New Jersey’s breakfast sandwich

If you thought the Garden State would have vegetables in their state sandwich, you’d be wrong.


I was hanging out in the meat section of the grocery store, thinking about sandwiches (again) and I found a small plastic and cloth wrapped hunk of meat. I checked the label, and it was a pound of John Taylor’s Pork Roll. I had heard about Taylor ham/pork roll, but I had never seen it in real life, so I decided to buy it and see what the fuss is all about.

Some Taylor ham/pork roll history

A gentleman named, John Taylor, has been credited with the invention of pork roll back in 1856 in Trenton, New Jersey. Taylor originally called it “Taylor Prepared Ham,” but was forced to change the name since this product didn’t meet the legal definition of ham at that time.

In 1906 Taylor Prepared Ham was renamed Taylor’s Pork Roll. Around this time or a few years later, there were several competing companies that were marketing similar products using the words “pork roll,” “rolled pork” and “roll of pork” in their product names. Taylor tried to sue at least one of these companies and the court ruled that “pork roll” and “roll of pork” couldn’t be held as trademarks.

Fast forward to the current time and there are still multiple companies making a product classified as pork roll, Taylor Provisions (John Taylor’s original company) and Case’s are two of the most well-known. The phrase “Taylor ham” is still being used by Northern New Jerseyites and those living in Southern New Jersey (and Philadelphia) typically will say “pork roll.” People living in Central New Jersey are known to say one or the other.

This is a much bigger rivalry than I originally knew about when starting to research this blog post. There are several well documented investigations into this naming convention rivalry and one of those was posted last year on the New Jersey Digest: “Taylor Ham or Pork Roll? A New Jersey Civil War.”

If you want to see the Taylor ham/pork roll divide on a map, the tweet below is citing a map created from a poll that NJ.com held in 2016. More than 40,000 votes were cast in the poll that created this map, and many folks joined in the conversation, including such notable names as Chris Christie and Bill Clinton. The live google results map is no longer available, but the map in this tweet will give you a good representation of the demarcation of the Taylor ham/pork roll divide.

What is Taylor ham/pork roll?

One pound of John Taylor’s Pork Roll

John Taylor’s pork roll is not just a big hunk of meat like an actual ham. It’s finely ground pork shoulder with added spices merged in a way similar to other processed pork like bologna or mortadella. It’s fully cooked, so you could just grab a big hunk and start taking bites out of it like an animal. But we’re not animals, we’re sandwich enthusiasts. I did take a bite of one of my first slices, but no one needs to know about that.

The flavor of this brand of pork roll actually reminds me a little bit of country ham that I grew up eating in the Southeastern part of the United States. John Taylor’s pork roll isn’t quite as salty as country ham, but it does taste saltier to me than most regular ham. I would say it reminded me of a combination of country ham and bologna and some of the bologna flavors are coming from the similar way that the two meats are traditionally seared for sandwiching.

The way that pork roll seems to be cooked most often is on a flat griddle or flat top. Almost every video or photo of pork roll being prepared for sandwiching has three or four slits cut into the edge of the meat. This is not done for looks. The slits are cut so that the pork roll slice doesn’t curl up or cup on the flat, hot surface.

  • Four slits in the Taylor ham/pork roll = fireman’s badge style
  • One slit in the Taylor ham/pork roll = Pac-Man style

One thing to note is that the one-pound version of John Taylor’s pork roll (like the pound I bought) has a smaller diameter than the larger versions. I would assume that New Jersey restaurants are buying the six-pound version and they’re slicing theirs with a deli slicer. I was able to use a sharp knife and sliced mine into about 1/8th of an inch slices.

What is a Taylor ham/pork roll, egg and cheese?

A Taylor ham/pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich contains: seared Taylor ham/pork roll, a fried or scrambled egg and American cheese. The typical condiment options at that point are: “salt, pepper, ketchup.” The sandwich is served between a sliced Kaiser or “hard” roll.

Some griddling action shots

This is just to keep your interest and excitement levels high. We get into the process of making these a bit further down the page.

