HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Reubens complaint

I cant stand Thousand Island dressing on my Reuben sand wich. It turns something glorious into a overlly sweet , gloppy mess. Alocal deli in town uses a schmear of spicy brown mustard and one of mayo. Its not bad , but I still prefer mustard only. What do the other chowhounds think?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. it's certainly your prerogative to eat a sandwich any way you want to, but if it doesn't have Thousand Island or Russian Dressing, it's not a Reuben.

    6 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Oooohh, food fight! Food fight! And a patty melt on anything but rye bread isn't a patty melt, and a lobster roll on a side-split bun isn't a lobster roll... Since the Reuben was a carefully invented sandwich concocted from a limited number of very specific ingredients, I'm inclined to agree with goodhealthgourmet on this point, much more than in the case of the pattymelt, whose history is perhaps unknowable and whose makeup varies from place to place.

      1. re: Will Owen

        Will, I roll up lobster meat with butter in a warm flour tortilla. Does that make it a southwestern lobster roll? I also put boiled crawfish in them, with a little butter dipped in juices squeezed from the head, very delicious. Our local Kroger and HEB grocers make fresh tortillas in store, much better than the packaged stuff.

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        While I agree with you in general, I can sympathize with the OP. If they're slathering commercial sickly-sweet 1000 Islands on the sandwich, I wouldn't be happy either. And a Russian dressing (there are hundreds of recipes available on the net!) is basically some mayo, a bit of ketchup, and then some ingredients (grated onion, lemon juice, vinegar, Worcester sauce, etc. -take your pick) to sharpen it up, not make it into dessert. Honestly, how hard is that for anything but a fast food place?

        1. re: KevinB

          Home made thousand for me which is simple to make. I only use that. for my reubens.

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Sorry, yes goodhealth, thousand island or russian, thousand for me. Otherwise no way a reuben. I don't drown it however. and it certainly isn't gooey or sloopy. It is grilled cripsy, good beef and nice, never gloppy at all. I hate that as well.

          Yes, I love thousand for this.

          My secret. I lightly toast the inside first then put the sauce on, cheese, meat, kraut, and more cheese and then more sauce then top bread.. By lightly toasting the inside, in doesn't allow the bread to get soggy. Then butter the outside bread and toast. No soggy bread for me.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Ditto. Grill the Reuben with thousand island inside and serve a little more on the side.

          2. Jfood is a huge russian dressing fan on sandwiches, but it has to be the correct sandwich. And a Reuben falls into this category. The other sandwich in which RD is an important component is the true Sloppy Joe. And that is the NJ Sloppy Joe as seen in this picture.

            http://www.seriouseats.com/2007/08/se...

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfood

              Roast Beef and Russian was a deli standard in my youth; still works well.

            2. sounds like you're talking about diner, foodservice, sugary, 1000 island glop. I much prefer real 1000 island which is only as sweet as you choose to make it. I'm in the camp that a reuben needs 1k island, but only the good stuff - nothing sweet, thank you. As a sort of tangent, but along the same lines, I still have no idea why so many ppl prefer sugary tartar sauce. Fish covered in sugar is not really my cup of tea.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gordeaux

                I don't make reubens that often but I do make my thousands fresh, same with tarter. I don't mind a couple of bottled dressings on hand, ranch and balsamic (my Publix grocery store brand) but thousand is one I like only fresh made.

              2. So without the dressing we're to call a rueben a corned beef, cheese and sauerkraut sandwich? Hmmm. What other sandwiches depend completely on condiments for their identity? :)

                33 Replies
                  1. re: pesto

                    To you and grampart: which/what is the "condiment"? "PB&J" is like "ham and cheese"...

                    Ham and cheese and ? I would argue that any condiment with ham and cheese still makes it a "ham and cheese" sandwich. PB&J +?; not so sure.

                    1. re: Scargod

                      My thought (and I was just having fun) was that jelly is the condiment to peanut butter or peanut butter is the condiment to jelly.

                    1. re: bbqboy

                      The French Dip - without the au jus it's just roast beef. The Italian Beef - without the giardina it's also just roast beef. The Chicago Hot dog - without the salad of toppings, it's just a hot dog.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        ghg, you've picked up on a pet peeve of mind. I can't stand restaurants who advertise "roast beef served with au jus sauce". The absolute worst was a place whose menu offered a "roast beef sandwich with fresh beef au jus sauce". The kicker came when I asked my waitress later about the jus, and she admitted it came from a mix.

