I Won the Encyclopedia of Sandwiches Challenge, because your favorite sandwich sucks

I’m sure most of you saw the “What Sandwich Are You?” meme that was traveling around the internet earlier this week. Which, to me, really wasn’t good enough, because:

  1. I don’t think you should have to restrict yourself to just one sandwich.
  2. Some of these sandwiches need to be put in their place.

So I decided that it was necessary to rank these, 1-40, and make sure these sandwiches know which of them just don’t make the grade.

(I realize that I’m making the sandwiches anthropomorphic characters by shaming them…but that was their decision when they decided to become a sandwich.)

(This list is already somewhat discredited by the fact that the greatest sandwich in the world, muffuletta, is nowhere to be found, but you have to dance with the sandwich list you brung to the dance…)

SANDWICHES THAT DESERVE TO BE HUMANELY DESTROYED

40. Liverwurst

I’m always amazed that there’s the part of the deli section in the grocery store that has all of the “reject meats” (head cheese, olive loaf, liverwurst, etc.). Are they doing this because Big Liverwurst has incriminating photos of the head of the Deli Meat Slicer Union? Is there some sort of Dagwood Bumstead Appreciation Society that comes in during the early morning hours and wipes them out of it? Regardless, this is disgusting and should never be eaten.

39. Cucumber Tea

Has anyone in America not named Boopsy or Snifsy, or aspiring to compete socially with said Boopsy, ever eaten this abomination?

38. Bocadillo

Bread, rubbed with raw tomatoes? Ooh, I want all of the seedy slimy flavor of a tomato, without any of the meat of the tomato, because it gets in the way of the raw slime. Sign me up!

37. Bologna

I used to eat bologna when I was 7, and I mostly attribute it to my mom maybe hating me…at least that’s what came out in therapy…with the nasty aftertaste, no one should be touching this stuff.

36. Veggie & Hummus

Is this a real sandwich? Like, I want to eat crudites and hummus in mass quantities, and I haven’t been invited to a party in months where they would serve them, so I bought a mini tray at the market and shoved them between slices of bread to make it socially acceptable?

35. Jambon Beurre

Ham and salted butter? My god, does it come with a complimentary IV drip to re-hydrate you?

SANDWICHES THAT ARE JUST EXCUSES TO PUT RANDOM VEGETABLES ON BREAD

34. Falafel Pita

Yeah, I know that falafel is not a vegetable, just a vegetarian fritter, and jamming it inside a pita with a few vegetables doesn’t make it any better.

33. Caprese

For people that want a “sophisticated grilled cheese”, but with runny tomato goo in the middle.

(I’m not much on the raw tomato thing, if you can tell.)

32. BLT

Me: I’d like to get a bacon cheeseburger with everything.

Waitress: Great…ooh, but we’re out of burgers…and cheese…and buns…but I could put the rest on some white toast!

Me: What?

(to be continued…)

SANDWICHES FOR PEOPLE THAT DON’T WANT TO PUT ANY THOUGHT INTO IT

31. Turkey club

Waitress: And I could add some sad turkey slices and cut them into quarters and stab each one with a fancy toothpick!

Me: What?

Waitress: I’ll have Mr. Hedberg explain it to you.

30. Ham and Cheese

95% of all sandwich ham falls between slightly below mediocre and just plain mediocre. Except for Boars Head Habanero Ham, that seriously rules. I mean, if that’s all I had to choose from, or my other option was sad turkey, I would probably eat it…but I wouldn’t go there again.

INTERNATIONAL SANDWICHES THAT WILL GET ME IN TROUBLE FOR NOT LIKING

29. Gyro

You can call it lamb, but to me it’s just decent mystery meat in a pita with average creamy cucumber yogurt sauce.

28. Torta

I’ll confess that I probably haven’t had the right tortas, but what I’ve had seems to be just chewy bread with a variety of meat and cheese. Plus, beans on a sandwich? Nuh uh, I make enough of a mess of myself as is.

POSER SANDWICH ALERT!!