With a sharp knife, cut slits into your Taylor ham/pork roll a few times around the outside to allow it to sear evenly. Four slits in the slice = Fireman’s badge style.
A fried egg before the flip. I move the seared pork roll with melting cheese and the toasted Kaiser roll to the back, cooler spot on the griddle while the egg cooks.

The egg

From all the videos I’ve watched it appears if you order a Taylor ham/pork roll, egg and cheese you will likely get a fried (over easy) egg with a broken yolk. Wikipedia claims that occasionally it’s a scrambled egg, but I didn’t see any confirmations of that in the few videos I’ve watched or articles I’ve read.

From my non-New-Jersey perspective, the egg could be cooked to your favorite cooking style. Over easy with a breaking of the yolk before flipping is just the most common way.

The Kaiser roll or hard roll

A fresh baked Kaiser stamped Kaiser roll.

For this sandwich we need Kaiser rolls. In the process of researching this sandwich I learned that people from New Jersey (as well as some Mid-Atlantic US states like New York and Connecticut) call a Kaiser roll a “hard roll.” I get why they might call a Kaiser roll a hard roll, but it still bothers me because I don’t pride myself on making hard bread.

The use of bread flour in this recipe is crucial. Often you can substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour or vice versa, but in this case, you need the chewiness that bread flour contributes to a recipe. This texture is what leads to the roll being “harder” while still not being a heavy or dense bread.

Recipe Card
2 hours and 47 minutes
Kaiser rolls

Some areas call a Kaiser roll a "hard roll," but this roll is anything but hard. The outside is a tiny bit crusty, and the interior is firm, but still squishy where it counts. This is a great roll for sandwiches or burgers.

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A Kaiser roll doesn’t really need to have the design on top, but it’s what people expect when they hear the name. There are two techniques that I know of for making that design:

  1. Using a Kaiser roll stamp
  2. Making a fancy dough knot

I’ve done both techniques and they both taste the same, so it’s all up to personal visual preference. The Kaiser stamp takes a bit of technique to learn. You must make sure to keep flouring your stamp in between each dough stamping. The flour keeps the splits in the dough from sealing back up during the final rise. You also have to let the dough rise upside down after stamping. This can lead to some problems deflating the dough when you flip it back over.

Homemade Kaiser roll made with a Kaiser stamp
A Kaiser roll that I knotted instead of stamped. Some look better than others…

Sandwich assembly

Let’s build some New Jersey hangover breakfast sandwiches!

All the ingredients for a tasty breakfast sandwich. Look at that fancy ketchup (it’s a local version we like – my house was currently out of Heinz…).

Slideshow of the cooking process

Brought to you in 4K slideshow Dolby max stereo. Or maybe just photos.

The recipe

At this point, I’ve basically described in photos and words how to make this sandwich. It’s quick and easy, but if you are the type of person that prefers a step-by-step recipe, here you go:

Taylor ham/pork roll egg and cheese sandwich view printable page for this recipe

If you can get your hands on Taylor ham or pork roll from New Jersey, you need to know how to make this sandwich. In theory, it's a breakfast sandwich but I'm pretty sure it would be great any time of the day.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Kaiser roll (hard roll)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 or 4 slices of Taylor ham or pork roll
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 or 2 slices of American cheese
  • salt, black pepper, ketchup

Directions:

Slice and toast your Kaiser roll if you desire. To do this, get a medium pan or large griddle over medium heat and butter each cut side of your Kaiser roll. Cook, butter side down, for a few minutes until the roll has toasted and picked up a light brown color.

Remove the Kaiser roll to a plate and keep the pan over medium heat. If you have a large griddle, you can set one burner to be a lower heat and move your rolls to that side to keep them warm. 

Cut small slits into the edges of your slices of Taylor ham or pork roll. This helps your pork sear better. 

Place each piece of pork roll into your medium pan still over medium heat. Sear for 3 to 4 minutes per side. This meat is already fully cooked, we're just trying to brown things and get the pork warm. 

Once each slice of pork is browned to your liking, stack the meat and remove to a plate or cooler part of the griddle. If you're using multiple slices of cheese, you can add the first slice in between the pork layers to help the melting start. 

