Making a Winning Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I saw an advertisement for GrilledCheeseAcademy.com, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s wonderful site devoted to the grilled cheese sandwich. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to enter a recipe in the their contest for the Best Grilled Cheese sandwich, not just for a chance at the $15,000 Grand Prize, but also as a thought experiment about what makes something the best. The previous year’s winners are amazingly creative and let me know immediately that I was up against extremely challenging competition.

Here are some of the winners and contender recipe that are especially admirable.

http://www.grilledcheeseacademy.com/recipe/bardot - 2014 Bronze (3rd Place) and my favorite!

http://www.grilledcheeseacademy.com/recipe/bardot - 2014 Bronze (3rd Place) and my favorite!

All of these sandwiches convey an experience or a memory and are absolutely within the top tier of all sandwich. There is one very important point though, which I noticed rather quickly. These are not Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in the strictest sense of the word, but advanced melts that happen to prominently feature cheese. This did get me to thinking about the definition that I feel has the strongest philosophical backing on the internet, which is this user’s “meltdown” on the subreddit /r/grilledcheese.

“A grilled cheese consists of only these following items. Cheese. Bread with spread (usually butter). This entire subreddit consist of "melts". Almost every "grilled cheese" sandwich i see on here has other items added to it. The fact that this subreddit is called "grilledcheese" is nothing short of utter blasphemy. Let me start out by saying I have nothing against melts, I just hate their association with sandwiches that are not grilled cheeses. Adding cheese to your tuna sandwich? It's called a Tuna melt. Totally different. Want to add bacon and some pretentious bread crumbs with spinach? I don't know what the hell you'd call that but it's not a grilled cheese. I would be more than willing to wager I've eaten more grilled cheeses in my 21 years than any of you had in your entire lives. I have one almost everyday and sometimes more than just one sandwich. Want to personalize your grilled cheese? Use a mix of different cheeses or use sourdough or french bread. But if you want to add some pulled pork and take a picture of it, make your own subreddit entitled "melts" because that is not a fucking grilled cheese. I'm not a religious man nor am I anything close to a culinary expert. But as a bland white mid-western male I am honestly the most passionate person when it comes to grilled cheese and mac & cheese. All of you foodies stay the hell away from our grilled cheeses and stop associating your sandwich melts with them. Yet again, it is utter blasphemy and it rocks me to the core of my pale being. Shit, I stopped lurking after 3 years and made this account for the sole purpose of posting this. I've seen post after post of peoples "grilled cheeses" all over reddit and it's been driving me insane. The moment i saw this subreddit this morning I finally snapped. Hell, I may even start my own subreddit just because I know this one exists now.

You god damn heretics. Respect the grilled cheese and stop changing it into whatever you like and love it for it what it is. Or make your damn melt sandwich and call it for what it is. A melt.”

https://www.reddit.com/r/grilledcheese/comments/2or1p3/you_people_make_me_sick/

His outburst really did get me thinking about the Grilled Cheese Academy contest and its winners. Most of these ingeniously designed sandwiches hardly feature cheese at all, relegating it to a mere ingredient or structural tool. With the All-American, the winner of the 2016 contest, the real core that makes the recipe so fantastic is the churro bread combined with the apples.  The sandwich then uses the mascarpone and cheddar to tip a hat to the Vermont tradition of apple pie a la mode with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. This is no longer a grilled cheese sandwich, but a deconstructed apple pie, with a grilled cheese delivery context. In short, as the author from Reddit so passionately argued, it is a melt.

Now in any general sandwich contest, I would feel that a melt like the All American should be a shoe-in for victory. It’s delicious, American, creative, and it mixes genres seamlessly, much like the classic movie Casablanca. But I would ask the following question:

“Is the cheese the core ingredient of this sandwich, the standout flavor, the thing you notice most?”

