Nation, today, we're gonna talk about porn — sandwich porn. Literally every culture has its own culinary spin on putting things between bread, and chowing down. So, in recognition of National Sandwich Day, let's take a moment to appreciate the many amazing kinds of sandwiches that you can get across the U.S. of A. These sandwiches aren't just any sandwiches, though. These are the best in class, knock your socks off, most amazing sandwiches from across the country, born of traditions passed down for generations, and consumed by the masses.
Though people have been wrapping meat in bread since the dawn of civilization, the name "sandwich" can be traced back to 18th Century Britain, to John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Montagu was allegedly so busy chatting up his friends and gambling on a card game that he had his servants make him a snack of cold beef between two slices of bread. Thus, the name stuck. This story instantly becomes twice as awesome if you picture Eric Cartman in the role of Lord Sandwich.
Prepare yourself to get hungry, because we've got plenty of stuff happening between these slices. The meats are smoked, slow cooked, roasted, and fried. They're covered in cheese, slaw, pickles, and even secret sauce. Because, as they say, there's more than one way to... ahem, make a sandwich, right?
Let's get to it.
1. The Gyro — Central Gryos, Chicago, IL
This classic Greek street food is tradition exemplified, on a flatbread. Thinly sliced lamb is piled sky-high on a warm pita, topped with tzatziki sauce, tomato, and onion. Simple, delicious, and served with a heaping helping of thick-cut fries.
2. BBQ Pork Sandwich — Skylight Inn, Ayden, NC
Brined, slow cooked, chopped, and covered in vinegar and chili flakes — that's how you'll eat pork at Skylight Inn in tiny Ayden, NC. If you're not privy to the many magical ways to make BBQ, this style of pig is Eastern North Carolina between two slices of bread.
3. The Peacemaker — Mahony's, New Orleans, LA
The Peacemaker is a deep fried oyster po-boy that just happens to have bacon and cheddar cheese sharing real estate between the slices. The po-boy is the cajun way to make a sandwich, with delicious fried seafood on French bread, topped with pickles and, if you know what's up, Crystal hot sauce.
4. Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich — Howlin' Rays, Los Angeles, CA
Howlin' Rays is bringing the heat to Southern California with its Nashville-style hot chicken. Previously a nomadic food truck operation, Howlin' Rays will open for business in its new brick and mortar location in Hollywood on Nov. 17, and I will *be* there to welcome them. This place legitimately makes some of the best fried chicken I've ever had, and as a girl raised in the South, that's sayin' something. Trust me, just go there.
5. The Garbage Burger — Wimpy's, Durham, NC
If you like your burgers big and oozing with chili, cheese, and cole slaw, check out Wimpy's. It's a tiny blink-and-you-miss-it burger shack near Duke University that takes Texas up on its Everything's Bigger challenge. Just don't forget to grab some napkins.
6. The Philly Cheesesteak — Dalessandro's, Philadelphia, PA
The Northeast has plenty of food traditions, but none of them are so gastronomically boisterous as the Philly Cheesesteak. You know the deal — it's thinly sliced beef piled high on a hoagie, then smothered with cheese and sautéed onions. While the City of Brotherly Love has loads of options when it comes to getting the authentic cheesesteak experience, you'll find the locals — and evidently Jimmy Fallon — at Dalessandro's.
7. The Godmother — Bay Cities, Santa Monica, CA
It's salami, it's prosciutto, it's mortadella, ham, and provolone. It's a meat castle folded carefully between slices of Italian bread. It will put you in a sandwich coma for two days and three nights, and you'll never forget your first. People who live in my neighborhood will barely drive halfway to the beach unless there's free booze involved, but this sandwich, a few blocks from the ocean in Santa Monica, frequently inspires the journey.
8. 16-inch Cuban — Sarussi's, Miami, FL
If you like pig, this one packs a punch, for sure. It's baked ham and roast pork with pickles and provolone stacked, toasted, and pressed on Cuban bread. The amazing thing is that this sandwich weighs in at two and a half pounds. That's enough cheese-covered pork for four very hungry people.
9. Lobster Roll — Bob's Clam Hut, Kittery, ME
The lobster roll is pretty much the po-boy of the North. With a hot cup of clam chowder, it's the perfect way to stay warm in the snowy seaside winters in Maine.
10. The Monster — Sarge's Deli, New York, NY
The deli sandwich is an important part of the American culinary experience. This one, which is described as New York's largest sandwich, includes pastrami and about a half-dozen other meats that can be found at Sarge's Deli in Murray Hill, but I'm not exactly sure how one would go about eating this monster. You'll probably need to ask for extra bread.
Happy National Sandwich Day, everybody!
Image: Howlin' Ray's/Facebook