When all of your pork slices are stacked and moved off the hot part of the griddle/pan, add one tablespoon of butter to the pan. Once the butter starts bubbling (should be almost immediate), crack an egg right on top of the butter. Don't stir the egg or move it around. 

Salt and pepper the egg. 

After about 2 minutes, using a spatula or turner, flip the egg and add a slice of cheese on top of the cooked side of the egg. 

Cook the egg with cheese on top for another 2 minutes until done. If you like your egg with no runny yolk at all, you can cook it another minute. 

Assemble the sandwich: add the stack of Taylor ham/pork roll to the bottom of your Kaiser roll. Layer the egg and cheese on top of the slices of meat. If you opt for ketchup, squirt some on the Kaiser roll top and close the sandwich. 

Stand back and be proud of your creation. Take a big bite and enjoy. 

Notes:

If you can't find Taylor ham or pork roll, you can use a few slices of bologna or slices of Spam. If you do this, it WILL NOT be a Taylor ham/pork roll, egg and cheese (do not yell at me, New Jerseyites!), but it will still be a tasty sandwich. 

Some finished Taylor ham/pork roll egg and cheeses.

Gaze on these tasty beauties and let me know how you think I did down in the comments.

Pork roll/Taylor ham, fried egg and American cheese with salt/pepper/ketchup on a hard roll (please don’t call my freshly baked Kaiser roll “hard”).
Sometimes you need to add poppy seeds to your Kaiser roll just to make sure you won’t pass any of your future drug tests.
The combination of American cheese and ketchup must have some people squirming, but it really, really works in this sandwich.
All the melty cheese and all the egg combine with the juices from the seared pork roll to make some sort of fantastic sauce. The firmness of a Kaiser roll really is the perfect vessel for this sandwich. I made this one without ketchup.

A non-traditional sandwich

I made this one just for fun and I changed a couple of things up.

This is cheddar instead of American cheese, a folded egg instead of a fried egg and roasted garlic mayonnaise instead of ketchup. I honestly loved this version but if I did it again, I’d add hot sauce. Adding some hot sauce to the original sandwich would be nice too.

Is it Taylor ham or pork roll!?

I’m not going to get into this. You folks in New Jersey can work it out without me. What I can say is that this is a tasty sandwich. It might be a bit salty for some folks, but I doubt there are many people who are eating these sandwiches every day (except for the week I spent doing just that – and I seem ok?).

The main takeaway I’ll come away with from Taylor ham/pork roll week is that I think it’s fantastic to find sandwiches like this that have such a strong connection to an area. I think the North/South New Jersey naming rivalry has contributed to some of the passionate feelings that locals have to this meat product, and I think that has driven the excitement and interest for the sandwich even more.

What do you call it? Let me know in the comments or tweet it at me!


Two porks are better than one

Let’s eat the best thing ever invented in Florida.


I’m just going to come out and say it; the Cuban sandwich is among the top sandwich options in the world. It’s in my top 10. If you’ve never had one, a Cuban or Cubano is typically a sandwich on a semi crusty, long roll with a soft center that is stuffed with ham, roast pork, pickles, Swiss cheese, and yellow mustard. The sandwich is then pressed in a panini press (also called a plancha) with butter until the crusty outside of the bread is fried and crunchy and the interior fillings are warm and melty.

If you’ve yet to eat a Cuban sandwich, hopefully you’re interested in finding one or making your own now.

The Cuban sandwich likely originated in the Tampa, Florida area in the late 1800s or early 1900s according to the nerds who update wikipedia. The sandwich spread from its beginnings in that area and by the 1960s it was prominent on Miami restaurant menus. Now you can find Cuban sandwiches on menus at sandwich joints all over the place.

There are currently three different versions of the Cuban sandwich that you can find in different areas of Florida, but for some reason, most of the rest of the restaurants serving Cubans around the country are based off the Miami version.

  • Miami Cuban: Cuban bread, roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard
  • Tampa Cuban: Cuban bread, roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard + salami (Genoa)
  • Key West Cuban: Cuban bread, roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard + lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise

For my focus on the Cuban sandwich, we’re going with the Miami version. Keep reading to see how I make mine.

The bread

Three Cuban-style bread rolls ready for sandwiching.

