Around America in 10 sandwiches
America can lay claim to being the modern-day master of the sandwich; no other country offers the sheer variety and diversity of options.
These portable treats are not just for lunch; many are enjoyed any time of day, perfect for a casual dinner or a delicious late-night treat. What better way to tour your way around America than by sampling the country’s greatest sandwiches? Here’s where to find them.
1. Cheesesteak, Philadelphia
The classic version features thinly sliced rib-eye or top round, tossed on a griddle then piled into a soft roll and topped with cheese (typically provolone, American, or the guilty pleasure known as Cheez-Whiz), with optional sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
The cheesesteak has migrated throughout the US and beyond to the point where “Philly cheesesteak” now appears on takeaway menus around the globe.
2. Po-boy, New Orleans
Since then, the po-boy has evolved into a New Orleans icon. Two hands and an intrepid approach are most definitely needed when biting into a crusty French bread loaf over-stuffed with anything from fried shrimp and juicy roast beef to alligator sausage.
Order it “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) for the full effect. New Orleanians are loyal to their favorite po-boy shops, whether it’s Parkway Bakery, Domilise’s, Radosta’s, or one of the hundreds of other po-boy purveyors in the area.
3. Italian beef, Chicago
The sandwich can be dipped or double-dipped in the cooking juices (known as “au jus”) for extra juiciness, then topped with giardiniera (pickled veg) or sweet Italian peppers. Italian beef sandwiches are found throughout the city of Chicago, but Al’s Beef and Mr Beef are two of the most popular spots.
4. Pastrami, NYC
Traditionally served only with mustard and a side of pickles, these sandwiches are large enough to share, and the biggest question most customers face is whether to order their pastrami regular or lean.
5. Lobster Roll, Maine
Traditional lobster rolls are served cold, often lightly tossed with a bit of mayo, but sometimes they can be served warm with drawn butter, and/or with a bit of celery salt.
6. Cuban sandwich, Tampa & Miami
The classic version is comprised of sliced roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and thinly sliced dill pickles layered between Cuban bread slathered with yellow mustard. The sandwich is then pressed and toasted on a plancha, resulting in a filling, portable meal.
7. French dip, Los Angeles
Simple though delicious, thinly sliced roast beef is placed on a bread roll dipped in cooking juices, and the sandwich can be “double dipped” in a cup on the side for extra juiciness.
8. Beef on weck, Buffalo
The small sandwich packs a big punch, making it especially popular in bars and pubs. Schwabl's and Charlie the Butcher are two of the most famous purveyors of this distinctive sandwich.
9. Brisket, Texas
Moist, succulent slices of smoked brisket, commonly sold by the pound or as a sandwich, are served with little more than basic white bread, pickles, and raw onions.
In Austin, festive crowds camp out to taste Franklin Barbecue’s legendary brisket, while others travel to the unofficial barbecue capital of Lockhart to line up for it at icons such as Kreuz Market, Black's, or Smitty's.
10. Pork sandwich, Memphis
Pork shoulder – chopped, pulled, or sliced – carries heaps of flavour with a tomato-based sauce. Served on a bun and topped with coleslaw, these tasty hand-held treats are a popular choice at Memphis’ myriad barbecue spots.
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