27. French Dip

In theory, this should be a pretty good sandwich. Roast beef with roast beef drippings sauce. Two big problems:

  1. 7 times out of 10, the sauce turns out to be super oversalted
  2. Soggy sandwiches are rarely appealing

SANDWICH PEOPLE LOSE THEIR MIND OVER THAT DOES NOTHING FOR ME

26. Po Boy

Again, tomatoes and shredded lettuce are no-nos here, so it’s just fried seafood and mayo sauce and bread. And that’s ok, I’m just good with having those elements separately.

SANDWICH THAT SOUNDS GREAT BUT IS WAY TOO TRICKY TO PUT TOGETHER SUCCESSFULLY

25. Bacon Egg and Cheese

So, you have to, in the space of maybe four minutes, toast your bread, fry adequately crispy bacon, and cook the egg just right. Anything less, and it’s all for nothing. Plus, then you’ve got the issue of eating a sandwich with a runny egg, so most of it is probably fork and knifing it, which is fine, but then you might as well make bacon and eggs with toast.

SANDWICHES THAT ARE JUST BREAD WITH GOOEY STUFF OVER THEM

24. Hot Brown

Taking a couple slices of bread and covering them with turkey and a half gallon of cream sauce does not qualify as a sandwich. Plus, the sauce is usually too salty, but if they put it under a broiler and crisp the top a bit…I don’t hate them for that.

23. Croque Monsieur

I don’t know what Hot Brown is in French, but they might as well call it that instead of Croque Monsieur.

22. Croque Madame

Add an egg to it, and you’ve got French Hot Brown with L’oeufs (oh yeah, Google Translate for the win!)

PERFECTLY PASSABLE SANDWICHES WHEN YOU WANT TO FEEL LIKE A KID

21. PB&J

Even with room temperature peanut butter, I still find it hard to spread it without ripping the bread. But it’s simple and tasty, and works best with the most basic jelly, like Welch’s grape.

Never buy the jars with the peanut butter and jelly in it though, or I will hunt you down.

20. Grilled Cheese

Again, if you use mayonnaise instead of butter to coat the outside of the bread like every hipster tells you to, it’s a hunt you down situation. No, plain white bread, Kraft singles, and lots of salted butter are the only acceptable ingredients.

SANDWICHES THAT CAN GO WRONG VERY EASILY, A LITTLE MAYO CATEGORY

19. Tonkatsu

Mayo isn’t necessarily a key ingredient here, but since it’s an ingredient I technically have to include it in the mayo category…because we’re all about following rules here. Anyways, tonkatsu is a pretty simple sandwich. And when you have a simple sandwich, you can’t miss on a single element. That said, even a bad fried pork cutlet is still pretty decent.

SANDWICHES THAT CAN GO WRONG VERY EASILY, MORE MAYO CATEGORY

18. Lobster Roll

The good thing about this sandwich: I never realized you could split a hot dog bun down the middle. Grilling it with butter is also a wonderful thing.

The bad things about this sandwich: if you don’t live in New England, you’re either getting an all-filler/no-thriller salad, or you’re paying $20 for a smallish bun.

16-17. Egg Salad/Chicken Salad

This is a dangerous group, because it’s almost entirely dependent on the mayo content, and whether the maker of the sandwich understands that mayo has no flavor content and needs to be well-seasoned. Also, some chicken salad has grapes and those people should be shot. That said, when done well, quite tasty.

15. Tuna Salad

Some of the same issues with the above salads, except that I find that people tend to get less cute with tuna than they do with chicken, so the quality is usually better. And when you add cheese and griddle it in butter…this needs to be on more menus.

SANDWICHES WHERE IT STARTS GETTING HARDER TO MAKE FUN OF THEM, BUT STILL AREN’T ELITE

14. Cheesesteak

The only reason this isn’t higher is because very few places do this the right way, actually cooking it on a griddle and instead just sauteing everything. Which is still pretty good. Also, any sandwich that people legitimately use Cheez Whiz on can’t be considered a top shelf sandwich.

13. Roast Beef

It’s like the ham and cheese, except you decided to make a sandwich that tells someone you love them, instead of one that you give them before you tell them that you’re writing them out of your will.