                        1. re: KevinB

                          it drives me NUTS. and i didn't mean to pick on ReggieL, or, for that matter, anyone else who unwittingly uses the term incorrectly. as you pointed out, restaurants do it on their menus all the time, so of course people who see it used that way are going to assume it's correct. (unless they have some familiarity with French or a solid foundation of knowledge for culinary terms).

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I realize that an authentic French Dip is dipped in the cooking jus the problem is that there is not a restaurant today that does it that way - ok, Philippe's in LA still does it that way. I'm pretty sure that the picture that most people get of a french dip is the one where the sandwich is served dry with a little cup of salty beef whatever served on the side. Is it right - no, it's disgusting. But I'm pretty sure that that is what most people picture as authentic.

                            1. re: ReggieL.

                              Brennan and Carr on Avenue U in Brooklyn.

                              1. re: phantomdoc

                                My husband took me to this wondrous, beefy place a few years ago. I am not a fan of wet, soggy bread under normal circumstances, but Brennan and Carr's did something magical to it... Really was a tasty treat!

                              2. re: ReggieL.

                                The entire city of Chicgo's beef sammich stands still do it correctly. However, these are not called "french dips" and the diners that do these French Dips probably do it the foodservice (incorrect) way also.

                                1. re: gordeaux

                                  I just had am amazing French dip from Les Halle in NYC -
                                  It tasted truly "authentic" at least in my mind what authentic should taste like! The Jus was so delicate yet so tasty.....yummmmm

                                2. re: ReggieL.

                                  Mmmmm...My dad and I just went to Phillippe's on Fathers Day. Always a winner...

                                  1. re: ReggieL.

                                    ReggieL, i think you misunderstood my comment....i was talking about your terminology/usage. it's served with jus, not "au jus." drop the "au."

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      granted my french maynot be perfect, but find me a menu anywhere in the continental US that says differently. I'm not arguing proper french, just the accepted use of the term when referring to this particular sandwich. How many people refer to Korbel as Champagne. Same argument.

                                      1. re: ReggieL.

                                        >>How many people refer to Korbel as Champagne. Same argument.<<
                                        A losing one?

                                        Sorry, I couldn't resist. Also, ReggieL - I think everyone pretty much agrees with what you've said - we all know it's incorrect usage, but it's used all the time. you should have ended your post with "Same difference." Bonus points if you could have used the term "irregardless" also.

                                        :-)

                                        1. re: gordeaux

                                          and a triple word score if he had managed to sneak in "anyways" as well ;)

                                          1. re: gordeaux

                                            Irregardless not standard form being a double negative. Somewhat akin to the word flammable. The in part of inflammable does not mean that it will not burn. I have no problem with mustard on a Reuben. I can really go for a bowl of soup de jour. I can't pass this up on a menu. How about an Apple Martini or Tuna carpaccio.

                                            1. re: phantomdoc

                                              If it has mustard on it, it is NOT a Reuben. It doesn't matter if you think it is the greatest sandwich in the world, and have no problem with it. Indeed, it may be the greatest sandwich in the world. No problem. But it is NOT, I REPEAT, NOT a Reuben. Period. If you want to qualify the term, as in "mustard reuben", OK, kind of like apple martini.

                                              1. re: phantomdoc

                                                I also can't pass up that sushi that doesn't come with rice...what's it called? Oh yeah, sashimi. The sushi without the rice.
                                                Hmmm...now that I thought about it, I shouldn't of wrote that. I must of had too many glasses of this great Californian champagne, or one too many chocolate martinis today.

                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                  Yes for me, I love Californian champagne. I should of drunk some with my last Reuben and creamy soup. My famous Palin's Got Nothing on Me chili-lime-chocolate martini also, I love it. Simple and easy, why not? Sometimes garnish with grilled mango. '-P

                                            2. re: ReggieL.

                                              >>>find me a menu anywhere in the continental US that says differently

                                              Rising to the challenge, I suggest you take a look at the menu here (under the sandwich, etc. category):

                                              http://www.philippes.com/

                                              1. re: ReggieL.

                                                as i said, i wasn't specifically picking on you. but the perpetuation of incorrect usage, whether by restaurants or consumers, doesn't make it right. in fact, it just contributes to the further deterioration of the language. instead of encouraging it, i'd personally rather do my part to correct the misuse, error, misunderstanding, or whatever else you want to call it, when i happen to see it.

                                            3. re: ReggieL.

                                              A steakhouse would serve real au jus. It is not rocket science, but you do need to be serving beef that you are handcutting to make a good au jus. You need prime rib bones that have been cracked (to get to the marrow)... meat scraps. veggies...

                                          2. re: KevinB

                                            It's even worse when they treat au jus as a single word, as in "roast beef with aujus", which I have seen more than once.

