ministry” sounds pretty intense: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/bandwiches

  43. #43 |  V | 

    Dress up any BLT with avocado.

  44. #44 |  Anti Federalist | 

    @Abe Pafford.

    That is an [b]excellent sandwich[/b] at Mariner’s Cove.

  45. #45 |  John C. Randolph | 

    The best steak and egg sandwich I ever had was from a local deli which, alas, no longer exists, in Fairfax county, VA.


  46. #46 |  Jason | 

    Shooter sandwich. Look at this:


  47. #47 |  KBCraigKBCraig | 

    I always judge a sandwich shop by their Reuben. It’s a simple sandwich, but so easy to screw up by lack of attention to detail. If they get the Reuben right, they have my attention. (And no, I don’t care to debate Thousand Island v. Russian; I care more that the sauerkraut is well squeezed, and the marble rye well toasted, so that I’m not trying to chew corned beef through a soggy wet mess.)

    Proportion also counts; I recently suffered through a national chain’s “Reuben”, which was a jaw-breaking portion of corned beef. If it had been a third the meat, it would have been a good sandwich, but they fell into the trendy trap of “impressive portions”, which made it a fail.

    Best Reuben: http://subiesdeli.com/

    Best Mufalleta: Noble Savage, Shreveport

    Best fried oyster Po-Boy: Jackie OH’s, Texarkana, sadly no longer in business. Runner-up: Blue Bayou Cafe, Nash, TX. Huge fat juice oysters, nice remoulade.

    Second-best burgers: Purple Cow, Little Rock.
    Worst burgers: Purple Cow, Hot Springs.
    How these sister restaurants diverged so widely, I have no idea.

    Absolute best burgers: my bacon avocado cheeseburgers that I made today for my lovely bride, on Happy Babymomma Day. Hint: Muenster is the perfect cheese for not overwhelming the avocados. Full flavored, soft cheese that melts nicely, without the oil of cheddar or Swiss.

  48. #48 |  JC | 

    Houston’s got VietNamese sammich shops all over and ain;t none of ’em bad. Lots of them bake on premises, almost all do home-made mayo daily, and fresh pate. I ain’t gonna tell you the best, I don’t want any lines. Givral’s is second best.

  49. #49 |  Ted S. | 

    @The Difster (May 13, 10:16 PM)

    Honey on a sandwich? When I was a kid we knew somebody who kept bees and got some free honey as a result. This was back when Mom was still packing my school lunch, and she would spread honey on the sandwiches. Unfortunately, by the time lunch rolled around, the honey hardened and the sandwiches were terrible.

  50. #50 |  Matt Curtis | 

    This thread is important, people. And +100 to the very first commenter — if you haven’t had a proper Delaware sandwich, do yourself a favor and pull off 95 the next time you’re cruising down the East Coast. My favorite shop: Capriotti’s, a family mini-chain. Best turkey sub you’ll ever have, plus their famous Bobbie, which is basically Thanksgiving dinner on a bun. Plus meatballs. And cheesesteaks. Oh god.

  51. #51 |  Tony Borell | 

    A sandwich has never saved my life, but one nearly killed me once. I was something like four or five years old and my mother served me a classic grilled cheese sandwich (yes, with onions). When I was down to the last bite, my mother left the kitchen to answer the door or something.

    As I had a nascent interest in SCIENCE, I decided to run an empirical test on HEY HOW FAR CAN I PUT THIS PIECE OF SANDWICH UP MY NOSE AND STILL RETRIEVE IT.

    Well, after a couple of attempts I found out. My mother found me choking but didn’t know how to get the sandwich out so she rushed me to the hospital. After the doctors retrieved the piece of sandwich and I could breathe normally again, the physicians all had a good laugh at my expense. Fuckers, I was outraged.

  52. #52 |  Roho | 

    To start with my favorite sandwich in general – the mufuletta. Has to be done right, though – have had some sad, sad examples. Most of the best ones have been acquired in New Orleans, of course (as well as some of the worst).

    As for a specific sandwich joint, there’s a little grocery store in Davis Square, just outside Boston. Dave’s Fresh Pasta. Yes, they do fresh pasta, and it’s really good – but the lines out the door are for the sandwiches. They get most of the ingredients locally, so the menu varies, but have never had something bad there.

  53. #53 |  Bronwyn | 

    One more vote for Dagwood’s in Bton. My favorite was the roast beef with Colby cheese, special sauce, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, s&p, and avocado.

    Another favorite that I make at home, if I have good bread… thin-sliced zucchini tossed with olive oil, s&p, with Colby cheese and Heinz salad creme (it’s British… I buy it at Meier’s).

