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What Is a Steak Sandwich?

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  • Written By: Andrea Cross
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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The steak sandwich is a hugely popular food item in North America. It is eaten in other countries, yet its spiritual home is America. Eaten as a main meal, this sandwich consists of a beef steak seasoned and cooked to perfection then laid onto some form of bread. Often eaten with a variety of toppings and sides, the steak sandwich is a favorite at both restaurants and homes.

Nearly any cut of steak can be used in a steak sandwich. For an open version, the steak often remains unsliced, and rump is a commonly used cut, along with strip, rib eye, and filet. For sandwiches where there is also bread on top, thin slices of flank steak or roast is piled on high. The steak can be cooked in a variety of ways, including grilling, broiling, and frying. Roasting large pieces of beef before slicing is also popular, cooking the beef in its own juices.

Different breads can construct the sandwich. If it is an open sandwich, thick-cut, toasted bread provides a typical base. This can range from ordinary white bread to aromatic foccacia. If the sandwich is going to have a lid, then baguettes, crusty rolls, and ciabatta are popular. Generally, any bread available can be used.

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This anything-goes attitude can also extend to the seasoning. Steak seasonings can include a steak spice blend, rub, or marinade that can contain virtually any flavor but commonly counts salt, pepper, and garlic among their ingredients. Barbecue sauce, Cajun, and chili seasonings are also popular. Many establishments serving steak sandwiches tend to have their own secret house blends.

The topping and sides that are included with a steak sandwich are also varied. From no toppings to many, popular choices include crispy or carmalized onions, cheese, and peppers. Sauces are also often included, either poured over the sandwich or on the side, and can include mushroom, pepper, and garlic sauces. As with seasonings, many restaurants have their own signature sauces. Sides tend to be some form of potato dish, such as fries, or a variety of salads.

There are a number of variations on the steak sandwich both in America and abroad. In America, the Philly cheesesteak places thinly sliced steak onto a long bun and smothers it in onions, peppers, and cheese. The beef dip piles thin roast beef slices onto a baguette, which is dipped as desired into a hot au jus. The Italian beef places thinly sliced roast onto a roll, which is dipped either once or twice into the rich meat juices from the roasting tin. This juicy creation is then covered with toppings such as peppers.

The Vietnamese version of the steak sandwich uses thinly sliced steak that is marinated in a mixture of sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice. Placed onto a bun, it is topped with fresh vegetables including carrot, cucumber, and daikon radish before being garnished with coriander. In Australia, where the steak sandwich is apparently considered the poor cousin of the hamburger, thin beef slices or minute steak is placed on a bun and topped like a burger with lettuce, tomato, and onion. The sandwich is then completed with the addition of Australian barbecue sauce and beets — yes, beets.

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Chmander
Post 4
@Viranty - All this talk about raw meat reminds me of a funny story. A few years ago, I had put a chicken sandwich in the microwave for lunch. When it was done cooking, I took a bite of it, and it was one of the most disgusting things I've ever eaten. I threw it in the trash. About an hour later, my Mom comes into the kitchen, and asks me if I put the chicken sandwich in the oven, because it won't cook in the microwave.

I was shocked at what she had said, and found out that I had eaten part of a raw chicken sandwich. Thankfully, I didn't get sick, and though it's a funny story, it wouldn't have been a laughing matter if I had gotten sick. Food poisoning is serious business, and although it's generally easy to avoid (especially if you cook the meat thoroughly), one wrong move can land you in the hospital.

Viranty
Post 3

@RoyalSpyder - I agree with you about raw chicken, and raw pork. Unlike beef, those meats are extremely unsafe to eat when undercooked. When cooking them, always make sure that they're finished through and through.

RoyalSpyder
Post 2

@Chmander - Though I don't eat rare beef (I always have mine well done), I can tell you that it's a lot safer than other uncooked meats. Raw chicken contains salmonella, and raw pork contains worms. Definitely not a smart choice to eat those meats raw, ha ha. On a more serious note however, I've also had several friends order their beef/steak/ribs rare, and I've never seen them get sick. This is just my opinion, but I think it has to do with the way the beef is prepared. For all that we know, in the kitchen, the chefs could possibly cook the meat nearly through, but leave some of it uncooked, just to leave the impression that it's done. Don't quote me on this, but regardless, it's something to think about.

Chmander
Post 1
This article is whetting my appetite. Whether it's a pitiful bologna sandwich, or a wholesome steak sandwich, there's a lot more variety to sandwiches than meets the eye. Great article, but I'm wondering something that the article didn't discuss. How safe is it to eat rare steak sandwiches? I've seen some of my friends eat rare meat, and though it used to gross me out at first, I'm interested to try it. However, I really don't want to get sick. Does anyone have some ideas or suggestions?

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