If you’re making Cuban-style bread, you’re gonna need to buy some lard.

Cuban-style rolls are very similar to a white bread sub roll but the fat typically comes from lard instead of butter or oil. The proportion of lard/fat to flour is such that the lard will only contribute a small amount of flavor. This bread does not have the amount of lard flavor that you will find in homemade tortillas.

When you’re making biscuits, lard will often contribute to more flakiness and layering because lard has a higher melting point than butter and that means lard has a longer period of time where it steams and vents to air.

But when baking bread, lard can contribute to a drier and softer bake because of its high (100%) fat content vs butter (about 80% fat).

Cuban rolls are spritzed with water or baked in a high hydration oven to make the outside of the rolls a bit crusty while leaving the center soft. I spray my unbaked rolls liberally with water and immediately place the dough in the oven. This process brings the hydration up to help crust up the outside. The result is a great soft-on-the-inside sub roll, but with a Cuban we’re going to ruin that bread texture and make it something else entirely with a hot sandwich press.

3 hours
Cuban bread rolls (Pan Cubano)

Making Cuban sandwiches? First you're going to need to find some lard. Then you'll need to make these soft, semi-crusty rolls that eventually you'll smash between two hot surfaces. Oh, and you'll need some pork, ham (also pork), mustard, Swiss cheese and pickles!

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Here’s a pretty Cuban sandwich loaf you can look at. I looked at if for a few minutes myself.

Freezing tip: if you can’t eat three 15-inch Cuban rolls in a couple of days, wrap one (or two) rolls tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and put it in the freezer. Then when you want to eat Cubans again, pull the frozen bread out and leave it on the counter for 3 hours or so and it will thaw and be almost as good as when it was fresh. I always freeze bread to make sure I don’t waste it.

The mojo marinated roast pork

This mojo marinade is fantastic. I can write more about it, and I will, but if you take anything from this sandwich post, please try this marinade.

My pork cooking technique is highly influenced by Kenji Lopez-Alt’s Cuban-style Roast Pork Shoulder recipe. Go read that run down and recipe if you’re interested. His marinade is slightly different than mine, and I used a different cut and weight of meat with different timing needed. But I was inspired by his technique of wrapping my pork in aluminum and then later unwrapping it with a higher heat in the oven.

The best idea that I got from that recipe was to reserve some of the mojo mixture and use it to coat the meat when serving. The zesty citrus and garlicy tang is fantastic on this pork, and they shine through the Cuban sandwich even when put up against the mustard and pickles. Do not forget to hold some mojo marinade back for slathering on the pork in your Cuban.

The mojo marinade prior to being added to the pork.
Basting the pork roast with its own juices and mojo marinade.

Here’s my mojo pork inspired recipe.

5 hours and 15 minutes
Mojo marinated roast pork

Roasted pork that is garlicy and tangy from the citrus based marinade becomes a great addition to a Cuban sandwich or served on a plate with rice.

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The pickles

Savory dill pickles that will encourage you to continue making your own pickles.

One of the major flavors in a Cuban sandwich comes from the dill pickles. The mustard and the pickles are neck and neck for the most intense flavor, and they meld really well together.

I have shared this pickle recipe before, and it’s a good one.

25 minutes
Spicy MSG pickles

Spicy and dilly and savory pickles are great as a snack or in a sandwich. A great addition to any refrigerator. I based this recipe off of this tweet from Joshua Weissman and added extra spice.

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The other stuff

Ham, Swiss cheese and yellow mustard are the last three ingredients we need to make a Cuban inspired sandwich. All three are easy to find and buy at your local market. Other than the mojo roast pork, you could easily make a Cuban just from things you can purchase at the grocery store.

Sandwich Assemble!

Let us put all the pieces together and make Cuban sandwiches.

Here’s all the stuff I put into my Cuban sandwiches. That 78 Yellow Mustard is a local brand that we prefer, but any yellow mustard should work in a Cuban. French’s is a national brand that should be available near you.

