Top 10 GREATEST SANDWICHES of All Time in America (Part 2)
There’s no denying that sandwiches are one of the tastiest foods to ever grace our stomachs. As a lunchbox favorite, a hiking buddy, and the ultimate midnight snack, they are a true American staple. With endless ingredients and countless possibilities, it can be hard to find the one that sweeps you off your feet, so here are the Top 10 GREATEST SANDWICHES Of All Time In America (Part 2).
10. Po’boy Sandwich
If you’re from the South, chances are, you already know all about Po’boy sandwiches. You probably devoured one of these bad boys any chance you got and have declared it one of the best sandwiches ever, and for good reason. For those unfamiliar with this New Orleans delicacy, you’re in for a treat. The Po’boy is a traditional type of sandwich from Louisiana served on French bread. The fillings? It’s all up to you, but the most commonly found meats are roast beef or fried seafood like shrimp, oysters, or even crab. Add in some mayo, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, and you have got yourself the perfect, classic Po’boy that’s been winning people over since the late 1920s. This delicious concoction was created during a transit strike that was ravaging the town at the time. Two brothers, Bennie and Clovis Martin, wanted to show solidarity and pledged to give the streetcar conductors free meals until the strike was over. They came up with the French bread idea since it didn’t have long tapered ends, which was perfect for minimizing waste. When a striker would come by, the brothers would call out, “here comes another poor boy,” and the name stuck. Now, you can enjoy a Po’boy almost anywhere in the U.S., and it’s considered a true culinary gem, but they’ve definitely lost their “free”status. If the wait staff asks you if you want it “dressed,” just say yes, and then enjoy the tastiness to its fullest.
9. Tuna Melt Sandwich
When you think about it, tuna melts have never been really exciting. Sure, they taste good, and they’re really easy to make, but they’ve never really had that spark that just makes you crave one. After all, it’s not everyone who likes warmed up tuna. But, it has been a lunchbox classic for decades, so it must be doing something right. The tuna melt sandwich was allegedly invented in Charleston, South Carolina, at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in the 1960s when an order for a grilled cheese sandwich had a little twist. According to one historian, the “lunch ladies” received some instructions to make the usual grilled cheese on white bread with a smear of mayo. But when a a freshly made tuna salad, dangling precariously on a shelf over the grill tipped over, falling on the grilled cheese – a new sandwich was born! The Tuna Melt. Another story claims it was invented by Kraft to prove the versatility of Velveeta cheese. Well, either way, tuna melts are here, and they’re here to stay. Tuna salad, mayo, and cheese: that’s all you need to make the perfect tuna melt. But the real secret? Choose your bread wisely. The crispier, the better. And don’t forget to actually melt the cheese, it is a tuna melt after all, and it truly makes all the difference.
8. Sloppy Joe Sandwich
Whether you ate it as a kid or as a broke college student or even if you just enjoy the occasional mess, Sloppy Joes has always been that one sandwich you never seem to get tired of. It’s got everything: ground beef, tomato sauce, burger roll, and a lot of mayhem. It’s safe to say Sloppy Joes lives up to its name perfectly; it’s practically impossible to eat one without getting stuff everywhere. I mean, everywhere. Behold your shirt and pants after eating this sandwich! This sloppy yet delicious sandwich has many origin stories, but three remain the most popular. It was either created at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa when a man decided to add sauce to his “loose meat” sandwich, and it immediately became an icon. Others believe it first appeared at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, in Key West, Florida, or that it was dreamed up in Havana at Sloppy Joe’s saloon. No matter how or where it was created, we’re just glad it was. Popularized in the 1930s when money was tight, the simplicity of the ingredients and of the execution made this one an instant success and it continues to reign over our late-night cravings even today. This favorite quick ‘n’ dirty American sandwich is available almost anywhere you go, and if by a stroke of bad luck you can’t come across one, worry not; they’re so easy to make, you’ll be done before you know it. The sheer deliciousness of the Sloppy Joe sandwich is enough to make you ignore the mess and embrace it instead!
