Big Sandwich Review

I fancy myself somewhat of an adventurous soul when it comes to dining. I’m a fan of all kinds of food, especially international cuisine. Some of my favs are sushi, bun cha gio (Vietnamese), and even authentic Indian fish head curry (which , yes, includes that monsterous eye). While in Singapore I tried everything under the sun and enjoyed most of it with almost the sole exception being durian fruit. That is some nasty crap. The best way to describe it is a melon that has the texture of liver, the smell of rotten flesh, and the taste of gasoline. How anyone can choke down that stuff is beyond me. I’ll have to address that in another review. I say this to offer some background. So that you know this is coming from someone that doesn’t consider chicken fried steak and country gravy the end-all, be-all of fine dining. That being said, the big sandwich has got to be one of the greatest creations in the history of mankind.
Start it off with a huge loaf of French bread. Mind you, the bread to filler ratio will be way off if you just slice it down the center and pack it with goods. You have to excavate the center section of the loaf to get the proper thickness of those luscious carb cradles. A standard submarine roll just doesn’t off the girth that I prefer. Next, you have to attack each half as if it was its own sandwich. One side gets folded or bunched clumps of beef. Pick roast beef, pastrami, whatever..but it must be of bovine origin and it has to be stacked, never laid flat. Now blanket that meat in a cheese of your choice. I’m a provolone guy, but we have another half so you have other options there too. For the second half you need to remember that the Ying to the beef Yang has got to be turkey breast. (Side note: All meat must be sliced paper thin.) Fold and pile the other half with turkey and drape it with the second cheese. Something a little sharper on this side I think, yeah, let’s hit it with some sharp cheddar.
Don’t think of adding a condiment or veggie yet. Nothing else touches this masterpiece until you throw it under the broiler for a few to get that cheese nice and gooey. It is a binding agent and holds the meat in place during the “pull together” step that is coming up, so it imperative. The bread should get just a little toasted on the outside and edges, but won’t affect that spongy center if you are careful.

Now it is time for some dressing. You can’t pull those two halves together until you build a veggie barrier. Otherwise, you will have 3 full inches of meat and the variety of texture will be nill. Now is the time for the condiments. Keep that oily mayo or Miracle Whip crap away from my sandwich. When I say condiments, I mean mustard, preferably Gulden’s and/or a spicy sauce like Captain Sorensen’s from Firehouse Subs. Then it is on to the veggies. Lettuce, tomatoes, massive slices of dill pickles, and banana peppers need to be evenly layered on both halves. Some words of caution here. Never put tomatoes on pickles without some lettuce or something in between. The coefficient of friction will be way too low and you are bound to get some serious slippage when you bite into this monster. Filling push-out is a constant battle so do the up front work during the building process and you have a much better chance of success.
I have one more ingredient that has caused serious controversy in my family. I also like to add some Ruffles with ridges potato chips in the veggie layer as an added texture piece. I prefer the low fat versions just because they are a little less oily. No other ingredient can add that needed crunch and tomato grip. It seems a little juvenile, but trust me on this one, it is worth the ridicule.
For the “pull together”, you have only got one shot, so make it fluid and commit. Nail the alignment and you are set. Size-wise, this beast should cover the entire plate. If you used any less than a third of a loaf of French bread, you are not in the “Big sandwich” category and should be reading a different review. No lightweights here.
Come on, you have to admit that few things stack up to the big sandwich. It is filling, delicious, comforting and contains everything you need in any meal. It really isn’t even that bad for you if you neglect the shear quantity of grub in your guts. I’ve tried a lot, and when it comes down to it, I love tons of different foods, but if I was stuck with one thing I had to eat every day for the rest of my life, it would definitely be a big sandwich.

Please note that the pictured sandwich above is stock footage and is not representative of the actual sandwich described here.


Matt said...

I agree that the big sandwich is good...if you get to it in the first 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, if you're late to the family reunion, you're going to get soggy bun syndrome. I prefer the sauces on the side.

JustJim said...

One must add a mess of steak fries to the platter before chicken fried steak and country gravy could be condidered "the end-all, be-all of fine dining" ya silly head!

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