Once And For All: How to make a Reuben Sandwich With TJ Anderson

· Wednesday November 28, 2012

I can't actually feed myself. Like, when I make a sandwich, I grab a stick of cheese and a slab of bread and ketchup and lettuce and I eat them all at exactly the same time. I can't even make toast.

So I asked TJ Anderson from the fantastic Love Thy Neighbour cafe for some help. Before settling down and starting up what is probably Northbridge's best answer to breakfast hunger pangs, TJ travelled the world collecting bits and pieces of information about the art of mellow sandwich crafting.

The Reuben Sandwich is a tangy corned beef sandwich popularised early in the 20th century by central European immigrants in New York, which is where TJ learned how to make his. I was pretty proud because it's the first food I learned to make ever. If you want to see this sandwich kingpin turn one out himself, potter on down to Love Thy Neighbour. Otherwise, here is TJ's 'Once And For All' guide to the Rueben Sandwich.

You will need
- 2 slices of rye bread
- Cheddar cheese
- Corned beef (LTN make their own, here's an interweb guide)
- Sauerkraut
- Salty butter
- Pepper
- Secret sauce (tomato sauce + mayonnaise + ?)
- Sandwich toaster
- Various knives for cutting and spreading stuff


Get a slice of rye bread (Love Thy Neighbour get theirs from Lawley's) and cut two slices pretty thin - 'bout 1.5 centimetres if you like the quantitative. We'll call one slice 'alpha' and the other slice 'beta'. Alpha slice is gonna be the base, so place it in the centre of your sandwich launch pad.


Spread salty butter across both sides. This stuff is sandwich lube. Make slurping noises with your mouth if you want.


Get two pieces of cheddar cheese and place them on slice alpha.


Grab a heap of corned beef, and lay it down over the cheesy foundation of slice alpha. TJ uses about seven slices folded over themselves for space and volume, but obviously the amount is determined by how big your slices of beef are. If you're gonna slam half a cow down, you won't need so much. This beef is basically the sandwich's soul. Spread it even and good.


Grab your sauerkraut. Lift it from the kraut-ooze and let it drain for about ten seconds, or your sandwich will mutate into a 'slimewich'. Apply it to your now monumental slice alpha. The bittersweet sauerkraut balances out the corned beef's saltiness.


Apply secret sauce. This is where the ingenuity of you, the reader, plays a role. TJ uses a secret combination based around tomato sauce and mayonnaise with some spring onions thrown in. Season with pepper if you like pepper.


It's time to bring slice beta in from the cold. Apply two more slices of cheddar then unify slice beta and slice alpha. Your sandwich is now almost perfect in mind and body. Now toast the sucker if you want.


Add a pickle garnish. Wow, that looks fucking great. Thanks TJ!

This article is part of our new series 'Once And For All', made possible with support from Ketel One. Stay tuned for further posts in which local characters teach us how to do things properly.