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Everyone knows that the biggest football game of the year is all about
commercial breaks teamwork, jerseys that cut off players' arms in an extremely awkward way, and snacks.
But the desire to provide and eat every type of sport-spectating food is not enough to motivate anyone to spend all day in the kitchen (we all need a little time
on the couch on the bench). So we put our heads together huddled up with our Test Kitchen Chef Josh Cohen to turn our favorite Game Day snacks into sandwiches* that can be easily potlucked. How?
- The host provides the beer and the snack mix and the bread; the
gueststeammates each come with a different filling.
- If the bread is three-feet long, that's particularly convivial, but a smattering of single-serving options (mini baguettes, hot dog buns, Hawaiian rolls, subs) can offer even more variety.
- If all stuffings will share space on a humongous sub, keep the vegetarian options at the end for minimal contamination (and use toothpicks as slice markers and sandwich identifiers).
- Before the game starts, every
attendeeplayer assembles the section he or she is responsible for; then just slice, divide, and conquer. See? Teamwork!
* The official term for this is sandwichification.
This giant sandwich was an all-hands-on-deck sort of situation—we got the whole Food52 editorial team in on it. Use the links below to find a bit from each one of us on how to successfully potluck each snacky sandwich:
- Pulled Pork with Vinegar Slaw
- Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese and Hot Sauce
- Pimento Cheese Sandwich with Fried Pickles & Ranch Dressing
- Meatball Sub
- Nacho-Inspired with Chile Rellenos, Guacamole, and Salsa
Inspired By Ribs (and excuses to leave)
Let me explain: I’m afraid I don’t have much of an appetite for football, and I’m sure there’s at least one of you who’s felt this way, too. These pulled pork and vinegar slaw sandwiches are ideal for someone like me: When I’m eating these, it’s hard to focus on anything else. . Need an excuse to step away from the game and go to the bathroom to wash your sauce-coated hands? Here’s your sandwich. They'll pull you out of the game if you didn’t want to be there in the first place.
Be sure to start the pork roast in the morning (it cooks for 6 to 10 hours). Bring some extra stock (or the juices from the roasting dish) to the party, then rewarm the shredded pork on the stove in the first quarter, adding back some liquid as needed.
For the pulled pork:
- 6 1/2 pounds bone-in picnic shoulder (pork shoulder)
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
For the cabbage slaw and assembly:
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup shredded fennel bulb
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
- Pickled jalapeños, for serving
- Buns or rolls, for serving
Inspired by Wings (Without the Pesky WING BONES)
A sandwich to satiate every craving, none of them complex: You’ll get cubes of chicken crackly-crisp in a skillet, then take them swimming in a sauce of butter slashed with Frank’s RedHot till poppy-colored. (We can’t stop you from making your own hot sauce instead, but that’s not the point of a buffalo chicken sub.)
Splotch the whole situation with that very cold, curiously perky, creamy blue cheese sauce—and if you’re of camp ranch, just leave the cheese out of the recipe and add in a palmful of chopped chives (or borrow some dressing from whoever is bringing the pimento cheese components).
It’s got a lot going on without any fanciful toppings, but nothing’s stopping you from quick-pickling some celery moons or onion rings to go all over the top. Strongly suggested before diving in: a napkin bib.
- 4 ounces blue cheese, plus more for serving, if you'd like
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream or thick yogurt
- 1/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, scallions, or garlic scapes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- Grapeseed oil, for frying
- 1 cup Frank's RedHot hot sauce, or your favorite hot sauce, plus more for serving
- 4 tablespoons butter
Inspired by Cold Cuts (a.k.a. "MEATS")
This, the muffuletta, fulfills that part of the party—and some of us will gander that it’ll also be the part of the sammie that’s eaten first. (Some classics stick around for good reason—but not this one.)
