Monday, March 22, 2010


In school I was in the Gifted Program. Actually, I was the dumbest kid in the Gifted Program, I didn't get in when tested in 4th grade but passed testing in 6th grade. The best thing about that program was that I got to be around a bunch of very smart, wickedly funny, and quirky people.

One of those people, Ricky, knew that Greg was at a Boy Scout meeting. Ricky prank called Greg's mother, who happened to be German. Ricky pretended to be Greg and told Greg's mother that he was going to be late and that she would need to then pick him up at the mall. Greg's mother started scolding "Greg" in her thick German accent about being inconsiderate and it being a school night. Ricky then said, "Gee, don't be such a sour Kraut!" and hung up.

I was reminded of that incident when I had my first ever Reuben sandwich, yesterday. You see, while I do love pastrami, sauerkraut just grossed me out. Funny thing was I had never tasted it. It was an uninformed opinion based on fact-less perceptions. I was happy living within the parameter of my food bias.

But then YOU PEOPLE (yeah all of you who made corned beef this week for St. Patrick's Day) had to taunt me and make me crave pastrami.

And then Alexis reasoned that if I was going to smoke pastrami, I needed to at least try sauerkraut on a Reuben. She was right. I love cabbage in a vinegary slaw.

So I made corned beef using on of those pre-packaged brisket flats and then smoked it at 225f with some cherry wood yesterday afternoon. The pastrami rub from Derrick was perfect.

Pastrami Rub
Source Derrick Riches
4 tablespoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon white peppercorns

8 cloves garlic, minced

Combine coriander seeds, peppercorns and mustard seeds in a spice grinder. Grind coarsely. Add in remaining ingredients and mix well. Rub is now ready to use. It may be stored, refrigerated in an airtight container.

I bought refrigerated sauerkraut. At least that way if I hated it, I hadn't wasted my time.

I used this dressing recipe, which was very good.

Kraft Thousand Island Dressing clone
Source: Todd Wilbur
1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon finely minced white onion

1/8 teaspoon salt
dash of black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together well. I added 6 dashes of hot sauce because it seemed a touch too sweet. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors get to know each other.

I didn't take many pictures because it was a gorgeous spring Saturday and we were busy rehabilitating the yard and flower beds.

Guess what! I LIKE sauerkraut. Who knew? The Reuben rocks. I had another one yesterday, but I grilled that in my panini press and I liked it even better. you have a food bias against something that you've never actually tasted? What is it?


  1. I Know how you feel Rueben, oh were you talking to me? uh huh!

  2. Well that's a coinkidink. I have/had the same sauerkraut bias as you, and had never had a reuben. Then early this month I was at a restaurant that served it, and I thought what the heck, let's do it, so I ordered it. Unfortunately, I had a terrible head cold, and couldn't actually taste anything except tang... So I'm still a reuben virgin, I guess ;)

  3. I definitely have a food bias against liver and I doubt I'll ever taste it. In fact, let's just say that I'm not into any organ meats, or fish eggs for that matter.

    I can't believe that you've never had a Reuben! Glad to hear that you tried it and liked it. My mom and I just had Reubens Friday night. I love the bread you used for yours. I never see that variety here at all.

    P.S. I think I was the dumbest kid in the gifted program. I didn't get in until high school and by then those "gifted" kids really had a leg up on me. I made a few friends that I still talk to today. The best part is that one of them is a producer for ABC in Cleveland and the other one is a pilot for Continental. Then there's me: the stay at home mom. Maybe I should've tried to join the "gifted program" earlier in life - LOL!

  4. I have eaten many Ruebens in my life, but never from homemade pastrami. I was looking forward to my dinner, but now all I want is a Rueben. Thanks!

  5. Glad you liked it, it sure looks yummy! Ruben's aren't my very favorite but there are something a little different once in a while. Just wait until you try my sauerkraut soup - whoa, now that's different, rather wicked yet addicting!

    Headcheese - never had it never will! Ick, who could even come up with something so gross!

  6. I love a Rueben, but I've never had one with homemade pastrami. My hat is off to you sir. Good job.

  7. Tripe. Not sure what it is, but I know it comes from less-desirable regions. It would take a double dog dare.

    Your sandwich looks great! I love a good Reuben.