I like to layer my Cuban sandwich ingredients in this order from top to bottom (or you can just memorize the gif below):

  • top of bread
  • yellow mustard
  • Swiss cheese
  • pickles
  • mojo roast pork
  • ham
  • Swiss cheese
  • yellow mustard
  • bottom of bread

The most important things in the layering process in my experience is that you must get the mustard directly on the bread (like almost all other times you’d use mustard in a sandwich) and it’s best to get the cheese beside the bread so that it’s closer to the heat source which will help with melting. Everything else in the layering doesn’t really matter that much, but I do like getting the pickles near the melty cheese just in case they try to slip around when you’re biting the sandwich.

Sometimes the gifs I make mesmerize me and I watch them for minutes at a time thinking about sandwiches past and future. This is me making a Cuban to the point right before it gets seared and pressed.
Pre griddling. This would still be an awesome cold sub sandwich, but we’re not done! The hot griddle on both sides just adds extra crunch, texture and warms everything through.

The sandwich press

We use a Cuisinart “Griddler” that we got years ago and it works great for pressing sandwiches. You can swap out the flat griddle sides and use the grill panels if you like grill marks. You can also keep it open fully for a flat surface/griddle to grill a steak or some other meat if you wanted.

If you don’t have a panini press, you could accomplish the same task with two cast iron skillets or a flat griddle and a cast iron skillet. Put one over a hot burner on your stove and you can put the sandwich on that pan and then lay the other cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich to provide the weight for the “pressing.”

You will want to spread a little butter on the bottom and top of the bread before pressing. This helps with the browning and will contribute flavor to the outside of your sandwich.

Griddling action. Look at that butter dripping down and sizzling underneath! This photo is taken inside our panini press.
Another Cuban sandwich getting melty between the presses.

The finished Cuban sandwiches

Here we go, the final results.

Slicing tip: always cut your Cuban sandwiches diagonally. I don’t know why, but everyone does it so I do it too!

Hello, beautiful porky goodness inside melty and mustardy bread crunch.
This is the second time I really tried to make a solid Cuban. August 17th, 2020. This was roast pork and pulled pork instead of ham. The bread wasn’t as authentic either, but once pressed it’s hard to tell.
Brown and crunchy bread accompanies the warm, soft and melty insides.
Stacked and thick Cuban sandwich.

Lets be real

Unless you hate mustard or pickles (shout out to Shana), you should really be excited about Cuban sandwiches.

If you’re not a bread baker, the hardest part about making Cubans is the roast pork. Many grocery stores have some sort of cooked pulled or chopped pork which could be a substitute if you wanted a Cuban style sandwich at home in a pinch. So, basically this is very approachable if you were looking for something very flavorful and not terribly difficult to make.

Make more Cuban sandwiches. Check back next week when things might get sloppy.


Who’s your sandwich?

I could have titled this one: Who IS your sandwich? but then I think we’d all be confused.


The state sandwich of Indiana, the Hoosier state, happens to be the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. VisitIndiana.com actually goes so far as to say that this sandwich is “Indiana’s most famous contribution to American cuisine.” I think the Larry Bird tomato might have an issue with this statement, but we’ll continue.

The Sandwich Tribunal (a website dedicated to eating every sandwich on the wikipedia list of sandwiches) has a few posts about Breaded Pork Tenderloin (sometimes called BPT), including this write-up about Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana where many folks believe is the birthplace of the sandwich. As you can see from The Sandwich Tribunal’s experience at Nick’s, they (like many breaded pork tenderloin locations) pound their tenderloins out really thin and WAY bigger than the bun.

The breaded pork tenderloin sandwich can also be found in other midwest states like Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. The Iowa Pork Producers Association has even created a “Iowa Tenderloin Trail” with a map and twelve BPT serving restaurants across the state.

When you’re talking about condiments the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich seems pretty simple. The wikipedia page for Pork tenderloin sandwich claims that “the sandwich can be served with condiments such as mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, lettuce, onions and pickles.” Quite a few of the BPT photos on the internet show mustard and since VisitIndiana.com’s page specifically mentions that the original sandwich had pickles on it, I kept my versions simple with just mustard and pickles. I also opted to make mine closer to the size of my buns. Since you’re making these at home, you have all the freedom to make these changes.

The sandwich ingredients
The completed sandwich

The buns

Eight almost sorta round buns.

