Reuben, Meet Rachel

Omaha claims fame to bringing the culinary delight known as the Reuben sandwich to the world. If you are not familiar with this sandwich it consists of a healthy heaping of shaved corned beef meat, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing on rye bread. Typically, it is a grilled sandwich served hot.

As a young man growing up in the Omaha area, this was one of my favorite sandwiches. As a Man of A Certain Age, this is still one of my favorite sandwiches. As a guy who also loves to tweak recipes, see my chili post, altering ingredient contents has become a common practice in our kitchen. We say that you should eat the food you like, prepared the way you like it. If it brings you joy, do not worry what a food traditionalist may say.

In my last post, it is stated that everything I know, was learned from TV and movies. Taking this statement one step further, YouTube videos have become essential viewing to learn how to fix broken things around the house, catch up quickly upon current events and sporting results and frequently how to cook great food. YouTube is the ultimate source of DIY living for both of us.

I’m a huge fan of Alton Brown. Alton shares the science of culinary arts to his viewers and, for the most part makes, as his mantra states…shares Good Eats! Recently we discovered a more entertaining, slightly profane, no science YouTube cook from San Diego named Sam The Cooking Guy.

Sam prepares foods that are easy to cook and altered from what is considered traditional. Most episodes feature cooking recorded live, and in sequence from start to first bite. Most recipe times are in the neighborhood of 20 minutes long. Cooking a nice snack in 20 minutes suits us just fine.

Recently Sam featured an altered version of the Reuben Sandwich. Sam’s Reuben replaces the corned beef with pastrami, sauerkraut with coleslaw, rye with multigrain bread and adds two types of onion. Calling Sam’s sandwich “Reuben” is at best is a stretch and most likely not really what it should be called at all. Here in Wisconsin I’ve seen this type of sandwich referred to as a Rachel. I like that name and we will go with that.

However, Sam has yet to let us down for tasty food tweaks and we needed to try Sam’s “Reuben.” The first thing that Sam does is make his own Thousand Island dressing. Seven pictured ingredients and well worth the small effort to make. The sandwich, while not really a Ruben is very tasty and worth the 20 minutes to prepare and cook.

Blend 1 cup Japanese Mayonnaise with

2 tbs ketchup

1 tsp Creole Mustard

½ tsp Sriracha Sauce

½ tsp Horse Radish

I pinch salt

1 tsp pepper

2 splashes Worcestershire sauce

Sam also makes his own tasty coleslaw blending the following pictured ingredients:

3 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup Japanese Mayonnaise

1 tbs Rice Vinegar

2 tbs Celery Seed

1 pinch salt

1tbs pepper

Rachel Ingredients

2 slices multigrain bread

Thousand Island Dressing

¼ lb shaved pastrami

2 slices Swiss cheese

½ cup coleslaw

2 slices sauteed onion

½ cup fried onion

2 pads butter


Coat two slices of multigrain bread with the thousand island spread.

Place one slice of Swiss cheese on each slice of bread. The cheese is very important, it is not only tasty, it is the glue that holds the sandwich together to add cold ingredients after the sandwich is grilled.

Grill the pastrami on a flat iron. It can be microwaved but will not taste as good due to some nice caramelizing that the flat iron will give the shaved meat. Place the grilled pastrami on one side.

Place the grilled onion on top of the pastrami and close the bread together. Butter the outside of both slices of bread and grill.

When the sandwich is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melting, remove from heat, separate the sandwich, add the coleslaw and fried onion, put back together. Eat!

R Dub’s Reuben Ingredients

2 slices Pumpernickel Rye

¼ pound shaved corned beef

Thousand Island Dressing

½ cup sauerkraut

2 slices Swiss cheese

2 pads butter


Coat the rye bread with thousand island dressing. Place Swiss cheese on each side of bread. Heat both the shaved meat and sauerkraut. Split corned beef with half on top of each slice of cheese. Pile sauerkraut on one side and add more thousand island dressing to kraut. Put sandwich together, butter outside of each slice of rye and grill until both slices of cheese begin to melt. Eat!

What are my thoughts on the two sandwiches? I’m glad you asked. They are both good, but in different ways. The Reuben is easier to prepare and just as tasty in my humble opinion.


Published by R Dub's Rub

Conversational BLOG writer and contributing writer for LocaLeben magazine. My BLOG entries represent observations that intrigue, amuse, inspire or stimulate my appetite.

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