Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sausage Reubens aka 5 Finger Banjo Picker Sandwich

Sausage Reubens, a sandwich spread with Creole mustard and made with grilled or pan-fried sausage and onions, topped with sauerkraut, sliced tomatoes, sliced jalapenos and white cheese, patterned after the 5 Finger Banjo Picker Sandwich from a Decatur, Alabama tavern known by locals as The Brick.
Sausage Reubens, a sandwich spread with Creole mustard and made with grilled or pan-fried sausage and onions, topped with sauerkraut, sliced tomatoes, sliced jalapenos and white cheese, patterned after the 5 Finger Banjo Picker Sandwich from a Decatur, Alabama tavern known by locals as The Brick.

Sausage Reubens

Here's the sandwich I promised you with the last post on how I dress up store-bought sauerkraut and boy y'all is it a good one!

We eat sandwiches for supper all the time, sometimes with a side of chips, sweet potato fries or French fries, sometimes a bowl of soup or a side salad. Thank goodness it qualifies for a meal around here because we've been eating a lot of sandwiches this past summer, and a lot of them have been made in a microwave grill pan.

Summer heat has really made it downright difficult to get motivated to cook much of anything much less write new recipes, and I think I can count on one hand the number of times that I turned on the oven. I may have used my Traeger grill twice. Didn't use my charcoal grill or my gas grill one single time that I can recall.

I certainly did make use of my electronic pressure cooker (aka Instant Pot to many of you), air fryer, counter top grill, my Fasta Pasta, even my little 5-cup Perfect Cooker got a workout this summer. You'd be surprised how much comes out of that little pot! Heck, I even baked cornbread in my air fryer several times to avoid turning on the oven, Turned out fabulous too!

I learned of this sandwich from a little downtown bar called The Brick Deli and Tavern (aka The Brick, to locals in Decatur Alabama), and set out to recreate a version of it. It's essentially a Sausage Reuben, and while they have quite a few sandwiches on their menu, this one is a local favorite. Their sandwich consists of Polish sausage layered with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, onions, jalapenos, hot mustard, and sliced tomatoes on toasted rye bread.

While a classic Reuben is made with corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, usually on rye bread. sausage reubens are typically made with a kielbasa or Polish sausage, although they can also be made with spicy andouille.

QVC had featured these beautiful, mini raw sausage wheels on the air from Annabelle's Kitchen that I had ordered to try though, so I went with that. If you have a good local meat market, you can find sausage wheels, or use other raw sausages such as bratwurst or Italian, grilled or pan-fried and cut to size for whatever bread you're using.

Winn Dixie also had some freshly-baked French rolls from their deli that just called out for this sandwich. Here's how to make it!

For more of my favorite sandwiches, pop over to my Pinterest page!

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Recipe: Sausage Reuben aka 5 Finger Banjo Picker Sandwich

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min

Total time: 1 hour 40 min
Yield: About 4 sandwiches


For the Sauerkraut:
  • 1 (15/16 ounce) bag or can sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup beer or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning or red pepper flakes, optional
  • Salt and pepper as needed, to taste (I like Cavender's Greek)
For the Sandwich:
  • 1/2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 6 to 8 pork sausage links or 4 small pork sausage wheels
  • 4 thick cut slices onions
  • 8 slices rye bread or 4 French, kaiser or sandwich rolls
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard, or to taste
  • 4 slices Swiss, white American or Provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapenos (I like the Mezzetta Deli Tamed)
  • 4 slices fresh tomato

Place sauerkraut in a colander, rinsing several times. Use a paper towel to press out excess liquid; set aside. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove and chop. Add sauerkraut, bacon, and all remaining ingredients to the drippings. Heat over medium high until warmed through, taste and adjust seasonings.

For the sandwiches, lightly brush sausages and onion slices with oil; set onion aside. Grill or pan fry sausages until cooked through; 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Let rest while you grill the onions until lightly browned and they have grill marks. Remove and set aside. Spread butter on cut sides of bread and grill cut side down until toasted.

To Dress: Spread Creole mustard generously on cut sides of bread and place a cooked, hot sausage wheel on top; add cheese. Place sandwich on grill over indirect heat to melt cheese. May also pass under broiler. Top cheese with grilled onion, sauerkraut, jalapenos and sliced tomatoes. Add top bun and serve. May also assemble sandwiches and bake at 350 degrees F until cheese melts and bread is crusty, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Cook's Notes: May use other raw sausages, such as Italian sausage, bratwurst or breakfast links, or may also substitute polish kielbasa, andouille or other smoked sausages for the raw pork sausage. Use as many as needed to make the number of sandwiches you are making. Thoroughly cook through any raw sausages to 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer; slice in half lengthwise and brown any that are already smoked. May also substitute a French bread loaf or other sandwich breads.


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©Deep South Dish
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