                                            1. re: KevinB

                                              My best friend and I became best friends, officially, when we were at a restaurant, and I ordered the prime rib that the menu said is served "with au jus." The plate came--no jus. I looked at my plate and exclaimed, "Hey, my steak didn't come with with with juice!" She declared her everlasting affection for me then and there.

                                          3. re: bbqboy

                                            It does depend on the condiments with a reuben. The 1000 island mellows the shapness of the kraut. Nustard certainly would not. OP needs to find another source for a reuben.

                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                              Hey Sal

                                              I answered your question as to why my chicken san was so good last night on the other board but I guess it was TMI - and CH deleted it!!
                                              Oh well !
                                              Now I'm craving this Reuben concoction again!!

                                            2. re: bbqboy

                                              It's funny--I saw an article about favorite sandwiches recently that claimed Jacques Pepin (a CT resident) enjoyed a reuben and went on to say it was made with pastrami...my first thought was, no, not pastrami but corned beef! It then went on to say his favorite lobster roll was made with mayo (CT is a hot buttered lobster roll state, not a lobster salad state), so I figured his sandwich cred just went out the window. ;) Thankfully, Monsieur Pepin is a man of many other culinary talents.

                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                Les Français, ils sont très étranges
                                                Jerry Lewis gets Legion of Honor medal
                                                PARIS (AP) — France formalized its fascination with Jerry Lewis Thursday with a uniquely Gallic gift for his 80th birthday: a medal and induction into the Legion of Honor.

                                                1. re: wolfe

                                                  Oui, je comprend. My cousin would say, "special" or "bizarre." ;)

                                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                                  As you are a culinary talent of many colors! Abrazos!

                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                    Boy, do you really think that Monseur Pepin considers himself a *native* of CT? I'd say if he had his lobster roll with mayo, as they do in other places, then that might convince ME. I still just don't *get* the concept of melted butter on a hot dog bun. Doesn't sing to me.

                                                3. This has been my go-to recipe for the past few years. Everyone in my family thinks it's the best.

                                                  Reuben Sandwich
                                                  by Arthur Schwartz
                                                  Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food

                                                  Modern-day Reuben sandwiches are often open-faced and broiled, which dries out the corned beef and makes the cheese rubbery. Or, under the misguided belief that more is better, they are overstuffed. The main things to remember for a great Reuben are to keep the filling under control and in balance, so when you bite into it you get a harmonious and succulent mouthful; and to grill the sandwich slowly and under some pressure, so the bread gets toasty brown and buttery crisp, the meat gets warmed through, and the cheese is just melted enough to be oozy.

                                                  Yield: Makes 1
                                                  2 slices rye bread or pumpernickel
                                                  2 teaspoons butter, at room temperature
                                                  2 tablespoons Reuben's Russian Dressing (recipe below)
                                                  1/4 cup well-drained, fresh-style sauerkraut
                                                  2 ounces thinly sliced Gruyère or Switzerland Swiss cheese
                                                  1/4 pound thinly sliced corned beef

                                                  Butter each slice of bread evenly to the edges on one side.
                                                  Place one slice, buttered side down, in a small cold skillet: Build the sandwich in the skillet you'll grill it in. Spread 1 tablespoon of the Russian dressing on the face-up, dry side of the bread. Then put on the sauerkraut, spreading it evenly. Arrange the cheese in an even layer over the sauerkraut, then do the same with the corned beef. Spread another 1 tablespoon Russian dressing on the dry side of the second slice of bread and place it, dressing side down, buttered side up, over the corned beef.

                                                  Place the skillet over medium-low heat and grill the sandwich slowly, pressing down on it a few times with a wide metal spatula. Grill until the bread is browned and crisped, then turn the sandwich over with the help of the spatula.

                                                  Now weight the sandwich down by placing a plate (or another small skillet) over the sandwich, then adding on a weight, such as a 28-ounce can of tomatoes. Grill until the second side has browned and crisped, then flip the sandwich over one more time to briefly reheat the other side.

                                                  Russian Dressing
                                                  Servings: 3/4 cup or so

                                                  Ingredients1/2 cup of mayo
                                                  1 tablespoon ketchup
                                                  1 teaspoon of grated onion
                                                  1/2 teaspoon of horseradish
                                                  1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
                                                  1 tablespoon of parsley
                                                  Serve immediately.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                    I do just about the same, but add some finely minced cornichons, and omit the parsley. That is what I remember from my childhood in NYC, but we all know how mistaken children can be about their own history.

                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                      I'm sure your version works well, but personally, I prefer a beef bottom, then kraut, with the cheese melted over top. The cheese works to hold the kraut and beef together.