Once again, we’re back on the King Arthur Baking Hamburger potato buns train. I wrote about this recipe last week when talking about cheeseburgers. It’s just a solid recipe for soft buns that can hold up to a messy sandwich. A lot of breaded pork tenderloins will be on Kaiser rolls. I haven’t tried knotted rolls before but maybe I’ll attempt that in the future.

As I said in my burger post, you can easily season the tops of these buns with sesame seeds or poppy seeds for extra visual interest and taste, but for these sandwiches I went with plain buns.

The breading station

Breading/Crackering station

In my version of the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, I use Townhouse crackers. A lot of the traditional recipes that you’ll find online call for Saltines and a few call for Ritz crackers but I prefer Townhouse over Ritz and that’s the cracker choice that I keep in my pantry.

I start by butterflying a big hunk of pork tenderloin and pounding it between two pieces of plastic wrap (or inside of a zip top bag). There’s a slideshow of how I butterfly and pound the tenderloin down a paragraph or two if you are interested in that.

Next I set up my breading station. For this sandwich that means two bowls, one with a cracked egg with buttermilk and salt, pepper and spices and the other with finely crushed crackers. You could use panko bread crumbs or some other type of bread crumbs here too if you wanted. Crackers are just traditional here.

Butterfly and pounding

Here’s a brief glimpse on what it looks like when I butterfly a piece of pork tenderloin. I’m assuming the pounding part is self explanatory.

Breaded pork tenderloin sandwich

Here’s the recipe I use for my breaded and fried pork tenderloin sandwiches.

Fried breaded pork tenderloin sandwich

This is more of a traditional breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, fried and crispy.

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Again, we went simple with yellow mustard and some of these MSG pickles. This is a fantastic sandwich. It’s a quick recipe from start to finish and the crunch of the meat and the tenderness of the pork just works so well. And everyone knows (you know, right?) that mustard and pork are a wonderful pairing.

The fried version with pickles and yellow mustard.

Oven baked breaded pork tenderloin sandwich

Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with oil and the fryer. I get it. For those times, you can bake a pounded out pork tenderloin in the oven, breaded just like you would if you were frying. This isn’t going to get as quite as crispy or as golden brown, but it’s easy and doesn’t make a huge mess. You can also use an air fryer here, but since I don’t have one, I don’t have recipe/time/temperature. You just want to hit 150 or 155 F (65 C) for medium done pork and with pork this thin, it will carry over quite quickly to higher temperatures after removing from the oven.

Oven baked breaded pork tenderloin sandwich

This oven baked version is an easier and simpler way of cooking a breaded pork tenderloin for sandwiching.

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Oven baked version with pickles and yellow mustard.

Spice it up

After battering and frying, the pork cutlet takes a dunk into the half sriracha, half Mae Ploy mixture to coat both sides (only one side dipped here).

Sometimes you just have to spice things up and I decided to do this to a variant of the Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwich.

The sriracha wings at Goose Island Clybourn used to be one of our favorites to order when visiting the brewpub. Back in 2011, a website called “The Feast” (now long since defunct) interviewed Goose Island executive chef at the time, Andrew Hroza, about the sriracha wings. The article is here, but the video seems long since removed from the internet. Luckily, I watched that video back in 2011 and (somehow) still remember it.

In the video Hroza shared that the wing sauce they had used for years was half Sriracha sauce (Amazon affiliate link) and half sweet chili sauce called Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce (Amazon affiliate link).

Since watching that video in 2011, I’ve put this combination to work many times on wings or even store bought chicken tenders. It’s spicy, sweet, unbelievably simple to make and best of all, it’s variable so if you don’t feel like being super spicy, you can just adjust the ratios of the two sauces. Buy these two sauces at your local grocery (or somewhere on the internet) and give it a shot on your next chicken wings or fried chicken tenders.

5 minutes
Old goose sriracha wing sauce

This is a recipe that an unnamed chef came up with at the Goose Island Clybourn brewpub years and years ago. Chef Andrew Hroza shared it in a video that\'s long since left the internet. I just am archiving it here because it\'s so simple and easy to adjust for spice.

