How-To: Make The Best Sandwich Ever…Maybe

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How-To: Make The Best Sandwich Ever…Maybe

shooter-sandwich-steak-1Photos: J. Kenji López-Alt

The shooter’s sandwich is an internet-famous concoction that consists of beef Wellington nestled with mushrooms, onions, mustard, and horseradish, in the ingeniously accommodating sanctuary of a hollowed out loaf of crusty bread. The whole thing is then wrapped in paper and weighed down overnight so that it can then be easily packed and neatly sliced into pieces to be shared during an outdoorsy excursion, like a hunting trip.


After seeing lots of pictures and boasts about this sandwich, J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats decided to try the sandwich that The Gaurdian’s food writer called “the best sandwich ever” for himself. Despite its handy mobility, López-Alt found the sandwich lacking because it didn’t improve the experience of having the ingedients in their original, hot, non-sandwich form.

So what’s the problem? It’s simply this: the shooter’s sandwich violates the primary directive of a great sandwich, and that is that a sandwich must be greater than the sum of its parts. It must combine flavors and textures in a synergistic way. Other than its portability, a shooters sandwich is no better than consuming a great steak on its own, or some good sautéed mushrooms on their own.

According to López-Alt, the premise of the shooter’s sandwich is promising, but the sandwich’s expensive, and labor-intensive, filling belongs on a dinner plate, rather than a clever bread container.

Now, there’s without doubt some merit to its portability—a gentleman needs to be well-fed while he’s out on a fox hunt, after all—but if portability and deliciousness are what we care about, then there are certainly better ways to make large-format, heavily-pressed, eminently portable sandwiches than this particular combination. Ways that elevate and combine less costly ingredients in a synergistic manner rather than debasing expensive ones.

So, instead of putting your dinner leftovers into tupperware at night, maybe try stuffing a hollowed out loaf of bread with that chicken curry, then wrap it up, weigh it down overnight, and throw it in your lunch bag the next morning. It seems like it’s time to start experimenting, because leftover dinners have always made the best sandwiches ever if you ask me.

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Artist, writer, and teacher who makes work about popular culture, technology, and traditional craft processes.

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