I would have to say no, it is not, and because of that, this is not a grilled cheese sandwich. To use a comparative situation in the world of sandwiches, I would invite you to ponder the cheeseburger for a moment while we explore the boundaries of sandwich types. I believe that the hamburger has a particularly strong identity that many people resonate with easily. This identity is so powerful that no matter how much cheese we could hypothetically add to a hamburger, even if we were to replace the bun with a fried cheese (which is amazing by the way), people would still consider it a type of hamburger or cheeseburger.

It is this thought that our friend on Reddit sought to convey when providing a distinction between a Grilled Cheese and a Melt. The author on /r/grilledcheese is clearly more of a purist than I am, as I would welcome any ingredient into a grilled cheese as long as it accented or improved the overall identity of the cheese. An example would be the practice of adding walnuts or cherry jam to a melted brie between two slices of toast. These accent flavors are very commonly paired with baked brie, and serve primarily to increase the gloriousness of the cheese. In addition to taste, there comes the practice of adding ingredients to provide texture as well. Velveeta and American “Cheese”, both very common selections for a grilled cheese sandwich, aren’t actually cheeses at all, but a mixture of milk solids and cheese that is supremely meltable and delicious.

The core argument presented here is that melted cheese must be the core of the sandwich, and grilled bread (or an otherwise appropriate exterior shell, such as a graham cracker or possibly two portabello mushrooms) must be the delivery vehicle for it to achieve an identity as a grilled cheese sandwich. Of course, now that I determined this, the previous recipes I came up with for the Grilled Cheese Academy Contest were no longer valid in my own eyes. They will no doubt be excellent to consume, but they are far too distracting and uncheesy to qualify in my heart. I will present the designs below, simply so they are not lost forever.


Farmhouse Club Melt

(NOTE: A similar sandwich already of won a prize)

  1. Turkey

  2. Maple Bourbon Pepper Bacon

  3. Avocado

  4. 5 yr Sharp White Cheddar

  5. Pickled Cherries

  6. Brioche (3 Slices)


Cheese Plate Sandwich

Third #1 NOTE: (Sandwich is sliced in thirds on long thick wheat bread)

  • Prosciutto
  • Melon
  • Burrata

Third #2

  • Balsamic Vinegar Soaked Strawberries
  • ⅔ Goat Cheese mixed with ⅓ Mascarpone
  • Basil

Third #3

  • Honey covered Wine Soaked Grapes
  • Brie
  • Walnuts

Midnight Ride

  1. Slow Roasted Short Ribs
  2. Grated Sharp White Cheddar
  3. Horseradish Yogurt Spread
  4. Pickled Ginger / Cauliflower
  5. Sweet Chili Sauce
  6. French Roll

I proceeded to then create a 4th entry, one that I felt would honor the true spirit of the Grilled Cheese, and would be universally accepted by enthusiasts everywhere. I wanted to put as much creativity into a simple sandwich as I could, to conduct a stage performance around the cheese,

 

Symphony

I. One slice white sandwich bread, rubbed on both sides with pressed Garlic and Butter.

Ii. One slice white sandwich bread, rubbed on both sides with diced Shallots and Butter.

Iii. Grated Parmesan, fried onto the outsides of both slices of bread.

IV. Stone ground sharp Mustard, on the inside of the shallot bread slice

V. Rosemary aioli, on the inside of the garlic bread slice

VI. Grated Manchego Curado - for its nutty elegance

VII. Shredded Fresh Mozzarella - for la creme, it’s irreplaceable texture

VIII. Grated of 5 Year Sharp Wisconsin White Cheddar - for richness and bite

IX. Fresh ground Black Pepper

X. Panini grilled in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This sandwich easily should fit in the classification of a Grilled Cheese. Instead of focusing on fancy non-cheese ingredients, it is simply bread, cheese, with a few accents. Together the cheeses in this sandwich form a symphony, each with a distinctive voice. The spice selections are specifically paired to match  with the appropriate cheese. The mustard adds a spark of sour amid the fat; it cuts through the whole sandwich like a knife and waltz with the sharpness of the cheddar. Garlic and shallots are natural companions of mozzarella. The three can flawlessly complement one another in nearly any dish. The black pepper and rosemary are most at home with the Manchego, a delightful Spanish style cheese that becomes spicier as it ages. It has a fruity essence that is brought out by the flowery rosemary. The real trick was finding a cheese that could go on the outside of the sandwich to give it a cheesy crust, while maintaining its identity. For that only Parmesan would do. The olive oil selected as the cooking fat is meant to both rehydrate the crispy toasted Parmesan exterior, while imparting a light earthy flavor onto the entire sandwich.

winning-grilled-cheese-sandwich

It is this sandwich that I humbly submit as entry for the contest, and to the world as the finest Grilled Cheese I have ever conceived.

