7 Winning Sandwich Recipes for the Next Big Game Day

Whether you’re planning an epic tailgate or watching a sports event at home, sandwiches are always a good choice. They’re hearty enough to make a complete meal and easy enough to eat without a pile of utensils. They’re also easy to dress up without too much work. Instead of going for the usual stack of turkey and Swiss this time, try these seven substantial sandwiches. With these eats, it’s going to be a great game.

1. Crockpot Italian Beef Sandwiches

Italian beef sandwich

Italian beef sandwich | iStock.com

Chicago is known for its famous hot dogs, but that’s not the only iconic food found there. For folks living in the Windy City, Italian beef might actually be the superior meal. The sandwich is so popular, local publications often rank their favorite versions.

Though Chicago is a fun place to visit, you shouldn’t have to book a flight just to get a taste. Try making the sandwich yourself with this easy version from Culinary Mamas. The beef cooks in your scrockpot, leaving you with plenty of time to watch Sunday’s lineup. You’ll even be able to pull off a simple sauté of sweet peppers for the perfect finishing touch.

Ingredients:

Beef and assembly

  • 1 (3- to 4½-pound chuck roast) trimmed
  • 12 ounces beer or beef broth
  • 1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing mix
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar pepperoncini with liquid
  • Italian rolls or French bread

Sweet peppers

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers. sliced into strips
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: Pour beer into a crockpot insert then add the pepperoncini liquid, salad dressing mix, oregano, granulated garlic, and thyme. Stir to combine. Add half the peppers to the liquid, then add the beef. Top with remaining peppers, cover, and cook for 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.

When beef is almost cooked, heat olive oil in a pan and add the peppers and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the peppers are soft and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Set aside until ready to build sandwiches.

Once beef is fork tender, remove from the crockpot and shred with two forks. Return to the cooking liquid and mix to incorporate. Pile meat into sandwiches with sautéed peppers and serve additional cooking liquid on the side for dunking.

2. Chicken Parmesan Heros

chicken parmesan sandwich

Chicken parmesan sandwich | iStock.com

Turn your favorite Italian-American meal into a sandwich with Food & Wine’s delicious recipe. Start by sweating some onion and garlic, then add tomatoes and chile flakes, and simmer for a quick sauce. Next, set up a dredging station for the chicken, and cook until it’s golden and crispy. Pile the poultry and sauce onto toasted rolls, and you’re ready to eat.

Feel free to dress this sandwich up to suit your taste. We like to add a little bit of fresh mozzarella, then broil it just until melted. A bit of fresh basil stirred into the sauce also makes a nice addition.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2⅓ cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • Pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • Cooking oil
  • 4 (⅓-pound) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 (6-inch) sandwich rolls, split

Directions: In a shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, pepper flakes, and remaining salt and black pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat ¼- to ½-inch cooking oil over medium heat until very hot. Dip each chicken breast into eggs and then breadcrumbs, making sure to coat well. Fry in oil, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

While chicken is cooking, preheat broiler. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over cut sides of rolls and toast until golden, about 2 minutes. Spoon half of tomato sauce onto bottom halves of rolls, top with chicken, remaining sauce, and roll tops. Serve.

3. Classic Muffuletta Sandwich

muffuletta

Muffuletta | iStock.com

Creole food isn’t the only cuisine you’ll find in New Orleans. While many people certainly trace their ancestry to France and Spain, the area also became a hub for Italian immigrants in the 1880s. Catering to this population, Central Grocery created the muffuletta. This hearty sandwich features cold cuts, cheese, and a zesty olive salad. If you’re famished, this sandwich will definitely do the trick.

Since most of the ingredients for this dish are already prepared, it’s easy to make in your own kitchen. We like Serious Eat’s version, which comes together in no time. Though the recipe instructs to eat right after assembling, it’s perfectly fine to make it a day ahead.

Ingredients:

 Olive salad

  • 1 cup pitted, mixed olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced celery
  • ½ cup roasted red pepper strips
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, dried, and roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 hot pickled peppers, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sandwiches

  • 1 loaf focaccia, halved lengthwise
  • 4 ounces salami, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces capicola, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces mortadella, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced

Directions: Combine olives, shallot, celery, red peppers, capers, hot peppers, and olive oil in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Season with vinegar, salt, and pepper, to taste

Tear out some of the interior of the bread if it’s thick, then lay bread halves on a cutting board so that the cut halves face up. Spoon olive mixture on both halves. Layer meat and cheese onto the bottom half, then add top half of bread. Cut into quarters and serve. For better flavor, wrap in plastic and let sit for 1 hour before serving.

