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What makes a good ruben

Nick Feb 23, 2003 11:03 AM

I'm going to try to make rubens at home. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on what makes an especially good ruben.

  1. t
    TheFoodDude Feb 23, 2003 01:45 PM

    If you're not jewish, forget about it.

    8 Replies
    1. re: TheFoodDude
      mae Feb 23, 2003 02:11 PM

      make sure your corn beef is lean, nothing worse than fatty chewey sandwiches. Fos a change, sometimes I use coleslaw rather than saurkraut.

      1. re: TheFoodDude
        Nick Feb 23, 2003 02:36 PM

        I am Jewish, thank you very much.

        1. re: TheFoodDude
          Jibe Feb 23, 2003 08:43 PM

          I'm curious. As a lover of Rubens, who is not Jewish, why should I forget about it?

          1. re: Jibe
            Barbara Feb 23, 2003 10:33 PM

            Me too! I love reubens. Does it follow then that only Chinese people should cook Chinese food, only Italians Italian food, etc? Or am I misinterpreting your comment?

          2. re: TheFoodDude
            susanj Feb 24, 2003 05:01 AM

            But if you're Jewish, would you be eating a Reuben? it mixes meat and dairy...

            1. re: susanj
              chino wayne Feb 24, 2003 11:19 AM

              Being Jewish and keeping Kosher are not necessarilly one in the same.

              1. re: chino wayne
                susanj Feb 24, 2003 09:10 PM

                True. But being Jewish (whether Kosher or non) doesn't necessarily give a person the ability to make a good Reuben.

            2. re: TheFoodDude
              Suzanne Feb 24, 2003 10:24 PM

              This is simply an inflammatory statement trying to get a reaction from others. (I'm giving this person the benefit of the doubt that they can't be serious.) Just ignore him and feel better about yourselves. I know I do.

            3. a
              AGM/Cape Cod Feb 23, 2003 02:44 PM

              In addition to good quality ingredients, I prefer my reubens made on a griddle which does not require butter. I have a double sided waffle iron which had a flat side for these kinds of sandwiches. It makes for a crunchy non-greasy sandwich.

              1. c
                Chino Wayne Feb 23, 2003 04:47 PM

                Lean corned beef, sliced so thin you need a micrometer to measure it's thickness. Really good rye bread.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Chino Wayne
                  Kelli2006 Feb 15, 2008 07:35 PM

                  I like seeded rye or pumpernickel, and I prefer to grill it rather then toast it
                  The corned beef must be trimmed of fat and sliced very thin.

                  Please do not use kraut that is out of a can but simmering it in a bit of beer will probably take too long for a spur-of-the-moment Rueben.

                  Aged Gruyère is nice, but a good domestic swiss is acceptable.

                  I prefer to use Dijon or Düsseldorf mustard, but I know that Russian is traditional.

                2. p
                  Pat P Feb 23, 2003 05:05 PM

                  Instead of the typical swiss with holes, I recommend using a good gruyere. Lean pastrami, good rye, and unpasteurized sauerkraut. I agree with a previous poster that a double sided waffle iron is the best for any grilled sandwiches. I don't wish to sound like a promoter, but the Forman Grill is really great for grilled sandwiches (but not much else.) Still, I use my Forman at least once a week, because to get heavenly grilled sandwiches in five minutes, with no mess, is a wonderful thing.

                  1. a
                    applehome Feb 23, 2003 09:28 PM

                    We make ruebens on our electric griddle a lot. I prefer marble rye, a dolop of home made 1000 island or russian dressing on the kraut, swiss, corned beef. The cole slaw version is often called a rachel. I prefer the butter - not too much, but I think it actually helps to crisp up the bread. 1000 island dressing - ketchup, mayo, dill relish and capers.

                    1. g
                      GG Mora Feb 24, 2003 09:48 AM

                      We could all start by spelling it correctly: R-U-E-B-E-N.
                      (Nice work, applehome)

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: GG Mora
                        Suzanne Feb 24, 2003 10:07 AM

                        Ummm, wouldn't that be R-E-U-B-E-N? At least around Baltimore, that's the way we spell it. Folklore is divided between Omaha, Nebraska and Manhattan as home of the Reuben.