  8. I love that you made the pastrami from scratch. Yum! I have been a reuben fan for years, though I prefer a good brown mustard on it over thousand island. My food bias: rocky mountain oysters.

  9. I'm so proud of you for tasting it ... and what a fun thing to discover! I hate to say it, but I will eat almost ANYTHING! Try me and I've probably tasted it. The list of foods I don't like is very small. People give me grief about something I don't like at all . . . pancakes and waffles. (gooey bread just doesn't sit well with me)

  10. When I was a teenager I worked in a pizza parlour. We made a sandwich called the 'Black Russian'. It was dark rye bread,pastrami dipped in the ajou bucket and swiss cheese. We would put it in the pizza oven and melt the cheese. Cole Slaw would be added. This was and still is my favorite sandwich.

  11. Hmmm, I wasn't in the gifted program as a child because 1. I cared too much about being popular 2. I liked doing the minimum to get by even though I was capable of much more!
    My daughter is in the gifted program and she took college classes last year :)
    I love reubens, but can stand the idea of cow tongue!

  12. i'm totally against pickled eggs.

    As for the reuben...I wish I hadn't ended up with such a cruddy cut of meat with all its fat (almost half was fat?)...I would love to try this!! but can I leave the sauerkraut out? grandparents had a white german shepherd named sauerkraut (we lovingly called him krauty)

  13. Congratulations on accomplishing your food bias. Now if you could convince Dave that Brussels sprouts are worth trying too...

  14. I can't believe you never had a reuben before!! aren't you glad you tried it? :) I wrote a post for you today...come see :D

  15. Mmmm, I LOVE sauerkraut! It's the German in me. I like to drain and rinse it, and fry it up in a pan so it gets a little toasty brown. I sprinkle a little sugar on it to cut the acidity. (It's just what my Mom did, so I like it that way.) I haven't had a Reuben for a while, but I sure want one now!

    I can't think of anything I'm unwilling to try, or anything that makes me say "I'd never eat that." I suppose there are some exotic and disgusting Asian dishes...oh, I know one thing I wouldn't eat. One of those thousand year eggs.

  16. I love reubens! I just bought a corned beef brisket yesterday with plans to make reubens this week! I can't wait to try the thousand island recipe!

  17. I hate sauerkraut, but love the Greg story. You gifted kids crack me up!

  18. I have to admit that I dislike saurkraut... intensely. But the rub looks great!

  19. Here is a link to the Spinach Madeline.

    If you add a little Cayenne it gives it a nice kick as well. I hope you enjoy!!

  20. I have a food bias against tongue and I don't think I want to taste it!We have a very popular dish in Colombia using tongue, but I can't even think about it.Your sandwich looks delicious!

  21. I can't believe you have never had a Reuben. It is on every single restaurant menu. You always seem to surprise me Chris. The Pastrami looks amazing. I am bookmarking this one.

  22. I was in a gifted program too! Mostly because the public school system in NYC sucks. Big time. I don't know what I'm going to do when i have kids.

    I pretty sure I don't like sauerkraut either. Okay. I'm not sure. I have no idea. It just looks...blech. I'm just weird about most condiments in general. Not sure why.

    These sandwiches look seriously good though. Especially grilled. Grilled sandwiches just always taste better.

  23. I don't eat Reubens because I'm not a fan of rye bread (so there is my bias). I do like pastrami and sauerkraut though. I've found that the stuff that's in the refrigerated section (be it a glass jar or a bag) is the only pre-made stuff I'll eat. The stuff that comes in cans is gross.

  24. Ah Reuben I knew him well! That "Greg" in your story wasn't me I hope! GREG

  25. Gifted program - I knew it!

    Your reuben looks good, but I do have a dislike of saurkraut (which was very hard to deal with when I was in Germany and Austria). But I have had it and still don't like it.

    A food bias I have to a food I haven't had I have to go with some people above with Liver and Tripe. Tripe just sounds so wrong.

  26. I wrote you a post on how to flip your eggs lol it's here when you get a chance :)

  27. I am glad you gave it a try. I am not a fan of sauerkraut unless it's on a Reuben then I love it. Your marbled rye looks tasty.


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