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Anyway, back to the sandwich here. I decided to Sriracha sauce my final breaded pork tenderloin and I’m very happy with my choices. If you’re interested in the slaw, I’ll be posting one of my slaw recipes next week, but my blue cheese slaw recipe would work great in this spicy sandwich.

Old Goose wing sauce breaded pork tenderloin with simple slaw

This was a good week for sandwiches. The fried breaded pork tenderloin (BPT) was easily the best. The spicy version was still crunchy and spicy and messy, with a cooling slaw. The oven baked breaded pork tenderloin was also good. It was crisper than I expected and was still tender and cooked through.

My two (fairly skinny) pork tenderloins were priced right at 10 bucks and they yielded me 7 sandwiches. I could have made smaller sandwiches too. If you’re ever looking for a sandwich to change up your normal routine, butterfly, pound and bread some pork tenderloins.

Next week I’ll be back with something a little different, but sort of the same.


The King of breakfast sandwiches

You probably never sausage a sandwich!


I get really excited about the sausage, egg and cheese biscuit. This is definitely my favorite breakfast sandwich and would be my go to selection at a fast food breakfast joint. This week I made a bunch and if you continue reading you’ll learn about the process I use to make these at home.

The biscuits

The base biscuit recipe I use is from Southern Living magazine (youtube link). It requires three ingredients and is fairly easy to get right. If the idea of keeping buttermilk around in your fridge seems wasteful, you can also buy buttermilk powder at the grocery store and follow this recipe from The Kitchenista Diaries.

I’ve already written a little bit about biscuits and I have three different flavor versions (two savory and a sweet one) in my recipe archive. Go read that if you have never made biscuits before and then come back here to read the rest of my process for sausage, egg and cheese.

The tools

This set of biscuit/cookie cutters (Amazon affiliate link) is very similar to the ones that I have. I bought mine so long ago that I don’t know where we purchased them, but I like having many different sizes. I like to bake a bigger size biscuit if I’m making a sandwich, but we usually choose a smaller size if we’re having biscuits on the side of a plate of breakfast.

Another tool that I use even more often than a rolling pin when making biscuits is a bench scraper. This is a great scraper set (Amazon affiliate link) for right around 10 bucks. It has three scrapers included. The orange plastic one I almost never use, but the red curved one is great for bread baking and getting dough out of a bowl and the metal one is what I use for biscuits and scooping and folding during the folding/layer making process. Buy this or find another bench scraper if you’re planning to make biscuits a regular thing at your house.

The sausage

Forming patties with a ring mold

I don’t usually make my own sausage blend for breakfast sandwiches. Typically I just buy bulk breakfast sausage in the tube and I form my own patties.

Forming my own means that I can get the shapes and sizes that I want. Since I already know how big my biscuit is (because I know what size biscuit cutter I used) I use a similarly sized cutter (or a slightly larger one – meat will shrink once cooked) and I spread a tiny bit of canola oil on the inside of the ring and I use it to shape my patties. The oil keeps things from sticking. Sometimes I freeform shape each patty – that’s also a very easy option – but when I’m feeling fancy and precise I use the ring mold.

Cooking each patty for 4 or 5 minutes per side on a medium-high heat should get you to a fully done stage of sausage patty goodness.

Egg options

The folded egg

A folded egg is way better for a biscuit sandwich than scrambled eggs. If you’ve ever put scrambled eggs on a sandwich, you know that you’re about to have a mess on your hands with the scrambled curds falling out. With a folded egg, you have a solid but still soft piece of egg that shouldn’t make a mess. You’re pretty much making an omelet here, with nothing but salt and pepper added.

Sausage folded egg and cheese biscuit. The king of breakfast sandwiches.

Here’s a short slideshow of how I prepare a folded egg. The whole process takes about 1 minute of cooking time plus whatever time it takes you to get your surface hot. I like to do it in a flat griddle so I can flip things easier. I usually try to get the hot surface up to between 275 and 350 F (that’s around 177 C).

