One day, when I was in high school, my father came home and told my mother about the most delicious sandwich he’d ever tasted. He described the ingredients Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and corned beef on grilled bread. It sounded horrendous. Thousand Island dressing on a sandwich with sauerkraut? Really?

He was insistent that my mother recreate this concoction. She did and I fell in love with Rueben. The tang of the sauerkraut intermingling with the melted cheese, and the creaminess of the dressing created mouthfuls of deliciousness. The love affair with this sandwich didn’t even begin with real corned beef.

This is the type of corned beef we used. That can was deadly to open. I sliced my thumb several times on the edges.

This is the type of corned beef we used. That can was deadly to open. I sliced my thumb several times on the edges.

We were using the canned variety (we were ignorant when it came to the ways of corned beef in those days). Also, we used wheat bread, not rye. I guess my dad didn’t like rye.

Now, I am a bit of a Rueben snob. When I see it on a menu, I want to order it, but only after a few essential questions are answered. Do you use Thousand Island dressing (not mustard)? Is this grilled or on toasted bread? If it is toasted, I will not waste my time or calories.

It is unfortunate that there are waitresses out in the world telling people their Rueben is grilled, when in fact it was toasted. I was not a happy customer when my sandwich arrived.

However, I have found a place where the cook knows how to make a Rueben extraordinaire. Shane of Shane’s Joint creates a masterpiece of a sandwich. He not only grills the bread, but he also grills the corned beef. Watch out! The filling of this sandwich is hot! Swiss cheese melts down the mound of sauerkraut and corned beef like cheesy lava. The Thousand Island dressing slides on bringing all the ingredients to a perfect blending. The bread is grilled to crisp perfection.

The added bonus to this crispy, melty mess is a side of homemade potato chips, crunchy and warm. Handy to scoop up a bit of sauerkraut that escaped from the bread. Mmmmm!





24 thoughts on “Rueben

  1. I am not a great fan of the Reuben but your description makes me want to try. I love your before and after pictures. You made me chuckle! I love that about your words.

  2. Leigh Anne says:

    I wasn’t going to comment today because I really don’t like Reubens and my mother always said if you can’t say something nice….but then I just heard an Arby’s commercial about Ruebens and said out loud…there’s Elsie’s favorite sandwich. My family asked who is Elsie? I said you just wouldn’t understand.

  3. During mt time in New York i became aware of the Ruebens Sandwich and must admit they were quite a treat. Occasionally, I see it offered on menus here in Australia. Thank you for taking me back to that time in my life

  4. Wow…I’m a vegetarian, but your writing *almost* made me want to try this sandwich. I say almost because I hate meat and sauerkraut. But seriously, your descriptive language was spot on!

  5. I enjoyed this so much, reubens are my favorite. Your writing is tasty with lots of details. Love your word choices with tang, horrendous, etc. Excellent slice.

  6. Oh, I have been craving an Arby’s Reuben. They are so good and so handy. I don’t know if they’re grilled since I haven’t had one in a while–yes, is it worthy of the carbs!! Since reading your blog, I may take the liberty to feast on half an Arby’s a day. Love your natural way of things posts.

  7. Oh. My. Word. My mouth is watering for one of these, right now. The best euben sandwich I ever had was in a dive (sorry, but that was what it was) on the Lower East Side of New York City years ago – I’ve been hunting for one like it ever since!

  8. Judy C. says:

    You have my mouth watering (and I just finished breakfast!). Have to check this Shane’s Joint out next time we’re in your neck of the woods.

  9. Monte Cristo – turkey, ham, cheese club dipped in batter and then deep fried. Totally delicious and totally unhealthy server at Bennigan’s.

  10. Bacon, lettuce, tomato & avocado. The best one ever had was in the restaurant in the basement of the State Capital Building in Salem, Oregon. Funny how food memories are so clear.

  11. Jaana says:

    I have heard of this sandwich, but have not had the courage to ever taste one. I believe that I will continue to rely on your taste buds to extol its virtues.

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