If you think that a sandwich is just a sandwich, then think again. Actually, first get your hands on The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches, have a look through it, and then think again. Your view of sandwiches will never be the same.
It’s hard to resist the book by its cover alone, with a photograph of a teetering triple decker sandwich (The Dagwood) and the promise of not only recipes (110 in all) but “history and trivia for everything between sliced bread.” How can this be resisted? Author Susan Russo lures the reader in with her irreverent writing sprinkled with snippets of trivia, and punctuated with drool-worthy photos from the talented photographer Matt Armendariz.
This weighty compact book is thick and juicy with recipes and nuggets to chew on, so to speak – just like a good Reuben Sandwich. I quickly discovered that a sandwich is far more than a lunchtime staple framed by sliced bread. Start your day with an All-in-One Breakfast Sandwich (with hashbrowns, waffles, eggs and bacon), or finish a meal with a Banana Split Sandwich (a.k.a. dessert). There is even a British Chip Butty – otherwise known as a French Fry Sandwich on this side of the pond – which handily qualifies as munchy snack food. The possibilities are seemingly endless, and this book gallantly and informatively tackles the encyclopedic task of celebrating the humble sandwich.
Despite the impressive number and variety of sandwiches in the book it was easy to select my first recipe. Pulled pork is a family favorite, and I know that Susan is an avid football fan, frequently posting enticing recipes on her blog for spicy game-viewing fare. I was keen to try her recipe for a Pulled Pork Sandwich – knowing it would be a winner.
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Makes 8-10 Sandwiches.
12 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
8-10 cups pulled pork, shredded (recipe below)
8-10 hamburger buns or kaiser rolls
Extra barbecue sauce for serving (optional)
Make the coleslaw: Place cabbage in a large bowl. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small pot over medium – high heat. Reduce to a simmer and add oil, salt and pepper. Simmer 3-5 minutes. Pour over cabbage. Refrigerate until use.
Assemble sandwiches: Place 1 cup meat in each bun. Drizzle with extra barbecue sauce if desired. Top with a scoop of coleslaw and some pickle slices. Close sandwich and serve immediately.
Pulled Pork Recipe
Makes 8-10 cups
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
1 (5-7 pound) boneless pork shoulder
Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Tabasco
1/4 cup stone-ground mustard
Combine all of the rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the meat. Refrigerate the meat at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight. Remove from refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking.
Preheat oven to 250 F. Place meat, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cook uncovered 2 hours. Raise oven temperature to 350 F. Cover meat with foil and cook until internal temperature reaches 170 F, 5-6 hours. Remove meat and place on cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest 30 minutes.
Combine vinegar sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Shred the meat and place in a wide shallow dish. Pour vinegar sauce over meat and toss to coat.
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by Susan Russo. Published by Quirk Books.