                                                      And I agree that open-faced versions aren't "classic" but I find in restaurants I can eat them without dripping everything on my shirt. At home, where I don't care, I love grabbing it with two hands and digging in!

                                                    2. To me, it's not a Reuben without Russian dressing.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: schrutefarms

                                                        I'm with you and Thousand Island ain't Russian.

                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                          Thousand island belongs on burgers, IMO.

                                                      2. It is your life. The short time we get to spend here on earth, it is for no one to tell you how to eat your Reuben. As Warren Zevon said shortly before he died. "Enjoy every sandwich" We have all changed recipes to our own liking. I do not understand every different drink that can now be called Martini. I like russian dressing, maybe a bit too much. I have heard of a place in Connecticut that makes some kind of pastrami and coleslaw or something Reuben type sandwich called a Rachel Sandwich, maybe it has coleslaw. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The food police will not summons you for a Matty Dijon Reuben. It is not like trying to make guacamole without avocado.

                                                        I like a combination or Pastrami and coleslaw with russian dressing on garlic bread club roll. You can get this sanwich at the Mill basin deli in Brooklyn. If you ask for a phantomdoc they will not know what you are talking about.

                                                        23 Replies
                                                        1. re: phantomdoc

                                                          The Rachel is a standard, reasonably defined, sandwich available in many places.

                                                          http://www.practicallyedible.com/edib...

                                                          1. re: phantomdoc

                                                            I've been to many a deli/sandwich shop/restaurant in New England in which the Reuben was prepared with coleslaw rather than kraut. Not a variation - this was their standard. I'm not condoning, just noting that they wouldn't have that formulation if it didn't sell. Since coleslaw is a deli staple, it's probably more economical to use it than to buy/make/store kraut, which doesn't get used as much/often.

                                                            1. re: greygarious

                                                              A true reuben to me only has kraut, sorry, I do like one with coleslaw too, but it isn't real.

                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                You are correct. A Reuben is made with kraut. If coleslaw is used, it may be a fine sandwich and one may like it a lot, but it is not a Reuben. There is a reason why the Reuben is such a good sandwich, and the use of kraut is a key part of its goodness (specifically, the sour component, which is crucial, along with other components, to the overall flavor profile that makes it what it is). And yes, phantomdoc, it is like trying to make guacamole without avocado. In point of fact, IMO anyway, it's worse, much worse.

                                                                Forgive me, I don't want to sound bombastic, but terms need to mean something and be clear. If anything can be called anything, then what is the point in having a language? Everyone is entitled to his own opinions and his own preferences, but not to his own facts or his own definitions.

                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                  I use my own kraut, my old neighborhood 10 of us couples make our own kraut every year. Fresh cabbage, kosher salt and nothing more. Let it fermet and then bag. Does that qualify. It is great kraut, trust me.

                                                                    1. re: johnb

                                                                      I have to admit it is awesome. I'm out already and our homemade brat party is in September followed by the kraut making party in early, then early November is the packing kraut party. Good reason to have a few get togethers.

                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                        Did you say ...homemade....brats? What was that exact date again........Oh, and please send directions

                                                                  1. re: johnb

                                                                    First to gregarious: the whole point of fermenting cabbage, as in kraut or kimchee, is to be able to store it for long periods. I buy a 1 litre jar about twice a year; it never goes bad. How can that be hard for a deli to store?

                                                                    And to johnb: it's not just food, it's everywhere. Orwell wrote it about 60 years ago in "Politics and the English Language". To quote two famous bi-partisan examples:Nixon's press secretary Ron Ziegler "Previous statements are inoperative", and Clinton's "It depends on what your definition of "is" is." If we don't draw the line on the little stuff, the big stuff will surely follow.

                                                                    1. re: KevinB

                                                                      KevinB, the point was not spoilage, but space - at a sandwich station, there are usually rectangular acrylic containers (technical name escapes me) as inserts in a stainless counter. If space is at a premium, they'll want to forego the less popular toppings. The smell of an open sauerkraut container is another factor. If you're keeping it in the fridge it needs to be securely covered so other food doesn't absorb the pungent odor. There's a big jar of it in my fridge, too - but the fact is that it's not offerred in many sandwich-making places around here, and I was simply suggesting possible reasons for the omission.

                                                                      1. re: KevinB

                                                                        Yes Kevin, you are right, language degradation is all around us, but somehow it seems more tolerable in politics than it does when related to food, which we all know is more important! ;-)

                                                                        1. re: johnb

                                                                          Right you are. We respect food... politicians, not so much!

