The Reuben: A How-To Guide

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Photo by Ryan Stiner


I ate the Dexter Reuben (again) the other day to write this piece and...and, given that I don't give out sandwich compliments very lightly, I will tell you that it's really a darned excellent new addition to the regular menu at the Roadhouse.

As with all foods around here, this sandwich is about how it tastes, and the flavors here are very, very nicely in balance in that way that I like; it's sort of that thing where you couldn't really quite identify exactly what's in there that's making the sandwich so delicious but everything comes together nicely.

It starts with free-range turkey, rubbed down with the clove/Roadhouse Joe coffee/Urfa red pepper-scented Zingerman's Spicy Coffee Spice Rub (I use it all the time on potatoes, fish, poultry, etc.) then put it on the pit to slow-cook for hours.

When you take a bite through the grilled Roadhouse bread, you get the toasty, slightly sweet taste from the molasses in the otherwise savory bread.

While the smoky, spicy, meatiness of the finished turkey is certainly the main player in the sandwich, its supporting cast comes together with it to make the flavor of the finished sandwich so special. When you take a bite through the grilled Roadhouse bread, you get the toasty, slightly sweet taste from the molasses in the otherwise savory bread.

The sauerkraut sort of comes up in texture first, and then in flavor throughout the ever-growing levels the more you chew. The quality cabbage (from our own Corn Man Farm) and Mark's curing (Mark works the farm) according to his old family recipe add crunch, flavor, and a nice light sourness to the otherwise rich sandwich.

We're using a two-year old-baby Baby Swiss from Chalet Cheese in Monroe, Wisconsin (the oldest cheese co-op in the state, and probably the oldest Baby Swiss as well). And it's all spread generously with that homemade Russian dressing that's been on all the regular and Georgia reubens at the Deli for all these years now.

The whole thing is grilled on the Roadhouse bread so you get this nice toasty crunch from the bread first, where the cornmeal, and molasses, and rye in there get you going, and then the cheese and Russian dressing take you all the way through to the meat...Anyways, it's darned good.

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Ari Weinzweig is co-founder of Zingerman's Community of Businesses, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is also the author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating. More

After graduating from University of Michigan with a degree in Russian history, Ari Weinzweig went to work washing dishes in a local restaurant and soon discovered that he loved the food business. Along with his partner Paul Saginaw, Ari started Zingerman's Delicatessen in 1982 with a $20,000 bank loan, a staff of two, a small selection of great-tasting specialty foods, and a relatively short sandwich menu. Today, Zingerman's is a community of businesses that employs over 500 people and includes a bakery, creamery, sit-down restaurant, training company, coffee roaster, and mail order service. Ari is the author of the best-selling Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating and the forthcoming Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon.
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