    I make all my homemade ham and turkey sandwiches sing with Famous Dave’s pickle chips, salad creme, and Havarti and/or Colby.

  54. #54 |  Roho | 

    Oh, and to add in the current favorite sandwich the wife and I have been enjoying (ingredients courtesy of the aforementioned Dave’s):

    Rosemary olive oil focaccia loaf, split.
    Herbed boursin cheese, spread on both halves.
    In between, roasted red peppers, hot peppers, and culatello.
    Toast in the oven briefly, cut in half, devour.

  55. #55 |  A Critic | 

    Try this before judging it: Gingersnaps (best if homemade) + blue cheese (best if the best, I like Roquefort) + pomegranate kernels.

  56. #56 |  KristenS | 

    Sutton Place Gourmet, which is now called Balducci’s. They had a sandwich called a Napoleon, and if you’re lucky and get a long-time employee at the deli, they might remember how to make it (Balducci’s doesn’t have it on their menu).

    Anyway. Chewy, crusty baguette. Sliced turkey breast. Brie. Lettuce. Tomato. Sweet-hot mustard (the kind that gives you a horseradish kick in your nose). Voila. One sandwich would last me for two meals, which was good since I was a poor college student when Sutton Place existed.

  57. #57 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Learn to make bearnaise sauce in a blender. When cooled, it makes an ambrosial sandwich spread … although you do tend to hear your arteries hardening.

    I got my recipe from The Vincent Price TREASURY OF GREAT RECIPES, but secondhand copies start off at $40+. The internet has no shortage of recipe sites, though. Just don’t skimp on the shallots.

  58. #58 |  Salvo | 

    Slow’s BBQ in Detroit, Michigan: Triple Threat Pork Sandwich. Pulled pork, ham, and bacon on a kaiser roll. Add one (or more than one, if you want) of several barbecue sauces. If I could have one of these every day, it would be a wonderful, if not very short, life.

  59. #59 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    After about 10 years of BBQ pit “mastering” and catering and a couple thousand sandwiches, my favorite is the following:
    1. Sliced “Bottom” beef brisket and hot pork sausage (equal amounts of each).

    2. Coleslaw on top.

    3. Barely any BBQ sauce.

    4. Bun: Buttered and grilled Texas toast.

    Why? The bottom of the brisket is a lean cut (fatty top section is fatty) and holds the most smoke flavor. But, you need some heat, fat and juice, which is where the sausage comes in. In Texas, get some Elgin sausage and you’re done. Coleslaw on BBQ is as old-timey as hanging an onion off your belt. I don’t believe in BBQ sauce–it covers up for bad BBQ. It’s like soaking $15 salmon sushi in soy sauce so saturated with wasabi that you can’t taste the delicate buttery-taste of the salmon. But just a dash bridges the gap between the meat and the slaw. If I have to eat a BBQ samitch, THIS is the only one worth eating.

    All brisket or all sausage sandwiches just miss (IMHO) on the complex flavor profile. I tried to get the guys at KC Rib Shack in Manchester to make this and they couldn’t figure it out. Sometimes you get people who can do a special order and sometimes you get people who hate their job.

    Hall of Fame Sandwiches (not in order):
    1. Muffaletta
    2. Cuban
    3. Beef/Sausage/Slaw BBQ

  60. #60 |  Wrongway1965 | 

    I’ve eaten many a extraordinary sandwich in my travels.. El Paso, Sante Fe, Roach Coach in L.A. @ 3:30am.. but the Most Epic Sandwich Ever Made Is in my near Future.. Cuz when I get off of here.. I don’t know whats in that Frig, but its fair game.. Huzzah!! Unleash the Hounds!!.. with mustard..

  61. #61 |  Eric | 

    Oh, man. I love sandwiches so much that I am not sure where to start.

    Best Fast Food Sandwich Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever: Zinger Tower Burger at KFCs in England. Bun, chicken, lettuce, zinger sauce, tomato, mayo, and a bun-sized hash brown patty. The absolute number 1 best food after a night of drinking. I still dream of it sometimes.

    Best variation on a club: the smoked salmon club at Park Grill in Millennium Park, Chicago. Smoked salmon, red onion, capers, and fancy mayo on pumpernickel bread.

    Best regional WTF sandwich: the Horseshoe in mid/downstate Illinois. Available in the finest dive bars. Toasted white bread with a hamburger patty on top. Covered with french fries and then drowned in homemade thick nacho cheese-esque sauce to cover the whole plate. Served open faced because really who could pick something like that up?