The round egg

A “round egg” is the egg preparation you’ll find on an Egg McMuffin at McDonald’s. A folded egg is what you’ll find on a biscuit sandwich. Many McDonald’s enthusiasts prefer the round egg more than a folded one because it requires the McD’s cook to use a fresh egg instead of a pre-cooked folded one. In our DIY make-at-home versions they’re all fresh eggs, so that part doesn’t matter very much, it’s more about the effort you want to put into it.

I don’t like to cook the round egg very much, but I still cooked one for this post. The main reason I don’t like a round egg is because you have to cook it pretty well through in order for it to retain its shape in the ring mold. I like my eggs a bit softer and less done. If you like yours more well done then this might be a fun option for you, but I much prefer the folded egg option.

If you want to cook a round egg, I would grab the same ring mold that you used to cut out your biscuit and you place that on a hot surface. Make sure if you’re doing this on a non-stick surface pay close attention so that you do not scratch the surface with the metal mold. Grease the ring mold first with some vegetable oil and pour your egg into it. I like to stir the egg a little once its in the mold and cooking to make sure that the yolk gets cracked and mixed in a bit with the white. Cook for a couple of minutes until it seems like the sides are set inside the mold. With tongs, carefully remove the ring mold and flip the egg to finish it cooking on the top side.

A round egg

The microwaved egg

Chef José Andrés shared this trick on tiktok and a friend shared it with me. It’s basically one egg mixed very thoroughly with one spoonful of mayonnaise. I was skeptical, but I tried it and it worked fairly well. I like my scrambled eggs on the softer side of things so I might play around with the timing on the microwave to get a better result. Sixty seconds for me was a bit too long, but to have an egg that is the perfect size for a biscuit sandwich in less than 2 minutes is fantastic (gotta count the cracking and scooping and stirring time too).

If the idea of mayonnaise in your scrambled eggs makes you squirm, just remember that mayo is simply oil and egg yolks mixed together with seasoning (and if store bought, preservatives).

Here’s Chef Andrés explaining his technique. A photo of my attempt at the microwaved egg is below.

The Jose Andres microwaved egg trick with a couple dribbles of hot sauce.

Sausage gravy

Gravy isn’t a typical ingredient in a sausage egg and cheese biscuit, but it’s good to know how to make a quick sausage gravy for a breakfast. Here’s my recipe but read below if you want to know my gravy ratio and methods to make gravy on the fly.

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Sausage gravy

Everyone should know how to make sausage gravy. You never know when there will be a gravy emergency and you will have to step up and save the world. You should be prepared.

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If you want to keep things really simple, the sausage gravy I usually make is made up of 2 parts oil/grease, 2 parts all-purpose flour and 16 parts of liquid. This means you can use 2 tablespoons of leftover fat/grease from cooking sausage in a pan, 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of milk (16 tablespoons to a cup) to make a sausage gravy. I’ve had good success scaling the recipe up to double and halving the recipe as well. Since I was only eating one biscuit here, I used 1 tablespoon sausage grease, 1 tablespoon of flour and a half cup of milk. If you’re going to adjust anything in this gravy ratio, you can adjust the milk/liquid. If you add more, you just may need to cook it a bit longer to reduce and thicken the gravy.

If you’ve just finished cooking the sausage and your pan is still hot you can remove all but 2 tablespoons of grease from the pan (add some vegetable oil if you don’t have quite enough in the pan) and then spoon in your two tablespoons of flour. Stir this around over medium heat for a couple of minutes and this will cook off the flour taste. Add your milk and stir everything to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until you get the gravy consistency that you desire. It’s that simple.

Sausage gravy and folded egg

And those are some options for how you can make the King of Breakfast Biscuits. You can choose your own adventure with the egg options, but my favorite for visual appeal is the folded egg. For ease and quickness, that microwaved egg trick is pretty special. If I’m already cooking sausage patties and my pan or griddle is hot I will keep folding eggs.

The bonus biscuit

I’ll finish out this sausage, egg and cheese post with an extra cheesy surprise. This is my super savory cheddar cheese biscuit recipe with yellow mustard, sausage, cheddar and a folded egg for you to look at and think about until you make your next biscuit sandwiches. Stay tuned for next week when I’ll be writing about even more cheese!

The cheddar attack: a savory cheddar cheese biscuit, mustard, sausage, melted cheddar and a folded egg.