The Reuben

I have been on a quest for the perfect Reuben sandwich for 3 years, ever since tasting the amazing version at Lucky's Cafe in Cleveland. The basic elements of the Reuben may seem pedestrian: rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, and cheese. However, each element, when done right brings complex flavors and loads of unctuous umami. This Reuben is the product of my DIY quest: built from scratch from sourdough rye through home cured corned beef and everything in between. If you want to go whole-hog DIY, follow the links in the ingredients section back to the recipes to make your own scratch made versions. Any element you make from scratch is going to make a big difference in your final product. This Oktoberfest, celebrate with an old classic, done right.  

Yield: 4 sandwiches


   Thousand Island Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickles
  • 1 tablespoon pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion or shallot
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together thousand island dressing ingredients.
  2. For each sandwich, generously slather the inside of both slices of bread with thousand island dressing, and stack with ample portions of corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese. Top with the second slide of bread, and lightly butter the outside of the top slice.
  3. In a preheated skillet, place each sandwich buttered-side-down and cook (covered if possible) over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Remove the cover, lightly butter the outside of the top slice of bread, and flip each sandwich. The cooked side should be golden brown and crispy. Cook (uncovered) for an additional 3-4 minutes. The sandwich should be hot all the way through, the cheese should be melted, and both sides of the sandwich should be golden brown and delicious. Serve immediately, with any left over thousand island dressing on the side for dipping.