    Most surprising place for a good Cuban: TaTa Cuban Cafe in downtown Indianapolis. Right across from the statehouse, and reliably good. Served with fried plantains.

    Best I-Found-It-On-The-Web sandwich: the Marlboro Man sandwich from Pioneer Woman, with cube steak, veggies and cheese baked on a toasted hoagie. Make one today: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/marlboro_mans_f/

    Best Sandwich Invented by my Wife: smoked salmon, cucumber slices, roasted red peppers, and cream cheese on a sliced baguette. Simple and delicious.

    Best Italian Beef in Chicago: Portillo’s. Everybody wants to tell you about this hole in the wall joint that they know where the REAL best Italian Beef may be found. But there’s a reason every Portillo’s is gigantic and perpetually full. They have it mastered.

    Best oven grinder: Garibaldi’s in suburban Chicago (Arlington Heights or Hoffman Estates). Get a beef grinder with sweet peppers and cheese. Order a slice of pizza and a frozen Italian lemonade while you are at it. After our nearest one of these closed, we have made the 45 minute trek to the next closest one at least a few times a year. We are never disappointed.

    Best not-technically-a-sandwich sandwich: Gyro. From any place that has the big meat thingee slowly turning on its spit, but NOT from any place that buys it pre-sliced. Get it fully dressed with the sliced onion and tomato and tzatziki. I always enjoy eating it, and I always feel the pain afterwards for the rest of the day and swear it is my last time being fooled by that sweet sweet gyro meat.

    Best sandwich in St. Louis MO: the Philly Beef at Seamus McDaniel’s in Dogtown. Soft bun, sliced beef, green peppers and onions, too much cream cheese to fit on the bun, and gravy. Order it with gravy rather than au jus (this is imperative). And ask for extra napkins (this is too).

    Best regional specialty: the Po-boy, either with catfish or shrimp. Narrowly edging out the philly cheesesteak, the lobster roll, and Primanti Brothers, you just can’t beat a good po-boy.

    Sandwiches are the best.

  62. #62 |  ClubMedSux | 

    As a Chicagoan, I don’t think it gets any better than an Italian beef. I love my Chicago-style pizza and my Chicago hot dogs, but when I was living out in Colorado during grad school, the first thing I got when I would come home to Chicago was a beef sandwich. How the rest of the country (the world?) gets by without giardiniera (the greatest condiment known to man) is beyond my comprehension.

    Outside of my beloved Italian beef, the greatest sandwich I ever had was purchased in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and I’m still not sure exactly what it was. It was a maybe-two-inch-thick hunk of meat that was long like bacon but a little meatier like a porkchop. I would guess pork belly but it wasn’t nearly as fatty as the pork belly I’ve had. Whatever it was, I found it at a little deli and got it with some mustard on a fresh roll and it was heaven on earth.

  63. #63 |  Tommy | 

    The best was the Torpedo from Gene’s in Westhampton Beach, NY on Montauk Highway (closed in the 1980’s). Can’t remember the exact fillings but it was a heated Italian sub with melted mozzarella.

  64. #64 |  Carl | 

    My favorite is the Lonestar BLT from “Hey, You Gonna Eat Or What?” in Austin Texas. It’s a BLT with thick applewood smoked bacon and fried green tomatoes with a poblano pepper aioli on a ciabatta baguette. He also makes a mean Shiner Bock beer battered Monte Cristo with cherry-fig jelly.

    This is a food truck at South Congress & Gibson. My mouth is now watering… I need to back to Austin!

  65. #65 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    @41, GAC:
    I just got that semi-giddy feeling of “Hey, somebody on the interwebs from my neck of the woods!” Good choice on the BBQ sandwich; Wink’s has the best one that I know of (and I include the whole Lexington barbecue juggernaut in that assessment).

  66. #66 |  Charlie O | 

    Radley, you have obviously never visited White House subs in Atlantic City, NJ. BEST ITALIAN SUB ever. Try a Roast Pork with sharp provolone at Tony Luke’s in South Philly as well. Cheese steaks are over rated.

  67. #67 |  pierre | 

    Fatty pastrami on Rye. No other ingredients necessary but spicy brown mustard.


    Otherwise, my favorite sub is pretty boring I guess,

    (on good french bread) Roast beef, lettuce, onion, black olives, mayo, Japanese rice vineager and olive oil.

  68. #68 |  pierre | 

    Oh snap, I just thought of Banh Mi…

    Baguette, bbq pork or beef, Do Chau (pickled dikon and carrot), fresh jalapenos, and liver pate mayo.

