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 guests teammates 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 attendee player 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:
If I happen to find myself at a football-watching party, which I’m afraid has happened more times than I’ve wanted, I prefer to seek pleasure in my food. (Anywhere but the television screen, really.)
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.
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.
Every potluck has to have an option that the “not-into-potluck people” can execute, easily.
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.
Are you the lone vegetarian in your game-watching crew, the one who always brings extra hummus and carrots in anticipation of the inevitably beefy spread?
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 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.
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.
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.