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What makes for a great sandwich?

Well, what is it?

Is it the bread?

The meats?

The toppings, e.g. lettuce, tomato, sprouts, etc.?

The spread, e.g. mayo, mustard, [insert exotic name] dressing?

Well, of course it's probably a combination of all (and probably some additional) factors listed above.

But, the question I pose is what's the most important thing to making a sandwich great?

For example, with burgers it's pretty easy to say that the patty is the key ingredient. We can all lard our burgers with cheeses, ketchup, mustard, bacon, etc., but it all comes down to the hamburger patty. If the patty ain't good, the best bacon in the world is only going to get you a BLT, not a hamburger.

So, is there a similar defining ingredient for a sandwich?

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  1. What makes a great sandwich? When someone else makes it!! Seriously, I don't know if it's because we had sandwiches too much growing up, but I cannot and most likely will not eat sandwiches at home, unless it's a grilled cheese! However, I love sandwiches at a good sandwich shop! Hamburgers are different- it's definitely all about the patty, and it's definitely all about medium, at the very least!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Katie Nell

      That's exactly what I was thinking...although I'd extend it to if someone at home makes the sandwich.

      It's weird and I have had discussions before with friends. The only thing I came up with was that as a whole, complete, ready to eat package of goodness, handed to you -- it's great and instant. But as a thing you put together, you see the mundane parts and it's not the same and actually somewhat non-appealing.

    2. I have to think about the real answer to this, but in the immediate I thought you might be interested in this thread:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/352245

      Here, the OP makes the argument that fast food burgers are all about the condiments and the patty is just a vehicle. I thought it was an interesting review of a maligned food.

      As for this question, I need to ponder. FWIW, it's not the sprouts ...

      1. Melted Cheese. Almost any sandwich is better with melted cheese.

        1. It has to have outstanding bread. Nothing else matters. If the filling is lousy, you can always dump it and eat the bread.
          It's the BREAD! Enjoy!
          CocoDan

          1 Reply
          1. re: CocoDan

            I was about to say that - BREAD. I didn't realize that until they opened Tony Luke's (Philadelphian import) in NYC. There are tons of places that make cheesesteak sandwiches here, but when Tony Luke's opened here - it was different. The key was the bread, which they supposedly trucked every morning half-baked from somewhere South Jersey. Perfectly crusty on outside and soft and puffy in inside.

          2. The ingredients, of course, but beyond that, a nice even distribution of them so that you get all of that well-crafted goodness in every bite.

            This is actually a pet peeve of mine about New York deli - in all the famous corned beef & pastrami sandwich places (Carnegie, 2nd Ave, etc) the meat is excellent but they serve it as a softball-sized lump in the middle of the bread, leaving the edges bare. Am I the only one who's driven nuts by this?

            2 Replies
            1. re: BobB

              well, that is why they give you extra bread. kinda like the extra tortilla with a taco. you use the extra bread for the spillage. Or...you might want to get your sandwhich on a club roll.

              1. re: BobB

                Right. When you buy a sandwich, you shouldn't have to de/re construct it just to be able to eat it.