  69. #69 |  A.G. Pym | 

    The long-unavailable ostrich burger at the late, lamented “Baron’s Beef and Brew” in Richland, WA. *sigh*

    At the time, we had a couple of certificated ostrich and emu slaughterhouses to serve the burgeoning population of big bird farmers hereabouts, but sadly, they both were forced out of business from increasing regulation and oversignt actions once the markets became profitable.

  70. #70 |  B | 

    The Torta Cubana (=/= “Cuban sandwich”) at the Super Taqueria on Roxboro Road in Durham, NC, is transcendent.

    Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ, is the best sandwich microchain you’ve probably never heard of.

    The greatest sandwich idea I’ve come across in the last few years is the addition of kimchi and garlic mayonnaise to a grilled cheese sandwich. Best accomplished with sharp cheddar and marble rye. Washed down with copious amounts of beer.

  71. #71 |  Greg Beaman | 

    While on a research assignment in the Netherlands, my friend Richard Dijkgraaff and I took a day-trip to the city of Delft to visit the tomb of William the Silent, Prince of Orange and to drink reasonable quantities of local beer. Once we arrived in Delft, we stopped for a sandwich while waiting for the Sunday church service to conclude. After satisfying our historical interest in the tomb, we continued with the beer portion of our journey. We then hopped the train to Den Haag. As we arrived in Den Haag, the effects of the beer on my memory became apparent when I proposed we stop for lunch. Richard informed me that we had already had lunch. With mock outrage, I screamed, “Let’s have a sandwich!” We both rolled with laughter. Throughout the day and night, from city to city, from train to train, and finally back to Leiden, our home base, we insisted on having sandwich after sandwich. To this day, Richard & I will share transatlantic messages of “Let’s have a sandwich!” just to keep the memory alive.

  72. #72 |  Richard dijkgraaff | 


  73. #73 |  jb | 

    • Only one time have I been in Vail, Colorado; passing through on the drive between Denver and LA. We stopped for a short break to stretch our legs and during the walk realized we were pretty hungry. We didn’t have much time so we stopped into a deli for sandwiches to go. I ordered the Hot Pastrami. We didn’t open our lunch until back in the car. Once back on the highway I was finally able to bite into my sandwich. With the first bite I realized I had one of those memorable meals that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The Hot pastrami was tender and moist, the sandwich almost squired juices, and yet the roll was still crunchy and toasty. The sandwich was laced with a terrific horseradish based sauce that I’ve copied for many of my own pastrami creations. Regretfully I was already far enough down the highway to make turning around for another sandwich impractical. I hope someday to get back to that Deli. I think the name was Joe’s famous Deli and Homemade Ice Cream. If I recall correctly it was down a flight of stairs into a basement.
    • In Fullerton (and Tustin, and Orange) Ca. there is a restaurant named Rutabegorz. They serve a Cream Cheese and Black Olive sandwich on Squaw bread. Sounds disgusting, but absolutely satisfying, and though simple, it is rich with flavor. Rutabegorz is a quasi-health food almost vegetarian restaurant. The Cream Cheese and Black olive sandwich is as rich and satisfying as any sandwich I’ve ever tasted.
    • Slater’s 50/50 is a restaurant in Anaheim Hills (and Huntington Beach) Ca. that serves up a peanut butter and jelly hamburger. Their burgers are fat, juicy and generally come standard with bacon. They are famous for the peanut butter and jelly variation. Who knew!?! They serve the burger with a modest amount of peanut butter and jelly so as to not overwhelm the integrity of the burger itself. The peanut butter adds a perfect nutty unctuousness to the burger and the jelly acts to sweetly balance the heaviness of the butter. Very tasty.
    • At home, when I want to whip up a very quick, easy and tasty sandwich I start with a tablespoon of coconut oil in a hot pan. I crack two eggs into the pan and let sit for about one minute, long enough for the whites to begin cooking. Then I scramble the eggs in the pan and continue stirring and cooking until the eggs are just not runny; that is, pretty underdone by most standards. I pile the scramble onto a slice of lightly toasted sour dough that has been liberally spread with mayonnaise, sprinkle on about one table spoon of finely chopped green onion, salt and pepper and top with another slice of toasted sour dough. Eggs cooked with coconut oil are very tasty. The coconut oil imparts a round nutty flavor to the eggs that is not unlike truffle oil, only better. The green onion brings some zing into what would otherwise be a simple scrambled egg sandwich and the mayonnaise; well, what can one say, mayonnaise is semi-liquid bacon. I can make this sandwich in a matter of four minutes, cold pan to plate.
    • At home, when I want to whip up a more involved sandwich I go for the open faced Croque Madame. My Croque Madame is a variation on the French. I start with a slice of sour dough spread liberally with mayonnaise, next is piled multiple undulated layers of thinly sliced black forest ham. The ham is topped with slices of gruyere cheese so as to completely cover the sliced ham. The whole thing is placed under a hot broiler until the cheese is literally bubbling. While the sandwich is in the broiler I pan fry two over-easy eggs. The hot sandwich is removed from the broiler, plated and the two over-easy eggs are placed on top. Salt and pepper to taste. I think this sandwich has about 3,000 calories. It is as rich as cake and ice cream and is the most decadent sandwich I have ever known.
    • I’m a sucker for a Monte-Cristo and will always try where ever one is served.

