No man lives on bread alone. Sandwiches have been found all over the face of the Earth and across different cultures because filling the space between two pieces of bread with meat just makes so much sense.
While common, not everyone has had the pleasure of enjoying a well-prepared sandwich in their lives. The making of a sandwich has been an art form almost lost to time due to the belief that anyone can simply make their own sandwiches.
But much like any great human invention (such as marketing), there’s more to sandwiches than just sticking two to three different ingredients together and seeing if they work. People have given some thought to the creation of certain classics that have stood the test of time as particularly enjoyable culinary treats.
If you’re not afraid of white bread, or looking for that perfect meal to gorge on when you’re breaking your intermittent fast, this list is perfect for you for exploring the exciting world of sandwiches beyond your schoolyard grilled cheese.
The Reuben is a sinful mix of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing all grilled between two healthy slices of rye bread. If you’re not a sandwich eater, this is one of the first sandwiches that you need to eat at the start of your experiential sandwich journey.
As one of the best classic sandwiches, the Reuben’s history is shrouded in mythology, with origin stories claiming that the sandwich originated in Nebraska, or the now-defunct Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York. No matter where it comes from, a well-prepared Reuben is always a delight for sandwich veterans and those experiencing it for the first time.
Why settle for French toast or a ham sandwich when you can have a Monte Cristo? A variant of the Croque Monsieur – a baked or fried French take on the ham sandwich – Monte Cristo is a sweeter meal. Literally.
Essentially, Monte Cristo is prepared like a standard ham and cheese (Emmental or Gruyère cheese) sandwich with the added twist that the sandwich is then dipped into egg batter then pan fried. After grilling, the sandwich can be covered in sugar or maple syrup for that sweet tooth kick.
The cheesesteak sandwich is the king of all steak sandwiches, and while you’ve probably already eaten one in your life, there’s a high chance it wasn’t that good. A greasy but delightful combination of sliced beef steak, onions, and choice of cheese all served in a hoagie, the cheesesteak sandwich is relatively easy to prepare, making it a common sandwich in certain areas.
The common nature of the cheesesteak sandwich, unfortunately, gives it a bad reputation since its preparation can easily be done wrong, leading to drippy sandwiches, tough meat, or an overabundance of superfluous ingredients in an effort to make the sandwich unique. But prepared well, the cheesesteak retains its contents well and allows the cheese and beef to tenderly coat your taste buds, opening up the fact that there are good cheesesteak sandwiches out there – you just have to find them.
Pulled pork sandwich
A simple sandwich that’s not so simple to prepare. The pulled pork sandwich is to pork what the cheesesteak sandwich is to beef. The essential ingredient is the so-called pulled pork – a pork shoulder soaked in brine, slow cooked over wood or in an oven, then shredded and served on bread with a special sauce.
The beauty of the pulled pork sandwich lies in the fact that it has only three essential ingredients – the meat, the bread, and the sauce. This allows a multitude of variations to occur depending on which part of the planet you’re currently having it. Definitely a sandwich that you can keep re-experiencing throughout your sandwich journey.
The Italian version of the pulled pork sandwich, the porchetta spices up the classic favorite by adding an Italian twist to the pork’s preparation. The porchetta’s main ingredient is usually a year-old pig stuffed with a variety of herbs, garlic, rosemary, and fennel.
As much as it is a a delight to eat, the porchetta is also one of the more sinful sandwiches that you could ever have the pleasure of biting into. Part of the porchetta’s succulent experience is the fact that fatty pork retains much of the preparations’ flavor while melting in your mouth.
The Cuban is a Florida classic that owes its existence to cafes catering to Cuban workers in Key West and Tampa. Essentially a ham and cheese sandwich, the exciting part about the Cuban is the addition of pickles and mustard into the mix while making use of Swiss cheese to finish off the sandwich with variations adding salami to the meats.
The addition of pickles and mustard pairs very well with the sweet ham taste, making the Cuban an excellent substitute to a normal ham sandwich. The Cuban is an easy sandwich to prepare as a packed lunch – or even as a midnight snack – which can easily become your favorite after having your first taste.
A meatball sub
The meatball sub is an underrated Italian-American classic due to its reputation for messiness and being ordinary cuisine in certain areas – much like the cheesesteak sandwich. Meatball sandwiches come in all shapes and sizes, but the meatball sub is one of the best ways to enjoy the sandwich since a sub can easily be cut for sharing or kept to last throughout the day.
The meatballs are cooked in marinara or plain tomato sauce while being topped by choice of cheese – provologne and mozzarella being the most common options. After cooking, the meatball and tomato cheese sauce concoction is transferred onto Italian white bread.
When prepared well, the meatball sub offers a filling and flavorful treat that’s fun to eat. The messiness of the sandwich depends on how well the bread absorbs the sauce as too much sauce means a dripping sub.
The pastrami on rye
The pastrami on rye is a simple recipe where the deciding factor for its success as a sandwich depends on the quality of your meat and bread rather than any fancy sauces or dressings. Prepared well, this sandwich is a classic that can take you by surprise by easily becoming a personal favorite.
Composed mainly of pastrami, rye bread, and spicy brown mustard, and traditionally served with Kosher dill pickles on the side, the sandwich owes its existence to Sussman Volk, a Lithuanian immigrant who opened a small butcher shop in New York’s Lower East Side that eventually bloomed into a delicatessen on 88 Delancey street during the late 1800s. The pastrami on rye is a definite classic due to its longevity and its directness. It is an evergreen sandwich that you’ll eventually go back to during your personal sandwich journey.