12. Bahn Mi

As has been explored previously, not everyone is a fan of this sandwich. But when it’s done right, with well cooked meats and pickled vegetables, they are fantastic.

Also, some of them have liver pate on them, so no elite status for you.

11. Monte Cristo

Some of this is a nostalgia play. I spent seven miserable weeks many years ago waiting tables at Bennigan’s. The only good memory of that place was that they had a monstrously beautiful Monte Cristo. Deep fried french toast stuffed with turkey & ham (both meats that I’ve maligned earlier, but they weren’t fried, so fuck ’em) and cheese was just a beautiful thing. But I won’t hate people that say the french toast sandwich thing isn’t for them.

10. Meatball

This is basically an excuse to eat a lot of meatballs and cheese with bread. It’s a good excuse.

9. Thanksgiving

Whomever decided to take all of the Thanksgiving leftovers and throw them between two slices of bread was a fucking genius. Done right, there’s taste and texture balance that makes you glad you spent three days cooking for family. And Monica Geller’s addition of the moistmaker is next level. The only weird thing is that, if you add stuffing/dressing, you’re eating bread between bread.

Also, the moistmaker got really dark…

8. Bagel & Lox

True story: when I was a kid, I used to use butter instead of cream cheese as my add-on for my bagel & lox sandwich. How I did not die form sodium overdose is beyond me. Nowadays, if you can find me a really good bagel (not the easiest thing to do in Texas), I’m sure I could source some quality lox and be a very, very happy boy. The above also neglects to mention the capers, which in my mind are a necessity. Oh, also, fuck that tomato.

SANDWICHES THAT BELONG IN ANOTHER STRATOSPHERE

7. Patty Melt

I was honestly surprised when I put this together, because I can’t remember the last time I’ve had one of these. Mostly because it’s rarely on menus, which seems ridiculous to me, because it’s not like it’s too difficult to make. Cook a burger, grill some onions, slap it in between two slices of bread and griddle it in a mountain of butter, is that a bad thing?

6. Italian Sub

To be fair, most Italian subs are a series of somewhat indistinguishable salty meats, piled onto a sub roll. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. Plus, you rarely get a scrawny Italian sub, probably because there’s usually a minimum of three meats on one of them. My go-to order when I go to a sub shop.

5. Pulled Pork

The only negative about this sandwich is, at some point during the consumption, it morphs from a pulled pork sandwich into a pulled pork plate. I’ve never seen anyone eating the entire sandwich as a sandwich. It’s still pretty awesome though.

4. Fried Chicken

Five years ago, I wouldn’t have thought much of one of these. But then hot chicken became a huge thing, and everyone started to up their fried chicken game, and then Popeye’s entered the chat and made everyone lose their shit, and that’s made us all better for it.

3. Italian Beef

The last one time I went to Chicago, I went straight to Portillo’s for a big ass Italian beef sandwich. If you haven’t had one of their roasted and slices beef sandwiches with a ton of hot giardiniera, and dipped into a pot of beef jus (the only timeI will violate my anti-soggy sandwich stance), you have not lived.

(And I’m sure some hipster will be sending me emails, telling me how Portillo’s is mass produced crap and there’s some hole in the wall that’s only open on prime number days between 3:17 and 7:13 that does it way better. To which I would say, great, and that means it’s even better than I thought it would be!)

2. Reuben

At what point in American history has anyone ordered a Reuben, eaten it, and said, I wish I’d ordered something else? It hasn’t. Ever. No one has ever walked away from one disappointed. Corned beef and sauerkraut and Swiss cheese (which makes it so un-kosher yet every Jewish deli loves to make these)…how could anyone ever hate these? It would be the king of all sandwiches…except for…

  1. The Cuban Sandwich

I had never heard of this gem until maybe 15 years ago- I blame Castro for that. Regardless, of all the breads that have a nationality in front of it, Cuban bread reigns supreme. And not a lot of places carry this, because, frankly, it’s not one that just anyone can make. You have to roast the pork well, source yourself some good bread, find decent ham but whatever with that, and be willing to take up a decent amount of griddle space to butter and press the shit out of that thing. Gimme all the Cubans you can get me.

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