The Elvis Sandwich and the Fool's Gold Loaf

Story has it that Elvis was on his Graceland property, drinking with Captain Jerry Kennedy, a Denver native. Some alcohol had been consumed, tales were being told, and somehow the Fool’s Gold Loaf from the Colorado Mine Company in Denver became the focus of conversation. The sandwich contained the following:

  • 1 loaf of French Bread
  • 1 Jar of Blueberry Preserves
  • 1 Jar of Peanut Butter
  • 1 pound of Bacon
  • Generous helpings of margarine

A Collection of Wonderful Sandwich Videos

If you are a lover of sandwiches, you likely have a great time watching videos of sandwiches being made on the internet. Here are a few particularly excellent videos that you cannot help but enjoy. 

The first one is a sandwich recreation from Adventure Time, filmed and constructed by the fantastic Binging with Babish. 

Adventure Time is one of the best children oriented cartoons created in the last decade and Jake the Dog is one of the main characters. He has a deep love of sandwiches and this is his masterpiece. 


Our next sandwich video is from Food Wishes, by Chef John. He is one of the most enthusiastic people making videos on the internet, and they are always a joy to watch. 

This grilled cheese opened my eyes to the world of creative cooking. The concept of cheesing the outside edges of your sandwich is a good one, and it results in a unique texture that you will love. You should make one of these right now. 


Sometimes people like making things harder than they need to be. We are blessed by an amazing system of agricultural production and food storage that allows us to buy food for next to nothing in a grocery store. However, I will not assault the dreams of the stubborn visionary who wants to do everything themselves, including making a chicken sandwich entirely from scratch. 

This is a 12 part video that goes over every aspect in detail, with 2 additional videos that go over flavor and a summary of the project. You can gain a lot of insight into how far we have come as a society by watching this man make a sandwich. 


This is one of the more obscene and wonderful sandwich videos on the internet. Action Bronson, a very entertaining character chef and rapper, essentially gets really high on camera and makes a delicious sandwich. 

Even if you aren't one to partake in all of the ingredients used in the creation of this video, Action Bronson's philosophy of sandwich making is right on the money. This recipe called for recreational indulgences, a glass of wine, a leisurely stroll through the garden, and the import of an incredibly rare jam made from the leftovers of a wine barrel. This is how sandwiches were meant to be made, as an fun event with friends, innovation in materials, and with a tasty end product. 


Adam Richman has created one of the most interesting TV challenges of all time, the quest for the Greatest Sandwich in America. You can learn more about it here - Wikipedia Link - the short version is that he sought out the most amazing sandwich artists in America and staged a rousing contest to see who had the most talent. 

Final Bite: The Yardbird

In the championship finale, Brian Perrone makes Adam a Yardbird sandwich.

(You need to click through to watch this, it doesn't embed well)

The Yardbird was definitely one of the most unique sandwiches in the competition and its creation is so whimsical that it is no surprise that it was one of the final contenders. 

Is the Hot Dog a Sandwich?

Hot dogs easily pass the "sandwich test" as they have an exterior shell (hot dog bun), an interior core (hot dog and toppings), they are designed to be held by the human hand, and finally you can poke a needle through a hot dog and first hit the bun, then the hot dog sausage, then the bun again. The definitive answer is yes, a hot dog is a sandwich.

Where did the Sandwich Come From?

