We love sandwiches because they’re easy and portable, customizable and delicious. While sandwiches have a long and storied history, the category is one of constant reinvention, from the bread choices to the condiments to the main fillings. Plus they’re the best friend leftovers ever had.
Sandwiches can range from the basic (ham and cheese on wheat) to the sublime (who’s tried the egg salad sandwich at Konbi in LA?). When they’re at their best, they’re a carefully considered situation that’s more than the sum of its parts.
Achieving sandwich nirvana is a matter of having the right bread for the filling, along with a coherent assembly of other ingredients. You may want some crunch in a chicken salad sandwich, for example. But a meatball sub might want to just have layers of softer textures.
Sandwiches work for any meal, and you can customize them to satisfy a range of tastes. So it never hurts to deepen your repertoire of memorable meals between bread. To help guide you on your sandwich journey, we’ve rounded up a few recipes that will most definitely lead in that direction.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Is a pulled pork sandwich the GOAT of sandwiches? Discuss. This coffee-rubbed pulled pork is a great place to start. Just shred, toss with a bit of the braising liquid and a drizzle of barbeque sauce. Serve on a pretzel bun with some gingery, crunchy red cabbage slaw.
Roast Beef Sandos for a Crowd
This recipe for slow-roasted beef with horseradish cream will set you up for delightful sandwiches for a crowd. It’s a great party move. Cook and carve a roast into the thinnest slices you can manage. Serve on a platter with horseradish cream, eye-watering Dijon mustard, leaves of butter lettuce, thinly sliced pickled red onions, and a sheet of just-warm Hawaiian rolls. So good.
Simple Chicken Salad Sandwich
A chicken salad sandwich might be basic, but sometimes basic hits the spot. And sometimes it can transcend itself, like a fat chicken salad sandwich with a slice of crisp romaine between two slices of extra-sour sourdough. When all the elements are as good as they can be, it’s just the thing for a not-sad desk lunch.
Remember the thing about sandwiches being leftovers’ best friend? That’s why we always make a double batch of these pork and beef meatballs—so we can crown a pile of spaghetti one night, stash some away in the freezer, and set some aside to make meatball subs. Use ciabatta rolls and this method: layer the bottom of the roll with meatballs, marinara, and cheese, then stick under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted. Quickly pop the tops under the broiler to toast, and place them over the meatballs.
Chicken Cutlet Sandwich
Cutlets of all kinds reach their highest and best use when tucked into a roll. We’re partial to chicken cutlets because they’re so versatile (add them to salad, soup, give them the parm treatment), and also because a fried chicken sandwich, especially one with pickles, avocado mayo, and bacon (!!!) is a very solid choice.
The punchy and vibrant flavors of banh-mi sandwiches never get old. And you can achieve that flavor profile pretty easily. Just combine quick-pickled carrots and daikon radish, cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro. Add that mix to your meat or meat substitute of choice. We’re partial to this garlic-lime flank steak, but gingery meatballs, pâté, or a Vietnamese-inspired pulled pork would all be excellent, too.
Another classic-for-a-reason sandwich, these pressed sandwiches are made with ham and cheese, roasted pork loin, and – importantly – mustard and pickles. If you have a panini press, perfect. If not, just toast the sandwich on a griddle with a cast iron pan on top of the sandwich to weigh it down. Roast pork loin also makes a great party sandwich on a large ciabatta loaf. Spread the bread with apple butter and Dijon mustard. Next, add thinly sliced pork loin and cheddar cheese. Finish with a tangle of lightly dressed greens. Build, wrap in plastic, and let sit for a few hours before serving. This helps create a delightful melding of flavor and texture.
Add these sandwiches to your repertoire and you’ll always have a back-pocket recipe to pull a simple, super-tasty meal together, whether you’re cooking for one, a family, or a crowd.