                                                                    2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                      I wonder if there is a name for a corned beef sandwich with coleslaw. I love that combo.

                                                                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                        Not sure, but I have made it many times and like it. I still love the kraut, but if I don't hey kraut why not. I keep a bag of shredded coleslaw all the time for use on sammys and quick salads. Not the best but with my schedule, I don't mind it and it isn't that bad. It is better than fast food and soggy lettuce. If you find the name ... let me know. There has to be a name for that great combo.

                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                          I've seen it on menus as a Reuben, which is clearly wrong, and also as a Rachel, but there are several variations of the Rachel. Usually it's pastrami and coleslaw, sometimes turkey.

                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                            I posted this link above, a few days ago--here it is again:

                                                                            http://www.practicallyedible.com/edib...

                                                                      2. re: greygarious

                                                                        Anyone can add any ingredient to a sandwich, but it is not a reuben without the kraut. How would they feel in New England if someone ordered a bowl of clam chowder and it cam out red and thin. :-))

                                                                          1. re: bbqboy

                                                                            OY...this may start an entire sub-thread. sorry.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              He may call himself bbqboy, but he must be from NYC if he proposes that would be enlightened.....

                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                            I prefer the red chowder that's origin was in Rhode Island. It is called Manhattan clam chowder. They blamed everything on New York at the time.

                                                                            1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                              Seems reasonable to me...........

                                                                      3. I think phantomdoc got it right! I wanted to air one of my pet peeves and get the discussion rolling! Hmmm , Ive got some corned beef in the fridge. Maybe I will make a Reuben and put some Russian dressing on it. Well done Chowhounds!

                                                                        1. There used to be a local place that made the best Reubens.....and they used tomato paste instead of Thousand Island or Russian dressing and it was the best. I cannot tolerate Thousand Island and prefer Russian. I use tomato paste if I make it at home.

                                                                          1. I think you should have the sandwich you want...just don't ask for a Reuben.

                                                                            A properly made Reuben has Russian Dressing (TI frequently substituted), Corned Beef always, Sauerkraut always, Swiss Cheese always, Rye bread (almost always...marble rye sometimes substituted but I'd really rather they didn't do that). Grilled...ALWAYS, or they can call it something else.

                                                                            I do love a good Hot Pastrami on Rye with mustard, but then Nothing else goes on it, ever.
                                                                            Pickles, coleslaw, potato salad might be on the side, but not On it. Dr. Brown's cream soda highly desirable but not essential.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                Never had one myself, but I understand some people enjoy them. :)
                                                                                Much as I love celery, the idea of a soda based on it never appealed to me.

                                                                                1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                  My father used to call it "Jewish Ginger Ale". It's drier than most sodas, and - as dad also used to say - "it cuts the fat".

                                                                                  True or not, I always have a Cel-Ray with pastrami or corned beef. If I'm having roast beef or turkey w/chopped liver, a sweeter Dr. Brown's is called for, either Cream or Black Cherry.

                                                                                  1. re: Striver

                                                                                    aww, thanks for the trip down memory lane! we always had Dr. Brown's when we got deli sandwiches for dinner back when i was a kid. and Striver, you're spot on with the pairings...Dad got a Cel-Ray with his Reuben, pastrami, corned beef or tongue, and i got a Dr. Brown's Cream or Black Cherry with my turkey Rachel.

                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      I'm a cel-ray man myself. Odd how it has that certain something that just perfectly complements corned beef.

                                                                            1. I loved Reuben sandwiches too, and like you I can't stand the Thousand Island dressing. But I also don't care for corned beef, kraut, or rye bread. So when I order a Reuben, I want it with whole wheat bread, smoked turkey, gouda, sprouts, and mayo.

                                                                              Okay, that's a little extreme, but you get the point. The Reuben is an iconic recipe. If you omit, add, or substitute an ingredient, it isn't a Reuben any more. A delicious sandwich? Sure. Better than a Reuben? Quite possibly. But definitely not a Reuben.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                Agreed ... as long as you're talking seeded rye!

                                                                                1. It's not a Reuben without the dressing.

                                                                                  1. The key to proper russian dressing is the use of dill (not sweet) relish.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: byrd

                                                                                      I agree about avoiding the sweet relish. but the key is the horseradish. In fact, I strongly argue that the horseradish in the RD is crucial to the character of the Reuben. This is because the Reuben is so good due to it containing all the five tastes (sweet, salt, sour, bitter, umami) in proper proportion, but unless I'm missing something the only source of bitter or tart in the recipe is the horseradish in the RD. It completes the flavor profile of the classic sandwich.