This origin story of the sandwich has been shared and repeated so many times that few people know the actual truth behind food structure we call the sandwich. John Montagu, while an integral aspect to the popularization and naming of the object in question, did not in fact invent the idea of putting meat between bread. Like many other great historical inventions, the first sandwich originated in China around 200 BC, nearly 2000 years prior to Montagu. Today it is called the Rou Jia Mo, which loosely translates to “Meat Between Bread”. It typically involves a very simple bread comprising flour, water, and yeast with a slow cooked pork belly filling that has been heavily spiced. 

Visual Sandwich Ingredient Project

It can be complex to visualize how sandwich ingredients work together. I am embarking on a new project to find images of the building blocks we use when making sandwiches. All of the ingredients that I collect for this effort can be found under the Ingredients tab at the top of the site. 

Here are some of the examples I have taken so far. This is an ongoing process that will take quite a bit of time to complete. The goal of this project will be to transform a recipe from this:

-----------------------

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter

Grape Jelly

Sliced White Bread

Preparation:

Take two slices of white bread and lay on a flat surface.

Using a butter knife, spread approximately 2 tablespoons of peanut butter onto one slice of bread. 

Using a teaspoon, spread approximately 4 teaspoons of jelly onto the remaining slice of bread. 

Combine the two slices of bread and cut in half diagonally. 

-----------------------

Into this:

-----------------------

Bread
Peanut Butter
Jam
Peanut Butter and Jelly

-----------------------

It is still perfectly fine to use text to describe sandwich recipes, this approach is solely for fun! Visual imagery tells a deeper and more connected story when it comes to sandwiches. Eventually this will be added into a Sandwich Profile that will allow enthusiasts to explore the core aspects that define and separate different types of sandwiches. 

Write here...

The S in September is Sandwiches

Subway is the largest franchise on earth. There are over 44,000 locations in 110 countries, so it's suffice to say, Subway is a serious sandwich system. This year, Subway is selling any of their footlong sandwiches for just $6 apiece. I am taking this opportunity to use their promotion to its fullest and will catalog my favorite sandwiches here. 

First on the list is what I feel to be the optimal version of their new Turkey Italiano Melt. Let's see what Subway is capable of outputting. 

Here is my core ingredient list for this creation. 

  • Bread: Honey Oat
  • Meat: Turkey, Salami, and Pepperoni
  • Cheese: Mozzarella

Following the selection of these ingredients, it is important to request this be toasted, Extra. 

The next step is to add some more delicious ingredients. 

In this order

  1. Lettuce
  2. Mayonnaise
  3. Subway Vinaigrette
  4. Green Peppers, Extra
  5. Onions, Extra
  6. Black Olives
  7. Salt and Pepper
  8. Oregano
  9. Parmesan

Let's go over exactly why we would choose to make this sandwich in this way. Nothing ever happens for a single reason. Starting with the bread, Honey Oat was selected because it is the most flavorful and substantial of Subway's options. The Italiano Melt contains Pepperoni, Salami and Turkey as its meats, and these three are some of Subway's most delicious options. It's important to choose meats with strong flavor that supplement each other well and don't interfere with each other. Pepperoni is a spicy and greasy, Turkey is a lean and juicy, and Salami is savory and hearty. 

We add mozzarella to the mix for the purpose of providing a chewy texture as well tying together the meats structurally with the remaining ingredients. Next we add mayonnaise and Subway Vinaigrette to lettuce to form a significant, flavorful section. Lettuce is truly excellent for holding sauces, it has few peers in this capacity. 

With this alone, we have formed the base rhythm of this sandwich, all other ingredients are finishing touches on the symphony. I chose to add black olives to include a strong, rich flavor that goes very well with Salami and Pepperoni. I followed up with Green Peppers and Onions for crisp and crunch, and to add a touch of freshness to the recipe. 

The salt and pepper, oregano, and Parmesan add spice, earthiness, and a bit of salt to cut through straight to the top.  I made this sandwich today and enjoyed it considerably, I would eat it again. For $6 it is an incredible deal, and I am excited to see if I can make a better sandwich than this. Happy Sandwich September everyone!