                        Link: http://www.uta.fi/FAST/US8/SPEC/foodf...

                        1. re: Suzanne
                          GG Mora Feb 24, 2003 10:23 AM

                          Little Miss Smarty Pants chokes again. R-E-U-B-E-N is the correct spelling.

                          1. re: GG Mora
                            pw Feb 24, 2003 11:01 AM

                            Exactly what I was thinking...der.

                            1. re: pw
                              GG Mora Feb 24, 2003 12:20 PM

                              Was that really necessary?

                              1. re: GG Mora
                                inky Feb 24, 2003 01:56 PM

                                Probably not, but it did give me a hearty chuckle! Let's keep things light!

                        2. re: GG Mora
                          AlanH Feb 24, 2003 10:23 AM

                          Since we're on the topic of incorrect spelling, we might as well get it right:

                          Reu·ben [ rbn ] (plural Reu·bens) or Reu·ben sand·wich (plural Reu·ben sand·wich·es)

                          corned beef sandwich on rye: a grilled sandwich of rye bread filled with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing

                          [Mid-20th century. Origin uncertain: possibly named for the U.S. grocer Reuben Kulakofsky (died 1960).]

                        3. k
                          Kathryn Callaghan Feb 24, 2003 09:57 AM

                          Just in case you're from NYC, I'll add that the 1000 island dressing is necessary. I wouldn't have thought to mention it before I moved to NYC. While I lived there I actually gave up ordering rubens at restaurants, as I was invariably served sandwiches without the magic ingredient. Maybe the concept didn't make it to the east coast intact. (Wasn't the ruben invented in Kansas City? Or am I mistaken?)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kathryn Callaghan
                            chino wayne Feb 24, 2003 11:23 AM

                            A Reuben with Thousand Island is a wonderful thing. A corned beef on good corn rye, with coleslaw and *Russian* dressing is a wonderful thing too.

                          2. 2
                            2chez mike Feb 24, 2003 12:37 PM

                            Sometimes I like them open faced. A thick slice of toasted jewish rye on the bottom slathered with Russian Dressing. Then a good mound of deli or home cooked corned beef(I like some fat marbled in my corned beef). Top that with you favorite sauerkraut and then a few slices of aged swiss cheese. Place the whole thing in a 350 oven for around fifteen minutes or until heated through. If you like the cheese a little browned, finish it off under the broiler for a minute.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: 2chez mike
                              Midlife Feb 15, 2008 07:50 PM

                              Was just going to post that I DON'T like open-faced Reubens. Just seems like way too much cheese and not the way it's supposed to be. Funny.

                            2. n
                              Norm Feb 24, 2003 06:14 PM

                              I remember David Rosengarten on his Food TV show "Taste" made his version of a great Reuben Sandwich.

                              First, Rosengarten only toasted one side (the outside half) of his rye bread. He like the texture better and avoided the oil from grilling the sandwich.

                              Then, he steamed the corn beef and swiss cheese to warm the meat and melt the cheese.

                              To assemble the Reuben, he spread Thousand Island Dressing on the untoasted sides of the rye bread. Place the heated corn beef and melted swiss cheese on the rye bread. Put some warm 'kraut on top and topped with the other slice of rye. Slice and serve.

                              1. s
                                Stanley Stephan Feb 24, 2003 07:54 PM

                                Hmmmm ... saurkraut and tofu. I'm not there yet.

                                Link: http://www.vegweb.com/frames/food/san...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Stanley Stephan
                                  b grubbs Feb 24, 2003 09:55 PM

                                  I've had vegetarian Reubens made w/ Tempeh at a couple of different delis that I found pretty tasty (though they probably only kind of resemble real Reubens). With a can of Cel-Ray, though, who cares?