                                                                                    2. I shall now deem this sandwich "the mattyboy" I will order one today!

                                                                                      1. I have never had a Ruebin. Or anything like it~
                                                                                        But I have to say I'm intrigued now! It sounds quite delicious, but I do ha a feeling I would like it better without the dressing.......

                                                                                        Yes, I know - "But then it ain't a Ruebin!"

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                          Perhaps a Reuben without dressing could be called a Ruebin.

                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                              Which brings up one of my lunching 'rules' -- don't order a Reuben in a place that can't spell it! :D

                                                                                              I've seen Rueben a *lot*.

                                                                                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                What about "corn" beef? That one is everywhere it seems.

                                                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                                                  Yeah, jfood has thrown in the towel by correcting people that it is corned beef and iced tea whenever he reads people write corn beef and ice tea.

                                                                                                    1. re: cstr

                                                                                                      jfood only wishes his tension was in the past. Now if he can find a place for a good corned beef sandwich in CT it would release some of his tension.

                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                        J food.
                                                                                                        Please do not say you have never made corned beef at home. Say it isn't so. Nothing could be easier. Get a vac pac of Freirich or whatever brand Waldbaums has. Steamer basket for 2-3 hours, finish in 350 degree oven with a bottle of beer for 1 hour.
                                                                                                        I know your great short ribs, and way to cut a cantaloupe. You can do this easily, make 3 or even 5 at a time, wrap and store. The original meat preservation from before refrigeration.

                                                                                                        1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                          Correction: that recipe requires exactly 13 oz. of beer, and sometimes another oz. about half-way through. ;)

                                                                                          1. Wow - based on this thread, I had a hankering for some kind of smoked meat sandwich.

                                                                                            I had on hand: double sized Munich rye, Dunn's frozen Montreal smoked meat, and assorted fixin's. Here's what I did:

                                                                                            Peeled off some American cheese, put it on two slices of rye, and put those in the toaster oven. Meanwhile, nuked the Dunn's smoked meat.

                                                                                            Took some plain (i.e. shredded cabbage/carrots/etc.) slaw, and threw it in the food processor as it was a bit too big. Whizzed until brunoise size. Mixed in 3 parts mayo to 1 part ketchup, plus two heaping tsp of horseradish and hot sauce to taste.

                                                                                            Assembly was easy - split the spicy slaw on both sides of bread, and spread the meat in between.

                                                                                            Was it good? It was great! (Messy though - extra napkins are a must!) Would I ever call it a Reuben? Never!! And if someone wants to christen it a "Drakman", I'd be humbly overjoyed. But really - it's a great sandwich, whatever we want to call it, and this Reuben thread inspired it.

                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: FrankDrakman

                                                                                              Just think how good it could have been with real cheese.

                                                                                              1. re: wolfe

                                                                                                When I get some decent Swiss, I'm going to try it again. But it wasn't bad even with "plastic" cheese.

                                                                                                1. re: FrankDrakman

                                                                                                  There's nothing plastic about Boar's Head White American. Especially when compared to those individually wrapped Kraft slices. jmho

                                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                                    But the plastic Kraft slices have their uses-they make the best grilled cheese.

                                                                                                    1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                      Give me the Boar's Head for grilled cheese. I HATE Kraft slices!

                                                                                                      1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                        A bit off topic, but I must take this opportunity--I hear this so often, that the plastic Kraft slices make the best grilled cheese, and simply cannot fathom it. Velveeta--no more nor less fake or processed than American I don't believe--if you're going for comfort food grilled cheese. That's what I grew up with--melts delightfully, and perfect dipped in tomato soup. If you want something a bit more gourmet go with a good sharp cheddar, or, I've recently discovered, Jarlsberg. Never, ever, ever, Kraft slices. They are good for one thing, and one thing only--when you're about eight, its a lot of fun to roll them into a tube with a slice of bologna and eat them for a mid-afternoon snack.

                                                                                                        1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                                          I stand by my grilled cheese, thank you :)

                                                                                                          1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                            Right there with you, my friend. Do I object to grilled cheese made with other varieties, like provolone, swiss, or authentic cheddar? Not a bit. But for quick comfort food? Slices on (gasp) white bread with Heinz ketchup or HP sauce - can't be beat.

                                                                                                2. re: FrankDrakman

                                                                                                  What exactly does the smoked meat consist of?

                                                                                                    1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                      Well, that thread sure makes the subject of Montreal Smoked Meat "crystal clear" (LOL).