Sources: http://www.franchisedirect.com/top100globalfranchises/rankings/

The Big McWhopper

Today Burger King released their marketing campaign for what they call, the "McWhopper". As an avid sandwich enthusiast and frequent consumer of both the Big Mac and the Whopper, I decided to have some fun with this announcement.

Big Mac

Big Mac

Whopper

Whopper

I decided to make one and see if it was worth any of the hype. I am blessed by the fact that both Burger King and McDonalds have locations across the street from one another in Red Oak, Iowa. 

FULL DISCLOSURE: I don't eat products with tomatoes in them, so my version of the McWhopper is lacking in Tomatoes, Ketchup, and McDonald's Secret Sauce.

onesandwichmap

I decided to create the McWhopper for lunch. This may be one of the first McWhopper's consumed in America, so this is a potentially momentous occasion. I assembled it in the same fashion to how Burger King described the sandwich. Burger King is mildly deceptive with their photos however, as they use the lower section of the Big Mac (the portion with a slice of American Cheese), but they use the top bun. This required a small amount of sandwich maneuvering, but was relatively simple to figure out. 

McWhopper or the Big McWhopper

McWhopper or the Big McWhopper

I must admit, I enjoyed eating this sandwich. It should be noted however, that both Burger King and McDonald's make similar versions of each other's sandwiches so this entire campaign is a bit disingenuous on the part of Burger King. The fact that Burger King makes the Big King means they could make their own McWhopper any time they wanted. 

Picture from http://www.bk.com/menu/burgers

Picture from http://www.bk.com/menu/burgers

Back to the sandwich. It was actually really good. I hate to be the bearer bad news for Burger King however, because the McWhopper was not noticeably different from the Big Mac. The meat quality was very even between the two sandwiches, and the bun consistency is effectively the same. So, if you like the Big Mac, you'll like the McWhopper and it certainly is a fun novelty to combine the two. 

As mentioned earlier, there is a small amount of sandwich maneuvering to be done to make this, and if you continue reading you will understand. Bear in mind that McDonald's structures the Big Mac in a certain way for a reason, and this construction method does change how the whole sandwich tastes. 

The bottom core section (where the meat and vegetables are) generally contains sauce mixed with lettuce, then cheese, then the patty. McDonald's does this to get a bit of tang onto your tongue, and then coat your mouth with the cheese to create a great first impression.

Next is a beef patty and it is topped with onions for a bit of texture. McDonald's then uses another bottom bun (which are typically spongier than the top buns by a small margin) and the upper core section begins. The upper core starts with the sauce and lettuce mixture, but instead of a slice of American Cheese, there are a few pickles. This ingredient shift helps make the Big Mac an experience as you eat it, which is wonderful.

The top of the burger again has onions for texture.

What is interesting about the burger proposed by Burger King is that they make it appear as if they just placed the top bun, upper core, and middle bun on top of an open-faced Whopper, but they did not.

Instead, they have swapped cores, and are using the bottom core on top of the Whopper. You can see what's gone on by looking at these images.

 

I am certain that the lack of sauce affects the overall flavor of the sandwich, but I don't think it in any way invalidates the review. The overall point from the post dealt with the fact that even without sauce, this basically tasted like a Big Mac. If you included sauce in the McWhopper, this could only be more true, not less.

I don't think this is worth the time of McDonald's to consider in their marketing plan though, and I think their idea to do something more meaningful for peace is a great idea.

The CEO of McDonald's already rejected the idea here. 

https://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUS?brand_redir=10150097174480584

I studied International Security and Conflict Resolution in college, and Sandwich Diplomacy was something that came up frequently in my lessons. It was only recently that a country with a McDonald's in it, (Russia) had invaded another (Ukraine). 

