I had to make ones on Light Rye bread with no sauerkraut for the more "pansy" members of my family…. you know who you are!
The whole thing with the Reuben sandwich controversy is mostly because it has to be an actual fact (i.e. a menu with a date, cookbook, contest, newspaper article/review) and not just an apocryphal story. So thats why it’s not easy to place the true origin.
The whole "Earl of sandwich" Kulakofsky story sounds like total B.S. to me. The Seelos/Chaplin one is not much better.
I’m sorry to have no facts to add…Just more stories.
Keep in mind that I was a kid and my Gramma would exaggerate often.
I do remember vividly how my grandparents both loved to eat Reuben’s.
My grandmother used to tell us her sister Fern Brooks (Fern Snider) invented the Reuben.
She said Fern worked as a waitress (she made it sound like she was really young like a teen or before she was married) at the Blackstone Hotel Omaha. She told us about the national sandwich contest and Fern’s trip to New York.
She also said that the Reuben had been around years before the contest and was very popular thats why Fern entered it.
Lots of people even family did not believe Reuben’s were from Omaha and Gramma would get real mad at them… and also add that butter brickle ice cream was from the Blackstone Hotel too. We never heard any stories about the ice cream though.
I did ask my Grandma when I was grown, about her sister but sadly she would just smile and say "thats right" and have no facts to add.
Boy my Grandma sure did love Reuben’s, she would ALWAYS order one if it was on the menu… in Omaha thats a lot of places. I still think of her when I eat/cook em.
It has been a family tradition to eat these on my birthday(St. Patrick’s day) since I was a tike.
Seek out the the best ingredients to get the best flavor!
Try to get a point cut brisket from a real butcher or deli rather than the vacuum sealed thing in the chain grocery stores. If you are unable to do this do use the vacuum sealed one throw away that little flavorless packet thing and season it yourself as you see fit. I like to use a dry rub of lots of fresh ground pepper, then caraway seeds,kosher salt, Hungarian paprika (hot). Then brown it with olive oil to get it started in a large cast iron skillet. add rosemary, thyme and garlic after it is browned care not to burn the herbs and garlic. Keep in mind it is well raw and nowhere near throughly cooked through (you can not cook a tough cut of meat like this on the stovetop) pre-browing it just brings out more flavor and fat to help it in the crock pot. I will coarse chop (no long pieces though) half of a cabbage and put that in the crock pot and turn it on low. Add your brisket with all the fat drippings to the crock pot and then it will slow cook transforming it from a disgusting flabbity piece of gross undercooked meat hunk, into a delicious savory tender mouth watering addictive thing of marvelous beauty!
Bread: use this as a excuse to seek out local bakeries and try to find a quality bread.
Rule of thumb for bread: chain store=bad local bakery=awesome! What you will generally find in a chain grocery will not do your sandwich justice, look for something made at a local bakery(I spent my childhood tagging along with my grandfather who was a lifelong baker and would constantly visit other local bakeries just to make friends and seek out quality breads).
Upscale grocery stores will have a better bread choice if that is your only option.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, German Pumpernickel, Jewish Rye, Light Rye, American Rye.
Make your own 1000 Island dressing which is easy it will taste better.
I make my own every time and it is always delicious because I make it to taste, guaranteeing it is always good.
Cheese: I’m not too picky, usually any Emmental Swiss is good Try to find something not too sharp with too much cheese funk, Baby Swiss is ok, Look for Swiss that has smaller holes and is not aged so long.
Sourkraut: find one you like, no need to be too picky here.
try to drain it as much a humanly possible so it does not waterlog your sandwich.
Cooking the Sandwich: Which is a very important step.
It should be delicious if all your ingredients are good. If your cooking for more than 2/3 people then use two large cast iron pans, I like EVOO instead of butter. Very important you must preheat! but too hot=burned sandwich, while too cold= soggy bread. So preheat the pans, yoiu should be able to feel slightly uncomfortable heat if you place your hand 3 inches above them. Add enough EVOO to coat the pan(if your oil is smoking your pan is too hot). The cast iron hold heat well but still try not to over crowd the pan maybe 2 per pan if it is large.
Last thing when you make your sandwitches do not try to make them heaping huge piles like fred flintstone style, balance of ingredients is important. If you add too much to them they will fall apart and not heat up as well in the center. ig is good but keep in mind if it is super huge it will not fit in your mouth hole.
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