7. Reuben Sandwich
Who doesn’t love a big, giant pile of corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and pickles all sandwiched in-between two pieces of rye bread and accompanied with a tangy Russian dressing? If this sounds like music to your ears, well, this is exactly what you get when you order a Reuben sandwich. Just like most of the previous sandwiches we’ve mentioned, this ingenious creation has a lot of different origin stories, each more likely to be less true than the last, but we can’t deny its extreme tie with the New York deli experience. A man named Arnold Reuben allegedly invented the Reuben at his sandwich shop on East 58th Street in 1914. While this sandwich has become an East Coast tradition, some people speculate that it was actually invented in Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1920s by Bernard Schimmel – who came up with this sandwich to feed poker players who would meet at his hotel to play. One of the players’ names? Reuben Kulakofsky! But again, whoever invented this delicacy had a delight on their hands. The Reuben sandwich is a real treat for anyone in search of a little extravagance and a little extra meat. But, don’t forget to ask for a couple of extra napkins and an extra toothpick to hold everything together. It can get pretty messy if you’re not careful. Maybe it’s best if you steer clear of this one when you have a big meeting or a first date.
6. Meatball Sub Sandwich
If there’s one sandwich out there that smells just so dang irresistible, it’s the meatball sub. Those delectable juicy meatballs, flavorful red sauce, and an abundance of mild cheeses, all in an Italian-style bread, just hit all the right spots. The aroma alone is enough to make you instantly go buy one without hesitation if you catch a whiff. The beginnings of this iconic sub are still unknown to this day, but we can all agree that whoever had the bright idea to put meatballs in a sandwich was a genius. We do know, however, that the meatball sub originated in the good old US of A at the turn of the 20th century, and was probably one of the best inventions ever. Just like the Reuben, it’s become a major part of the Deli scene and is considered an American staple in many states. This Italian-American hero has many variations, from the meatballs to the type of cheese you put inside, so you can create your very own personal delicious sub. No matter if you choose pork or beef, mozzarella, or provolone, they all give off the same rich, tempting, and appetizing smell. If half the taste is in the smell, then just imagine how incredible this sandwich must taste.
5. Monte Cristo Sandwich
As Americans, we like to go all-out in everything we do – especially when it comes to food. Whether it’s the portion sizes, the flavors, or the odd-combinations, we always give our 100%. But one thing we like to do above all else is fry stuff. Literally, anything can be fried if you want it to be, and the Monte Cristo Sandwich is the perfect example of just that. The Monte Cristo is a ham and cheese sandwich, like the Croque Monsieur in France, but with a little added bit of pep: it’s dipped in an egg batter, then fried in a skillet and topped with powdered sugar. It’s almost the same as the French delicacy, really, just Americanized in the way we do best. Oh, it also comes with a little side of jelly to dip your sandwich in, just to give it an even more Americanized feel to it. It’s neither too sweet nor too salty: it’s a perfect balance. True, it may not be the healthiest of sandwiches, considering it got the American deep-fried treatment, but it’s still better than most of the other things we deep-fry, that’s for sure. The Monte Cristo first appeared in cookbooks in the 1930s under names like “The French Sandwich” or “The French Toasted Cheese Sandwich.” After being served for the first time in southern California in the 1950s, the Monte Cristo quickly gained popularity and is still considered a very popular sandwich to this day.
4. French Dip Sandwich
While this sandwich is literally called a French Dip, it’s not French at all – well, except for the bread. It’s actually from Los Angeles and was created in the early 20th century. It’s a hot sandwich that consists of thinly sliced beef served on a baguette, with a side of beef broth – called “au jus” – for dipping, hence the name French Dip. You can get it plain or you can add some swiss cheese and onions. Today, you can make this sandwich with basically any meat you want, like pork, turkey, and even lamb; there’s only one golden rule: it needs that little cup of broth to dip it in. It’s imperative. Otherwise, you’re free to go with the flow and put whatever you want in it. There are two restaurants in southern California that are trying to claim ownership of this delicious sandwich: Cole’s, a trendy and sophisticated eatery, and Philippe’s, an old-school diner in Chinatown – both restaurants are over 100 years old. The invention of the French Dip sandwich is one of L.A.’s most contested culinary legends to this day, and there’s no way to tell exactly which one to thank for this amazing creation. But one thing is for sure, though; it is ridiculously good. It’s basically like chips and dip but reinvented. And a little messier.
