What began as a pocketful of beef and cabbage eventually led to the Reuben we know and love today. Similar to the Cornish pasties popular in Michigan by way of Cornwall, the bierock is a sort of German calzone made from yeasty dough stuffed with beef, cabbage, and onions.
This portable sandwich precursor arrived in the Great Plains thanks to Germans who migrated from Russia to the Nebraska and Kansas farmland. Cabbage is a classic cold weather crop, and bierocks can warm you right up. The name bierock is probably related to the Russian pirozhki, another type of meat-stuffed dough dish. Perhaps not coincidentally, one of the several origin stories about the Reuben sandwich (more on that later) starts in Nebraska.
Baked in a half-moon or bun shape, bierocks are also called cabbage burgers, something my house boy remembers from growing up in Wyoming and is always threatening to make. Other fans refer to it as a runza, which inspired an entire chain of "ovenstuff'd sandwiches" in Nebraska. These oblong baked sammies look suspiciously similar to the cheesesteak pretzels that debuted last year.
Have you ever been to Runza or eaten a cabbage burger or bierock?
Source: Fork Fingers Chopsticks
Chicago's beloved Italian beef sandwich and Buffalo's signature beef on weck taste like they were separated at birth. But it's the nuances that set these regional favorites apart from each other and that other famous juicy roast beef sandwich, the French dip. Here's how to tell them all apart.
The Beef on Weck
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Origins: Brought to New York by German immigrants in the early 1800s, beef on weck is one of America's oldest sandwiches.
Defining characteristics: Thinly sliced hot roast beef served on a kimmelweck bun, a Kaiser-type roll sprinkled with caraway seeds and salt crystals, and dipped in roasting juices.
Where to try one: Schwabl's in Buffalo or Charlie the Butcher.
Keep reading for the "French" and "Italian" takes on hot roast beef.
After seeing how I yearned for a beef on weck, my Buffalonian buddy Josh made a special trip to Charlie the Butcher, his weck destination of choice, located "on an awkward corner adjacent to the Buffalo Niagara airport." Not only did he take a bunch of photos ("Everybody thought I was crazy snapping photos every 5 seconds," he says) but he also sent in a wonderfully written account of his 'wich trip.
If you want to be as awesome as Josh, share your own sandwich by emailing your photos to email@example.com, along with a description of what's on your sandwich. Meanwhile, check out Josh's trip to Charlie the Butcher below!
Unless you are well acquainted with a Buffalonian, as I am, you've probably never heard of beef on weck. A cousin of the French dip — possibly even a predecessor — this famous regional sandwich originated in Buffalo, NY, in the early 1800s, making it one of America's most historic sandwiches. And beef on weck purveyor Schwabl's has been around almost as long, since 1837. The catchy name is short for beef on kummelweck or kimmelweck, and the weck in question is a Kaiser-type roll sprinkled with caraway seeds and salt crystals. It's piled with thinly sliced hot roasted beef and drenched in roasting juices, either on the roll, on the meat, or on the side, much like an Italian beef sandwich or French dip.
The rolls are thought to have been brought to Buffalo from the Black Forest by William Wahr, a German baker, and the fact that the credited French dip inventor, Philippe Mathieu, stopped off in Buffalo en route to California from France suggests the beef on weck might be the French dip's inspiration.
As with any beloved regional sandwich, locals seem to have strong opinions on how to make 'em right, like whether or not you should spread horseradish on the sammie. So Buffalonians, tell me: what's the best way to eat beef on kummelweck? And should I try Schwabl's or somewhere else?
Source: Flickr User Nickgraywfu
Not my mom, actually. I don't think she made sloppy joes very often — probably because I wasn't especially fond of them, due to my aversion to ketchup. But Andrew's mom is a sloppy joe making pro, so on a recent visit to San Francisco, we requested a command performance.
So I'm trying to branch out. I made vegetarian sloppy joes
with portobello mushrooms to warm up for Linda's ground beef version. Her special recipe, with a satisfying balance of sweetness and zippy onion flavor, is one of the best I've eaten.
To her credit, I photographed the sammies on day two, so they were sloppier the first time around than in these photos. Did your mom make sloppy joes when you were growing up? Tell me about her recipe, and check out more sloppy shots.
Chivitos have been on my sand wish list since I first heard of them, but flying down to Uruguay for a sandwich isn't very practical. Thankfully, my friend Nineveh has a friend named Nick who recently devoured a chivito in Uruguay and was thoughtful enough to take pictures! I don't know Nick, but I like him already. Above is a chivito Nick consumed in Montevideo at Marcos, a sandwich chain specializing on this regional sammie. According to Wikipedia, a chivito typically showcases thinly sliced churrasco beef, bacon, mayo, olives, cheese, and tomatoes on a bun. I'm not sure what exactly is on Nick's sandwich, but I'd still dig into it. Nick, who has Uruguayan roots, also recommends the chivitos from a place called La Passiva. Check out more photos of Nick and his sandwich.
Philippe the Original is a gravy-laden relic of old Los Angeles and the home of one of America's oldest sandwiches: the French dip. According to LA lore, the dip was invented in 1918 by a French immigrant named Philippe Mathieu, though others give credit to the newly reopened P.E. Cole's. Either way, there's no denying that eating a French dip at Philippe's is a singular experience. Click on the photos to read the story.