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How To Make a Reuben Sandwich

Updated on July 6, 2014

The Reuben Sandwich | What Is It and Why You Should Love It

Ode to the Reuben. How do I love thee? Let me eat the ways. Ok. In all seriousness, I really do love Reuben sandwiches. In fact, I consider myself an aficionado. I ordered a Reuben that was at least 12 inches high at Carnegie Deli in NYC. I devoured many from Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor. I called the "chef" over to the table at a little dive restaurant, just off the snowmobile trail in Houghton Lake, Michigan just to tell him he rocked. (Side Note: people really should do that more often. Unsolicited compliments make a person's day.) I order them whenever I find them on the menu. In fact, corned beef sandwiches, on the whole, are getting harder to find.

Now, if you are wondering how to make a Reuben, the answer is there are many, many ways. In fact, depending on how you combine the ingredients, the options for a Reuben sandwich recipe are nearly limitless. Some would argue that if it's not the way their granny made it, then it's not a Reuben. Go ahead and think that, if you want, more for me.

(Image Credit: Wiki Media Commons)

The Meat

Corned beef is the first thing that comes to everyone's mind. I mean, this is known as a corned beef sandwich after all. Thinly shaved meat is best, but some delicatessens serve it up chunky, like you would find in a good homemade corned beef hash. It tastes the same either way.

Turkey is another option that, believe it or not, does the name Reuben justice. Actually, a turkey Reuben is sometimes called a 'Rachel' so I guess that is not a true statement. Regardless, it is so yummy and puts a different twist on a classic.

I've also had a Reuben sandwich made with pastrami and, while it is not my favorite deli meat, it worked just fine.

If you celebrate St. Patrick's Day, be sure to make extra corned beef. Leftover corned beef is the best in a Reuben sandwich.

The Bread

Now, Reuben sandwiches are usually made with a marble rye. For those of you who haven't seen the classic Seinfeld episode, a marble rye is a swirled loaf of rye and pumpernickel. Don't stress (or mug an old lady) if you are craving a Reuben and can't find a loaf. You can use regular rye. For that matter, I've eaten them with wheat as well as white. Rye just adds that little bit of sour flavor.

Incidentally, the poor woman below testifies against Jerry in the series finale. In Jerry's defense, it WAS the last marble rye.

The Cheese

A Reuben must have cheese. In fact, cheese pretty much makes the world go 'round, but enough of my political philosophies. more of that sour yumminess.

Most Reuben sandwiches are served with Swiss cheese but you can substitute. I have seen it made with sharp cheddar as well as cheese sauces. It's all good. In fact, cheese works on just about anything. I've heard it makes the world go round.

The Dressing

Another choice here. Russian or Thousand Island. They both add a sweet tang to the Reuben. Thousand Island dressing, a pale orange sauce made with pickle relish and ketchup, was popularized by those people at the Golden Arches and their infamous burger. It works great with any combination of the above ingredients. Russian dressing is getting harder and harder to find at the grocery store. The recipes for homemade versions are as varied as this classic sandwich but most versions have mayo, ketchup and a bit of horseradish for a kick. Heck, you could even eat your sandwich with mustard or blue cheese, if you really wanted to, although the sweet dressings balance all the sour.

The Cabbage

You may claim to not like cabbage but it is essential to a classic Reuben sandwich. Some restaurant serve it up with coleslaw, others choose sauerkraut. They both can be used interchangeably with corned beef and turkey and create a different taste sensation in your mouth. I prefer my sauerkraut unrinsed, by the way, as sour as it can get. Mmmmm!

The Cooking Method

Fried, regular or toasted. You can fry Reuben sandwiches, which gets the cheese to melt or you can simply toast the bread, which adds crunch without clogging your arteries. You can even just use plain bread. You decide. Again, it can go any which way and still taste good. The choice (and the extra calories) is yours.

So, what's the best Reuben sandwich recipe, you ask? The one on my plate ;)

Didn't know there were so many ways to put a simple corned beef sandwich, like a Reuben, together, did ya? Now, go. Make. Enjoy!

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      I've never tried a Turkey Reuben...but I do love the corned beef ones!