3. Smoked Meat Sandwich
Another day, another delicious sandwich filled with deli meats. This one might look familiar as it’s fairly similar to our beloved pastrami sandwich, but don’t be fooled; it’s totally different. This pastrami-looking sandwich comes from our neighbors in Montreal, Quebec, and is a saltier, smokier version of pastrami. The main difference, though, is that the brisket is smoked all the way through and steamed, which results in juicier and more tender meat. It’s also dry-cured in a ton of peppercorn, coriander, mustard seeds, and garlic. It resembles a mix of corned beef and pastrami, basically. The smoked meat is typically served on rye bread with mustard and is absurdly gigantic. Some say it stems from Jewish heritage, and others claim it existed even before it was given the moniker of “Montreal-style Jewish smoked meat.” However, one of the most popular smoked meat sandwich spots in Montreal, Schwartz Deli, was founded by a Jewish immigrant from Romania. So while the meat itself might not necessarily be Jewish, Schwartz was definitely responsible for popularizing the sandwich all across Montreal and eventually, the rest of the country. Even celebrity singer Celine Dion is part owner of the deli and has often be seen enjoying a nice smoked meat sandwich.
2. Lobster Roll
Lobster Rolls are arguably one of the best seafood sandwiches ever to exist. It’s such an easy and simple recipe, and yet, the flavors seem somewhat sophisticated. If New England could be put on a bun, the lobster roll would be it. No matter if you’re team mayo from Maine or butter from Connecticut, you can’t argue that a Lobster Roll is nothing without its key element: good lobster. And not just good, but fresh as well. Without it, a lobster roll is merely decent, at best. If there’s one thing the two warring states can agree on, it’s this. The traditional lobster roll – which was first served at a Milford, Connecticut seafood restaurant called Perry’s in 1929 – contains the tail, knuckle, and claw meat served hot on a steam split hot-dog bun, tossed with a little melted butter. The Maine version is the same lobster meat, only served cold, on a slightly toasted bun and mixed with mayo instead of butter – which usually drives butter lovers mad! Of course, many variations of this sandwich now exist and the recipes all differ. Some may add celery or lettuce as toppings – like the one McDonald’s now serves in certain locations – but the true rolls only have eyes for the star of the show: the lobster.
1. Hot Chicken Sandwich
They say revenge is sweet, but in the case of the Hot Chicken Sandwich, it’s way more spicy than sweet. Known today as a Nashville icon, the Hot Chicken got its humble beginnings in the 1930s. Legend has it, a scorned woman was seeking revenge on her significant other, Thornton Prince, for being kind of a womanizing playboy. To punish him, she decided to mess with his favorite breakfast by dousing his chicken with cayenne pepper and spices, hoping it would be inedible. But, unfortunately for her – but yay for us – the complete opposite happened. Prince ended up loving it and eventually opened up his own restaurant – Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, where he sold the Hot Chicken Sandwich. The restaurant is still open to this day and is run by Prince’s great-niece. So much for being taught a lesson! The chicken is usually marinated in buttermilk, pan-fried, and smothered in a cayenne pepper paste, and then served in between two buns, and you can’t forget the pickle chips. You also get the choice of sauce from mild to extra hot, but a word of advice, if you’re a beginner to the “spice” world, you might want to stick to mild, don’t try to be a hero. Not everyone can turn a sneaky attack into a masterpiece. Revenge is a dish best served hot and spicy, apparently.
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