The muffuletta is a New Orleans sandwich, by way of Italian immigrants; in it, you’ll usually find something like olive tapenade, Provolone, roasted peppers, and “meats.” Pull over at grocery you see en route to the party and grab the packages with the words “mortadella,” “soppressata,” and “ham” on them, along with sliced Provolone and olive tapenade or relish (or just olives that you can smush into the sandwich). Coat the bread bellies with the olives, then layer up the meat and cheese. You’ll look like an all-star potluck player, your last-minute scheming never known—unless you want to gloat.
For the olive spread:
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives (or your favorite pitted green olive)
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 pickled pepperoncini peppers, stems and seeds
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine veingar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 shallot, minced
For the sandwich:
- 1 loaf Italian bread topped with sesame seeds (or substitute focaccia or ciabatta)
- roasted red peppers
Inspired by Pimento Cheese & Vegetarians
Those days are gone. Bread and fry up some crispy, dill-y pickles, make a bed of pimento cheese for them to rest on, and lay down a blanket of ranch dressing to keep 'em cozy. You've just taken pimento cheese dip and turned it into a (somewhat) viable dinner option.
For the pimento cheese and buttermilk ranch dressing:
- 2 cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
- 2 cups extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
- 1 cup drained pimentos or roasted red peppers, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken vigorously
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 splash sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 2 teaspoons minced chives
- 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
For the fried pickles and the assembly:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 jar whole dill pickled, slice 1/2-inch thick on the bias
- Peanut oil, for frying
- Rolls or subs, for making sandwiches
Inspired By meatballs & Going all in
For those who aren't satisfied with "snacks" for dinner, who'd like to sit down with a fork, knife, and tablecloth, we present the meatball sandwich. It's like you're at class-act red sauce restaurant—except the game is on TV and everyone's waiting for halftime.
You can make the sauce and the meatballs a couple of days in advance (and if you don't want to pan-fry so many, skip the stove altogether and go straight to baking in a 400° F oven for 15 to 20 minutes). When you're ready to assemble, blanket the meatballs with mozzarella, then send them in the oven until they're enveloped by cheese. Warm the red sauce on the stove and grab the Parm—you'll want that for showering before smushing on the top slice of bread.
For the sauce:
- 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
- Salt to taste
For the meatballs:
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 pound ground veal
- 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for showering sandwich
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 4 to 6 sandwich rolls, buns, or subs
- Mozzarella, for topping
Inspired By Nachos (what could go wrong?)
Nacho-eating is as much a sport as football (hear me out): Unless you are an intrepid eater—one willing to get your forearm all up in there and dig deep into the center of the baking tray, where the tortilla chips are heavy with every kind of topping—you're going to end up with a smidgen of cheese or a half-cube of avocado. Maybe you'll never find a piece of chicken at all.
This sandwich is a solution for the more timid among us: You get all the best part of a tray of nachos—smoky peppers, black beans, guacamole, salsa, and even tortilla chips—in even layers, and all to yourself.
Prep the bean dip and the salsa well in advance (or pick up a container you like at the store). The guacamole, cheesy chips, and chile rellenos should be made closer to game time)—and if you want to skip the whole deep-frying thing, you can char the poblanos, give them a rough chop, and mix them with Montery Jack instead.
For the chiles rellenos:
- 4 poblano peppers
- 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese, plus more for the tortilla chips below
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 room temperature eggs, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup flour plus 1/4 cup for dredging, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- Tortilla chips
- Your favorite bean spread
- Your favorite guacamole
- Your favorite salsa
- Cilantro, for garnishing
- 4 buns, rolls, or subs, for serving
Inspired by... SUGAR?
Let it be said outright that this is an entirely extraneous, frivolous, and kind of outrageous sandwich—but we're gathered to watch grown men tackle each other so maybe it's not entirely inappropriate?
We cinnamon-toasted the bread (spread with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar; send under the broiler) then layered on chopped cookies and brownies, followed by scoops of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate ice cream.
If the rest of your sandwiches are communing on one loaf, keep the sweets on a separate sub "sidecar"—no one wants marinara sauce on ice cream.
What's your Game Day game plan? Tell us how you celebrate/spectate in the comments below.