                                                                                                3. Maybe a bit separate note, but did anyone make the reuben that was featured on CHOW, where they mixed the chopped corn beef with the thousand and kraut and they did a layered sandwich. I tried it and no different in taste, but the chopped beef and kraut made a great filling with the sauce and the cheese on top of the bread slices kept it from NOT getting soggy at all. I only used the normal 2 slices not three as they did, and then grilled like always, but it was a great way to make them and still had the traditional flavors.

                                                                                                  1. Wow- do I ever feel ignorant tonight.

                                                                                                    I had NO idea that there was ANY kind of dressing on a Ruben. I thought it was a grilled corned beef, sauerkrat, and swiss. And pepper. Who knew? I never before realized my education was so lacking, having been mostly raised west of the Rockies.

                                                                                                    The Russian dressing recipe sounds tempting.

                                                                                                    1. Oh- in rereading the OP, give a thumbs-up to some grainy mustard, but I didn't think it was standard issue.

                                                                                                      1. Come to Ontario: Here the Reubens seem to never have Thousand Island dressing on them--mustard is used instead. Which I find unfortunate: I like the balance of salty corned beef, sour sauerkraut, and sweet dressing. With mustard it seems out of balance--too sour.

                                                                                                        1. A classic Chowhound discussion thread! I can join the "Gotta have Russian Dressing" crowd with great enthusiasm, but thought I would also share some menu items I found on the web a few years back, from Pepper's New York Deli. I wonder if they are still in business. "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, cucmbers, lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers, onions, toasted on rye..." I think the creativity of these combos is wonderful!

                                                                                                          And "while I have the floor," a comment on grampart's post, relating the comments of Arthur Schwartz of "Arthur Schwartz' New York City Food." Mr. Schwartz says some of us have the "mistaken belief that more is better." In my opinion, there is something rather pathetic about a thin, emaceated Reuben sandwich, but something pretty glorious about a Reuben piled so high you can hardly get it politely in your mouth to take a bite. Mr. Schwartz and I would apparently part ways on this one.

                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                            If you mean Pepper's New York Deli in Columbus Ohio that would explain a lot.

                                                                                                            1. re: wolfe

                                                                                                              How 'bout the Main Street / Scioto Bridge Reuben: Bologna, American Cheese, Iceberg lettuce, and Miracle Whip on Wonder bread.

                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                Has anyone told you lately you are evil? ;-)

                                                                                                            2. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                              A Reuben made to Mr. Schwartz recommendations is a very generous sandwich that satisfies and keeps the costs down. If you enjoy one ala Harold's Deli that can cost upwards of $30 (see photo), than by all means, indulge yourself.

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                I studied that picture, grampart, and it almost has enough meat on it. But I don't think it would be my favorite- looks like they slice their corned beef way too thick! [Gotta love this bunch : ) ]

                                                                                                              2. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                                If the thickness of the meat/filling is more than twice the thickness of the bread slice, then it's too much, IMO.

                                                                                                                If the thickness of the meat/filling is less than the thickness of the bread slice, then it's emaciated, IMO.

                                                                                                                If I need to order more bread to make a second (and maybe third!) sandwich, I shouldn't have ordered it in the first place, or perhaps there was insufficient disclosure on the menu. :)

                                                                                                                1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                  So I guess you'd disapprove of the In'n'Out 100x100?

                                                                                                                  It's 100 beef patties and 100 slices of cheese on a single bun. Here's a pic: http://files.shroomery.org/files/06-0...

                                                                                                                  Me too.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                    I thought In-n-out recently imposed a new policy that they won't do those huge ones any longer. Specifically, I believe it is now limited to a 4x4.

                                                                                                                    1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                      Makes sense. It's a company that offers a quality product, and ridiculously oversized burgers scream disgusting excess, not quality. It's got to be nearly impossible to finish building the burger before the first patties cool off and the cheese starts to ooze and congeal.

                                                                                                                      Me, I don't even like the double-double. As far as I'm concerned, In-n-Out's cheeseburger (animal style, extra toast, add peppers, thankyouverymuch) has the ratio of bread, meat, cheese, and condiments that the Fast Food Burger Gods intended.

                                                                                                                      In a lame attempt to keep things on point, maybe we could call that the Irvine Reuben...

                                                                                                                    2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                      OMG that really is disgusting. If it wasn't three years old (news-wise), Adam Richman would be all over it.

                                                                                                                      As to cheeseburgers, if the patty (pre-cooked weight) is more than 8 oz., it will never be properly cooked to my taste. :) I want some char outside and pink inside...warm throughout.

                                                                                                                  2. I too dislike Thousand Island dressing on my Reuben. I prefer spicy brown mustard on mine. Mayo seems like it would be not good on this sandwich, and I love mayo on almost everything else.