  74. #74 |  jb | 

    The sweetest words my wife says to me are, “Would you like a sandwich?” Then I know she loves me.

  75. #75 |  how | 

    If anyone is ever in NYC, and you can make it out to Brooklyn and you love sandwiches, then you MUST GO HERE: http://www.lioniheroes.com/hero_menu.html

    Lioni supplies many restaurants in NYC with their housemade fresh mozzerella, and they make the SICKEST SANDWICHES.

  76. #76 |  drewby | 

    Rueben sandwich at obsessions cafe in Waimea (Kauai) Hawaii.
    About an inch of shredded brisket cooked to perfection.
    Tell the owner Dennis that Drew sent you!

    Teddy’s bigger burger Pearle city Hawaii.

  77. #77 |  KBCraiKBCraiggKBCraig | 

    I forgot to mention one of my favorite hangover cures, which I discovered at the Fussgangerplatz in Fulda: a pickled herring sandwich on a Kaiser-style bun with crisp red onion slices. It’s more a northern coast of Germany speciality, but I discovered at that little walk-up window in Hessen, right when I desperately needed it.

    My wife thinks I’m both disgusting and crazy for liking bagels with cream cheese and herring in white wine sauce with onions. That’s as close as I can come to that delicacy I found in Fulda.

  78. #78 |  Greg Beaman | 

    Also, the hot sausage poboy, dressed, at the Louisiana Discount Center on Louisiana Avenue in New Orleans.

  79. #79 |  Pete | 

    On my deathbed, or my last meal should I end up unlucky and in Texas, I will request a banh mi from Saigon Banh Mi in Chinatown (NYC). It is heavenly, the perfectly savory, chewy pork, crisp veggies, etc. Exclusive balance, tremendous flavor.

    One of my recent creations is peanut butter, green apple (sliced thin) and sriracha on wheat. If you like all of those things separately, they’re dynamite together.

    I hope no one will begrudge me a bit of shilling. I blog about sandwiches, and only sandwiches, at http://onsandwiches.wordpress.com . We endeavor to be enthusiasts, not critics, and it is my hope that fellow enthusiasts will enjoy the discourse.

  80. #80 |  yonemoto | 

    Radley – next time you’re in the DC area, try Crisp And Juicy’s in north arlington. But really my super-secret favorite is a place called the Lennox Deli, about 2 miles from the pentagon. They make an amazing sandwich called the “washingtonian” which is a roast beef sandwich with melted brie.

  81. #81 |  bacchys | 

    I had the perfect sandwich about ten years ago at a place called the Tiber River Tavern in Ellicott City, MD. It was a “Black and Blue” sandwich: Angus roast beef with caramelized onions and blue cheese crumbles on their homemade bread.

    It was incredible.

    Unfortunately, the place closed up before I could have a second one…

  82. #82 |  Kathleen | 

    I’m a southern girl so I have to do a shout out to a few places in the South:

    Best club sandwich was oddly enough at a BBQ joint called Burnt Fork BBQ in Decatur, GA. Homemade bread, bacon is cured in-house, with turkey smoked in-house, homemade mayo and all the trimmings. If you like Cajun, the best crawfish po’boy is at PoBoy Factory in Huntsville, AL.
    Leon’s Full Service in Decatur makes a mean softshell crab sandwich, too.

    But, my favorite all-time sandwich is a homemade BLT made by yours truly. Berkshire pork bacon, heirloom tomatoes from the garden, and some arugula, on a homemade onion cheddar roll. Toast the bread in the oven, add some homemade remoulade to that bad boy, and you’re set. Mmmm…sandwiches.

  83. #83 |  Daniel | 

    Darrell’s in Lake Charles Louisiana. Great bread, Jalapeno mayonnaise, and appropriate dive bar setting.