4. Steak Sandwiches with Pickled Onions and Herb Aioli

steak sandwich

Steak sandwich | iStock.com

If there’s one thing better than a steak supper, it’s a steak sandwich. This meaty version from Cooking Light takes things to another level with a smear of mayo mixed with fresh herbs and some pickled onions. Don’t let the word pickling scare you off, either, because this method is impossible to screw up. Just bring the vinegar, water, and sugar to a boil in the microwave, stir in the onions, and let it sit. They bring a great touch of acidity to an otherwise rich sandwich. If you wind up with leftovers, try sprinkling them on any of your favorite Mexican dishes.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup canola oil mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound flank steak, trimmed
  • 1½ teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12-ounce) French baguette
  • 1 cup arugula

Directions: Combine first three ingredients in a medium, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until boiling. Stir in onion and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile stir mayonnaise, thyme, tarragon lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl to combine.

Rub steak evenly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your desired doneness. Remove from grill, and let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into thin slices.

Cut baguette in half lengthwise. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a ½-inch-thick shell. Reserve torn bread for another use. Place bread halves, cut-side down, on grill, and cook until toasted, about 1 minute.

Drain onion mixture. Arrange steak evenly over bottom half of baguette and top with onion and arugula. Spread mayonnaise over cut side of top baguette half. Top sandwich and cut into four pieces. Serve.

5. BLT Fish Sandwich with Homemade Tartar Sauce

breaded fish sandwich, tartar sauce

BLT fish sandwich | iStock.com

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato, are enough to make a fantastic sandwich with nothing more than a smear of mayonnaise. The classic combo also happens to play well with other ingredients, including seafood. This fish sandwich from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook shows how it’s done. It’s an easy recipe, but you can easily cut down on ingredients by simplifying the tartar sauce to just mayonnaise, pickles, and lemon juice. Either way, you’ll love the results.

Ingredients:

Sandwiches

  • 4 to 6 bacon strips
  • 4 skinless fillets of cod, bass, or other white fish
  • Salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying
  • 4 large lettuce leaves
  • 4 to 8 tomato slices
  • Sandwich buns

Tartar sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Hot sauce
  • ½ cup chopped pickles
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: Mix all tartar sauce ingredients to combine, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Fry bacon in a pan until nearly crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Discard bacon fat or reserve for another use.

Set up a dredging station with three shallow dishes: one for flour, one for eggs, and one for breadcrumbs. Season fish fillets. Pour oil into same skillet and heat over medium-high to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dredge fish fillets in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, making sure to fully coat. For an extra-crispy coating, repeat egg and breadcrumb coating. Add fillets to pan, being sure to leave space between each, working in batches. Cook until golden, 2 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness of fish. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Spread tartar sauce on both halves of buns. Layer lettuce, fish, tomato, and bacon on top. Serve.

6. Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro-Jalapeño Slaw

pulled pork sandwich, barbecue

Pork and slaw sandwiches | iStock.com

Anytime you’re hosting a crowd to watch a sports game, build-your-own sandwiches with braised meat are the way to go. This cola-braised pork recipe from The Pioneer Woman is a particularly good choice since it’s sweet, savory, and a little bit spicy. Just keep the meat warm in a crockpot, set out the slaw and buns, then let guests help themselves.

Though braising in the oven is easy enough, you can follow the same procedure using your slow cooker as well. Use the low setting, and check the pork after 6 or 7 hours. You may need to go a bit longer depending on how large your pork shoulder is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, peeled, and quartered
  • 1 whole pork butt
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 (11-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans cola
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 kaiser rolls
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • ½ head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ½ head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, halved, and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cilantro

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Generously season pork with salt and pepper and set on top of onions in a large pot or Dutch oven. Pour chipotles and sauce over pork, then add cola, and brown sugar, and stir to combine. Place lid on pot, and transfer to oven. Cook at least 6 hours, turning two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat for doneness after 6 hours. It should easily fall apart when tested with two forks. If not yet tender, cover, and return to the oven for an additional hour.

Meanwhile, combine cabbage and jalapeño in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and cayenne. Pour dressing over cabbage. Toss to coat, and refrigerate for 2 hours. Just before serving, mix in cilantro.

Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Skim fat from surface of cooking liquid, and discard. Return meat to the pot and keep warm.

Butter both halves of rolls and toast on a skillet or griddle until golden. Build sandwiches with pork and slaw. Serve.

7. Grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Frisée and Caramelized Onions

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Ham and cheese sandwich | iStock.com

It doesn’t matter how old you get, a good grilled cheese will always satisfy. This ham and Gouda version from Bon Appétit takes a slightly gourmet approach by adding some sweet caramelized onions and bitter greens. For the easiest preparation, cook the onions ahead of time. On game day, just assemble, cook, and devour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 (⅓-inch-thick) slices country white bread or sourdough bread
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced smoked ham, divided
  • 3 ounces Gouda cheese, thinly sliced, divided
  • 2 large handfuls of frisée, torn into bite-size pieces, divided

Directions: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until onion is very tender and golden, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Butter bread slices, and set on a platter, buttered-side down. Divide onion, ham, cheese, and frisée between two bread slices. Top each with another bread slice, buttered-side up.

Heat another large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted, pressing occasionally with a spatula, about 4 minutes per side. Cut diagonally in half and serve.

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