                                                                                                                    1. Now if I like to sprinkle some caraway seed on the sauerkraut to enhance the rye bread flavor, would that be a violation of the Ruben Statute?

                                                                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                          Permitted, but yuck! Never understood caraway at all.
                                                                                                                          Isn't that also birdseed? I prefer human food myself, but go for it!

                                                                                                                          Pipe down, people! Just kidding, but really, I can't stand caraway.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                            caraway is only birdseed in germany.

                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                              They make a liquor from it.
                                                                                                                              According to the Dutch, kümmel liqueur was first distilled in Holland during the late 16th century by Lucas Bols.

                                                                                                                              1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                                                deadpan sometimes just doesn't cut it here, huh? ;-)).

                                                                                                                                have you ever had that kümmel?

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                  Have not had the liquor. Love those seeds in rye bread and bagels.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                                                    >>>Love those seeds in rye bread and bagels.<<<

                                                                                                                                    Not to mention throwing some into the sauerkraut.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                      That's how this string started.
                                                                                                                                      Bought a corned beef today, hsave to decide weather to make another attempt at Home Brew Pastrami or just go for the Reuben.

                                                                                                                        2. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                                          I think jars of sauerkraut come with or without caraway seeds, so check labels when you buy. And rye bread itself comes packaged with and without the caraway seeds.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                                            It brings the seeded rye flavor into the sandwich. Cranks up that flavor, to me a plus. I use bagged sauerkraut. The juice makes a good brine for pork.

                                                                                                                            1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                                              Went to a birthday party at Belmont Park racetrack yesterday and saw an appetizer of mini Reubens on rye rounds with caraway seeded sauerkraut. Did not order it.

                                                                                                                              P.S. I do not recommend the food at Belmont Park.

                                                                                                                          2. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                                            since rye bread comes wit(out) jfood thinks its cool as well.

                                                                                                                            1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                                              I wouldn't put it in the sauerkraut for a Reuben, but I'd INSIST on caraway seeds IN the rye bread. Unless you have a digestive issue with seeds of any kind, rye bread loses a lot of character if there are No caraway seeds.

                                                                                                                              Your post reminded me that my parents always added caraway seeds to the sauerkraut served with roast pork loin. Haven't had it that way in years...wonder if I'd still like it?

                                                                                                                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                                I braise a pork loin with onions, granny smith apples and sauerkraut with caraway seeds. Brine the pork for a day in the sauerkraut juice.

                                                                                                                                1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                                                                                  omg that sounds delectable. Is it Autumn yet? :)

                                                                                                                            2. All this talk of Reubens has me craving one. I ordered one at a new sub shop near my home and it was a pathetic version of a Reuben. I think it was missing the swiss. I'll have to try again soon.
                                                                                                                              Michael Rublman recently posted about a variation he made recently with homemade short rib pastrami. The photo is to die for
                                                                                                                              http://blog.ruhlman.com/ruhlmancom/20...

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: ivanova

                                                                                                                                I'm not sure I'd call that one a Reuben (he called it a neo-Reuben), in fact I'm sure I wouldn't, but it sure looks good.

                                                                                                                              2. I must agree with the OP. I don't like TI dressing on anything (or Russian or McDonalds Special Sauce or any other combo of mayo and ketchup). I do however, love the combo of corned beef, swiss, and kraut on rye.

                                                                                                                                I'll still order it as a Reuben - hold the dressing, because saying, "I'll have a grilled corned beef, swiss, and kraut on rye," is just too big of a mouthful.

                                                                                                                                1. Heres some more fuel for the fire! While perusing the latest issue of Maxim , I came across a new reuben recipe. Home cured pastrami , aged gouda and beet slaw! The article concerned great food from around the country, Cant remember which chef or restaurant this came from but it definitlly looked great.

                                                                                                                                  1. I'm with you, sorta. I can't stand Russian dressing on salads. On a Reuben...perhaps. I don't want it sweet or gloppy. I really want a Dijon mustard and a half-sour could replace the kraut!
                                                                                                                                    I love a good Reuben. The dressing can ruin it.

                                                                                                                                    1. I have never liked Thousand Island or Russian dressing. Back in the 60's at a drive-in/restaurant in Santa Maria, CA I mentioned to the waitress that I would love a Reuben but didn't like the dressing and she suggested I try it with blue cheese dressing. I loved it. Ranch is good too if you don't have blue cheese. Don't knock my "faux reuben" until you try it.

                                                                                                                                      1. I want mine with the dressing, please. I've had one where they grilled the kraut and it was tasty...