The Supreme Court Of Sandwiches

In 2004, a shopping mall in Massachusetts decided to sign a contract with a Mexican food franchise chain named Qdoba. An existing Panera Bread, a popular sandwich and soup franchise chain had exclusive rights at that mall to serve “sandwiches”. Panera objected to the deal with Qdoba, and sued in Superior Court claiming that a burrito was essentially a type of sandwich.

  iMage Credit- Panera and Qdoba

 

iMage Credit- Panera and Qdoba

Qdoba contacted their parent company, Jack in the Box, and the case was a drawn out battle with food experts, chefs, and legal experts racing to determine whether a burrito was in fact a type of sandwich. The argument made by Panera’s lawyer was that the Earl of Sandwich, the legendary “inventor” of the sandwich, would have considered anything that was bread wrapped around meat a sandwich. Qdoba argued strongly that people just don’t “feel” that burritos are a sandwich.

Pictured: Antonin Scalia, faulty Sandwich judge, Image Credit: Wikipedia

Pictured: Antonin Scalia, faulty Sandwich judge, Image Credit: Wikipedia

Food experts stated that the tortilla was not an appropriate bread product for making a sandwich, and that a burrito was a dramatically different food item. Qdoba eventually won their case, and Panera was given the opportunity to appeal which they declined. This is when the case became interesting. Antonin Scalia, one of the senior justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, noticed this case and decided to put it in his book on important court decisions. The title of the section was “Important Decisions sometimes come in small packages”. Antonin Scalia fully supported the decision made by the Superior Court Judge, and stated himself that he believed that Panera’s claim was ridiculous.  I refuse the basic premise that an expert may simply state that he or she, “does not think something should be”. A decision as important as this one needs to be determined via rigorous testing and with a carefully crafted model.

 

It is actually rather interesting that in construction engineering and materials science, there already exists a concept known as “Sandwich Theory”. These fine scientists, engineers, and gentlemen have done some incredible work in defining sandwiches. They use a similar definition to mine, and determined that anything with a layer on top, a material in the middle, and a layer on bottom can be defined as a sandwich. Connectivity between these layers is completely irrelevant, as long as they can be observed performing their structural duty. 

Below are two cross sections of a standard sandwich and of a burrito. You will notice that other than the thickness of the bread, which matters not as long as its function is fulfilled, they are quite similar. 

 

http://scanwiches.com/image/71024542646  

http://scanwiches.com/image/71024542646
 

https://www.reddit.com/r/FoodPorn/comments/2sow62/cross_section_of_a_chicken_burrito_from_a_local/

https://www.reddit.com/r/FoodPorn/comments/2sow62/cross_section_of_a_chicken_burrito_from_a_local/

Sources:

1. On Burritos, Sandwiches and the Law - http://parkerhiggins.net/2012/09/on-burritos-sandwiches-and-the-law/

2. Sandwich Concept - http://www.carmas.com.ar/DOWN/DIVINYCELL/HBook.pdf

One Sandwich

 

Sandwiches are serious business. Between the rivalries among New York Pastrami Delis, the economic impact of the Big Mac Index and the fiery debate over which hamburger chain is best, it is perfectly clear that people care quite a bit about sandwiches. This book seeks to explore and analyze the different types of sandwiches in a clear and concise manner. Upon closing the final page, it is my sincere hope that you will have a solid understanding of the vast sandwich landscape, as well as a deeper connection to the beautiful world of sandwich artistry.

pastramisandwich

 

Let’s begin with a simple question:

“What is a Sandwich?”

In general, a sandwich is a constructed item containing of multiple layers of food. There are a few basic requirements for the layers, and it helps to use consistent terminology. A sandwich follows this basic structure.

Exterior Shell

Interior Core

Exterior Shell

Depositphotos_45662797_original.jpg

 

The exterior shell must be constructed with a human hand friendly product. This requirement stems back to the initial coining of the word “sandwich”. The story goes that the Earl of Sandwich, an avid gambler and a bit of a lush, was having too incredible of a winning streak to leave for dinner. Thinking quickly and in the interest of expediency, he demanded his aid bring him a thick slab of meat nestled between two thick pieces of bread. The need for a quick, delicious and utensil free meal was the primary motivators behind this discovery, and this philosophy finds its path into every sandwich today.