                                  1. re: Stanley Stephan
                                    suz Feb 24, 2003 10:39 PM

                                    If you're ever in LA, you have to try the tofu reuben at Figtree's Cafe on the boardwalk in Venice. Delicious! (The rest of their menu--blahhh.) But oh that tofu reuben! : )

                                  2. r
                                    Ric Feb 25, 2003 05:33 AM

                                    Just a couple of thoughts...
                                    I have searched high and low to find a commercially bottled Russian dressing, and only occasionally come upon Ken's Steak House brand Russian Dressing. Sometimes I have the local Publix Supermarket (I'm in Florida) special-order Ken's Steak House brand. I think there is a bottled so-called Russian that is a thick, red-colored goop, but I wouldn't put it on a Reuben. I have come to believe that the "original" Reuben had Russian Dressing, and I love 'em that way.

                                    I ran across a website (members.cox.net/jjschnebel/threuben.html) that said, "The most common substitution is 'Thousand Island Dressing' for 'Russian Dressing.' However, since few cooks today bother with chopped egg in 'Thousand Island' or bits of pimento in 'Russian Dressing,' the usual is actually just a mixture of mayonaise and chili sauce (ketchup and pickle relish)."

                                    When I see "Reuben" on the menu of a good deli/restaurant, I will always ask what kind of dressing they use. If the server says "Thousand Island," I'll pass it by. One very popular deli/restaurant in Florida states right on the menu, "Russian Dressing." I got into a conversation about it with the manager, and he proudly brought out the wholesale-size jar from the back. Uh oh...clearly labeled "Thousand Island." I didn't say a word, neither did the manager- I guess it was "Russian" to him.

                                    While the topic is Reubens, I have also learned that a "Corned Beef Special" in the Philadelphia area is: corned beef, swiss, cole slaw, and Russian, on rye.

                                    A "Turkey Joe" (aka "Sloppy Joe," but not the Manwich ground beef kind) probably originated at the Town Hall Delicatessen in South Orange NJ, and consists of: 3 slices of rye bread, sliced to order, swiss cheese slices, cole slaw, and Russian Dressing. Pile on the layers. Variation: cross-cut the "Turkey Joe" for 4 finger food-size sandwiches.

                                    Pepper's New York Deli offers the following (They say, "Please order by number."): 29)Brooklyn Bridge Reuben: Corned Beef, Pastrami, swiss, sauerkraut, cole slaw, Russian dressing, grilled on rye; 89) Williamsburg Bridge Reuben: Turkey, swiss, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, grilled on rye; 90) George Washington Bridge: Ham, swiss, cole slaw, Russian dressing, grilled on rye; 91) Queensburg Bridge Reuben: Prime roast beef, swiss, cole slaw, Russian dressing, grilled on rye; 94) Veggie Reuben: Swiss, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers, onions, toasted on rye.

                                    I think regional variations are interesting.

                                    (p.s. "Battle of the origins": 1914, Arnold Reuben at Reuben's, a deli at Madison Ave. and 59th, NYC, vs. 1920-1935, Reuben Kay, Omaha Nebraska- created during the regular weekly poker game, vs. 1956, Ms. Fern Snider, taking first place in the National Kraut Packers Association sandwich contest. Who knows?)

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Ric
                                      Mrs. Smith Feb 25, 2003 04:14 PM

                                      What is the difference between Russian Dressing and Thousand Island?

                                      I always thought Russian was like a darker red smooth dressing (darker than the bottled "French" dressings), while Thousand Island is mayo-based. Sounds like that's what you're saying too, but could you just clarify exactly what the difference is for me?

                                      1. re: Mrs. Smith
                                        Ric Feb 25, 2003 09:20 PM

                                        The diff between Russian and Thousand Island? Wellll, I hate to admit it, after my last post, but..."not much." In my too-much-time-on-my-hands search for the "perfect" Russian Dressing, I've run across lots of Thousand Island recipes and Russian Dressing recipes that are nearly identical. Probably why nobody asks for "Russian Dressing" anymore, when "Thousand" is so widely available, commercially.
                                        That 'jjschnebel' website I mentioned says it boils down to chopped egg in one (Thousand) and pimiento in the other (Russian).
                                        The commercial bottles I have in the 'fridge: Ken's Steak House Russian is slightly more orange than the pale Thousand Island. I don't like the deep orangy-reddish glop that is sometimes the only stuff with the name, 'Russian Dressing' in the supermarket. (Don't know the brand name there.)

