Every Black Friday people hit their refrigerators before they hit the mall. They collect Ziploc bags filled with turkey carvings and mashed potatoes to concoct their own perfectly crafted leftovers sandwich. But what makes or breaks this infamous day-after snack?
“A good sandwich in general has to be a balance of ingredients,” says Boston’s All Star Sandwich Bar co-owner and chef, John Diamantopoulos. “If you get a sandwich that has more stuffing than actual bread, it’s just going to be too much. A little bit of relish, a little bit of gravy, you know, just enough of everything to give it that cohesive flavor.”
The Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich can be hit or miss. Since it’s based on an entire plateful of food, sometimes the sweetness of a cranberry relish or slices of sweet potato can become a muddled mess, getting lost in a sea of gravy or weighed down by the addition of stuffing.
“Some might skip the stuffing on a Thanksgiving-style sandwich, but I think that’s what makes our Pilgrim sandwich stand out on our menu,” says Scott Ayotte of Cardullo’s in Cambridge. “We make a fresh in-house stuffing that actually uses French baguettes. We like the bread a little hard so it can really soak up the stock and give it that extra flavor.”
If you’re in the unfortunate position of wanting to relive the glory of the previous night’s meal, but you don’t actually have any leftovers (maybe your host was selfish or maybe you gobbled absolutely everything in sight) these guys can hook you up!
From Boston to Philadelphia to New York City, restaurants and sandwich shops look to reinvent the classics and are serving up their own unique renditions of the perfect Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. Whether it’s dollops of creamy, whipped mashed potatoes, Andouille cornbread stuffing or something as simple as giblet gravy for dipping, all of these Thanksgiving inspired eats provide the festive flavors for your Turkey dinner craving.
The Foundry, Boston
Turkey Pilgrim Burger (seasonal)
This Somerville eatery uses a lot of local goods to craft their Thanksgiving-style burger: freshly ground turkey topped with Vermont cheddar cheese, mashed winter squash and a cranberry relish spread, all on a brioche roll.
Pemberton Farms, Boston
The Mayflower (year-round)
A staple of its regular menu, the Mayflower layers freshly sliced roasted turkey breast with sage stuffing, cranberry relish, lettuce and mayo on sourdough bread. Executive chef Janice Naiman says patrons can’t get enough of this loaded hoagie, citing her sage stuffing as the great component of the sandwich. “It’s your basic New England herb stuffing, bread, carrots, apples, all the good stuff.”
Cardullo’s, Cambridge, Mass.
The Pilgrim (year-round)
This is one of the best-selling sandwiches at this Cambridge institution. The Pilgrim consists of smoked turkey breast, stuffing, and cranberry sauce on a baguette. Believe it or not this hot sandwich is so popular it sells out (even during the summer).
All Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge, Mass.
The Gobbler (year-round)
A mouthful of a sandwich filled with oven-roasted turkey, apple-sausage stuffing, orange-cranberry relish, mayo and gravy, on rustic white bread.
Fat Cat, Quincy, Mass.
Fat Turkey Sandwich (year-round)
This tempting Thanksgiving twist includes fried turkey breast, cranberry mango chutney, cornbread stuffing, chipotle mayo and applewood-smoked bacon, all on a ciabatta roll.
Cer Te, 56th Street, New York City
Getting Thanks (seasonal)
Why give when you can get? Cer Te’s spin on the classic features turkey meatloaf, string bean casserole, turkey cracklins and cranberry ketchup on an onion brioche, served with giblet gravy… you know, for dipping.
Snice Café, West Village
Thanksgiving Leftovers (year-round)
Looking for that vegetarian option? Snice serves up an excellent vegetarian-friendly sandwich that features Tofurkey, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cranberry relish and gravy.
Harding’s, 21st St, New York
The Thanksgiving Sandwich (year-round)
Chef Ariel Fox starts with a soft, crusty baguette, and layers on a few thick-cut slices of fresh-roasted smoked turkey breast. The turkey is then topped with a thin layer of fresh cranberry sauce and a couple dollops of creamy mashed potatoes. Finally, stuffing gets added to the top, and the sandwich is served alongside a bowl of rich sage gravy for dipping.
Joe’s Steaks and Soda Shop, Philadelphia
The Gravy Train (seasonal)
One of the best steak shops in the Philly is making room on the griddle for a new seasonal sandwich available for a limited time only. The Gravy Train features a cheesesteak roll loaded up with hand-carved roasted turkey breast, housemade stuffing and tangy cranberry sauce. The sandwich will be served from Nov. 24 to Dec. 1,
Primo Hoagies, Philadelphia
The Pilgrim (seasonal)
Around this time every year, the Primo’s chain stocks up on thematic ingredients to satisfy demand for The Pilgrim, a turkey-stuffing-cran-mayo concoction that replicates an overstuffed Black Friday leftover sandwich. Too much goodness in one sandwich.
Rex 1516, Philadelphia
The Wawa Gobbler, Thanksgiving style (seasonal)
Swing through Rex next weekend for Chef Justin Swain’s upgraded rendition of the infamous Wawa Gobbler. He’s smoking his own turkey to go along with Andouille cornbread stuffing, black pepper gravy and cranberry preserves on a snowflake roll. Sweet potato fries on the side.