The Reuben Sandwich: A History Steeped in Mystery…
The history of the Reuben Sandwich is one that has been somewhat lost to time. A possible origin states that a man named Reuben Kulakofsky from Omaha, Nebraska invented the sandwich. It is thought to have been created in the 1920’s and popularized when one of his poker pals put the sandwich on his hotel’s menu.
Another possible origin states that the creator was Arnold Reuben, the owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City. This account holds that the invention of the Reuben might have occurred as early as 1914.
While we may never know exactly how this sandwich was invented or by whom, we know that people have been enjoying it for a long time. And now I hope you enjoy my take on the classic Reuben Sandwich!
Building Out the Reuben sandwich
I like to start and end my Reuben sandwiches with a slice of Swiss cheese. The Swiss Cheese provides an excellent sharp contrast to the sweet tasting Thousand Island Dressing added later. We add the cheese now so that when the sandwich is grilled, the cheese will melt and stick to the bread, holding everything together better!
Next comes the corned beef! If you can’t find corned beef, pastrami is a good substitute. I put about 3 slices of moderately thin meat on. If you have really thin sliced meat you might want a little more. Or on the opposite end, if your meat is sliced really thickly, you might want a little less.
Next up, the sauerkraut! As an aside, I love sauerkraut. Another great recipe I use sauerkraut in is this one.
You can tailor the amount of sauerkraut to your own taste preference if you’d like by adding more or less. I add 1/4 cup per sandwich. This keeps the distribution of the ingredients even so your sandwich is not overwhelmed or lacking on any of the taste. One of the most important parts of creating a Reuben Sandwich is making sure the sandwich’s ingredients have about even ratios.
Dress it up!
Now we move on to the Thousand Island Dressing!
Again, you can add more or less to your taste specification. However, I add about 2 tbsp. per sandwich. Adding more tends to squeeze out of the sides and get into the pan during grilling. Then dressing gets on your bread and the whole thing becomes kind of soggy and messy. 2 tbsp. seems just right to flavor the sandwich without overdoing it.
Lastly, add one more slice of Swiss Cheese on top of the dressing and top with the last slice of bread. The cheese as mentioned above, not only adheres to the bread during grilling and holds the sandwich together, but creates a layer between the dressing and bread that prevents the bread from getting soggy!
Grill It On A Skillet
Melt your butter in a large skillet or griddle. I like to use my cast iron skillet. If you’ve been following my recipes, you’ll know I use it for almost everything! For instance, it’s GREAT for this recipe. The good thing about a cast iron skillet is that it distributes the heat evenly. That means that no part of the sandwich will ever taste under cooked. Check out the link below to Amazon for more details about the Cast Iron Skillet I use.
Now you want to grill each sandwich for about 1-1:30 minutes on each side on medium heat. It’s important not to have the heat turned up too high or the bread will grill too quickly before the rest of your ingredients have a chance to heat through and melt together.
After it has sizzled for long enough on both sides, use a spatula to remove from heat. This spatula is really nice, it is heat resistant and easy to clean. (And Oxo, my favorite brand!) Then cut them in half. I cut them right down the middle because the sandwich is more of a rectangle shape than a square, so it looks nicer in my opinion.
I always like to serve them in these neat baskets with food wrapper. It gives it an authentic deli feel that your friends and family will really appreciate. I believe it is adding little things like that that really make a recipe special!
And there you have it. Enjoy! Another one for the recipe book.
Did you make this recipe? Have suggestions? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and tell me what you think.