                                        If you're still with me, let me post here three Russian Dressing recipes and two Thousand Island recipes, for comparison. And none of my Russian examples happen to have pimiento (and one 'Russian' has chopped eggs....).

                                        From the Supermarket Cookbook, 1955:
                                        RUSSIAN DRESSING-
                                        1/2 cup mayonaise
                                        1/2 cup chili sauce
                                        1 tablespoon each of chopped green pepper and chopped onion or chives.

                                        (same page, Supermarket Cookbook):
                                        THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING-
                                        1/2 cup mayonaise
                                        1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
                                        1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
                                        1 chopped hard-cooked egg
                                        1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
                                        2 tablespoons chopped cooked beets
                                        1 tablespoon chopped onion
                                        1/2 teaspoon minced parsley
                                        2 tablespoons chili sauce

                                        Combine ingredients and mix well. Yield: 1+1/4 cups.

                                        From Betty Crocker's Cookbook- Special Edition, 1976:
                                        RUSSIAN DRESSING:
                                        Mix 1/2 cup Mayonaise,
                                        1/4 cup chili sauce, and
                                        a few drops onion juice.
                                        If desired, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice
                                        (Yield) 3/4 cup.

                                        (From same page, Betty Crocker):
                                        THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING:
                                        Mix 1/2 cup Mayonaise,
                                        1 tablespoon chili sauce,
                                        1 tablespoon chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
                                        1 teaspoon snipped olives,
                                        1 hard-cooked egg, chopped,
                                        1/4 teaspoon paprika, and
                                        salt and pepper to taste
                                        If desired, thin with whipping cream.
                                        (Yield): 3/4 cup.

                                        Ric's note:
                                        Some perishable ingredients, so use it quickly enough, with common sense and safety in mind.

                                        As I was typing this in, I realized one reason why I might prefer making a batch of Russian over Thousand- it's simpler!

                                        And I ran across Sheila Lukens' USA Cookbook version of Russian Salad Dressing, which includes a hard-cooked egg, so go figure!
                                        3/4 cup mayonaise
                                        3 Tablespoons ketchup
                                        1+1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
                                        1 hard-cooked egg, finely chopped
                                        Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use, up to 8 hours.
                                        Makes about 1 cup.

                                        Sheila Lukens also says the first written recipe for Russian Dressing appeared in 1922, and contained pimientos and bell peppers.

                                        If this is still the "Reuben" thread, I will close with the advice that whatever dressing you make should be put into service on your own very special variation of Reuben sandwich!!!!! Enjoy!!!!

                                        1. re: Mrs. Smith
                                          Midlife Feb 15, 2008 08:03 PM

                                          From Wikipedia:

                                          It may have a base of ketchup, mayonnaise, or yogurt, although the latter two ingredients are today more associated with Thousand Island dressing. Earlier historical recipes claiming to be Russian dressing usually do have a base of mayonnaise, and are in fact indistinguishable from modern Thousand Island dressing.

                                          Ingredients may also include horseradish, pimentos, chives and various additional spices.

                                          I can remember a train trip I took with an Aunt, from New York to Portland one summer. We stopped somewhere and ordered something (probably a salad) with Russian Dressing. The server looked at us like we were Communists....... of course this was probably in the late 50's.

                                      2. n
                                        nemrac Feb 15, 2008 11:20 AM

                                        Besides using a good quality rye bread, I always use Frank's Sweet Bavarian Style Sauerkraut with caraway. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can to keep your grilled rye crisp. I'm getting hungry....

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: nemrac
                                          applehome Feb 15, 2008 02:59 PM

                                          Your posting on a 5 year old thread. Here's a more recent conversation:


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