Sandwiches are a perfect example of human centered design. One of the core aspects that define mankind is our need for individuality and expression. A sandwich represents a repeatable constructed food item that can be made very specifically to fill the needs of the individual. In addition, a wide variety of bread is specifically designed to be held by hand, and the design requirement of being usable in sandwiches lurks in the mind of every baker. This combination of emotional fulfillment and physical efficiency makes for a creation that resonates deeply with the human soul.

Depositphotos_19633471_original.jpg

 

Let’s explore the dominant sandwich types.

 

1. The Hamburger

Hamburgers are an incredibly popular sandwich format, so popular that there are chain restaurants that exclusively sell this variety. The sheer diversity of the hamburger has resulted in a huge industry of experimentation. Your basic hamburger contains a special type of circular cut bread known as a hamburger bun, a circular beef patty, mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles, and a tomato.

Depositphotos_56603115_original.jpg

 

2. The Hoagie

Hoagie is the proper name for a “submarine sandwich”, a long, cylindrical sandwich format heavily popularized by the chain, Subway. Hoagies consist of a roll, sliced almost all the way through leaving a living hinge on one side of the bread. The goal of a hoagie is to essentially fit as much meat, cheese, vegetables and sauces into the roll as possible before it is infeasible to carry.

 

3. Pastrami

Pastrami is one of the great inventions of humanity. First, you take a fine brisket, and brine it with spices for anywhere between a few days and several weeks. This process creates a well known meat known more commonly as, “corned beef”. Once you have obtained said corned beef, you proceed to place it in a smoker for a day, and then a steamer before it is served piping hot. The process, while rigorous and time consuming, is immensely worthwhile. The resulting meat is so tender and delicious, that people will travel for hundreds of miles for an excellent pastrami sandwich. Pastrami is often served on dark rye bread, with nothing else.

 

4. Po’ Boy

The po’ boy or Poor Boy sandwich, while technically a subset of the Hoagie, deserves its own category due to its wildly unusual ingredient list. While a Hoagie tends toward the deli meats and sliced cheeses, the Po’ Boy is an altogether different animal, literally. Po’ Boys often contain wacky things like fried alligator, crawfish, deep fried shrimp, oysters, clams, roast beef and a myriad other set of ingredients.

 

5. Banh Mi

The Banh Mi, like the Po Boy, is a type of hoagie sandwich. That said, it has such a classically defined identity, and a rich history that it also is its own category. Originally introduced by the French to Vietnam, the Banh Mi is a sort of “Best of Both Worlds” creation. Take a French baguette, Vietnamese meat, hot peppers, spiced carrots, and cilantro and you have a Banh Mi.

 

6. Torta

The torta is a fun sandwich, originally from Mexico that is oddly reminiscent of a tortoise. Served on a square or circular bread with a high top, the sandwich often contains Mexican spiced meats like Machacha, Carne Asada, or Lengua. These are sloppy, meaty andwiches that definitely have earned their place in the sandwich kingdom.

 

7. Lobster Roll

The Lobster Roll is an East Coast invention that basically creates a simpler and more effective way to consume a delicious lobster. The bread is often similar to a hot dog bun, and the sandwich is usually overflowing with lobster, lemon, butter, celery, pepper, and mayonnaise. This unique flavor profile does not exist in any other sandwich category, and this is a sort of sandwich that you can find at places that decidedly do not serve any other sandwich.

 

8. Club Sandwich

The club sandwich has evolved from a hastily put together sandwich for a good “Club Man”, to that of a double layer sandwich with 3 slices of bread, bacon, turkey, lettuce, and tomato. This is a fantastic sandwich that explores the concept of utilizing bread as a tool to help in biting through more food more easily.

 

9. Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly Cheesesteak is a hotly debated item. There exist two, authentic Cheesesteak manufacturers in Philadelphia, Pat’s King of Steaks, and Geno’s Steaks. Both of these are top notch Philly producers, and use thinly sliced ribeye, cheese whiz, and onions on a toasted roll as their primary menu item. The Philly Cheesesteak is a very well defined sandwich, and actually is so rigid in its construction that it may actually limit the growth and expansion of the sandwich’s popularity.