What is Reuben?
Reuben is a name given to a sandwich involving layered meat or corned beef with cheese, dressing, and sauerkraut. Rye bread is commonly used to make this particular sandwich, but other bread slices may also be used. Aside from corned beef, pastrami may also be used. Pastrami is a delicatessen type of meat which is usually made with beef also. This type of sandwich is typically served hot from toasting or grilling. There are also a lot of variations to this type of sandwich depending on the region or location.
There are also multiple versions of stories on how the Reuben sandwich came about. But many attribute its name to a man named Reuben Kulakofsky from Omaha, Nebraska. Kulakofsky was said to frequent Blackstone Hotel with his poker buddies back in the 1920s to 1930s. He was tagged as the inventor of the sandwich recipe until it became part of the hotel’s menu. The recipe for the sandwich back then was entered into some contest by a hotel staff and won, which made the “Reuben” sandwich very popular. Other stories point to a New York restaurant named “Reuben’s Delicatessen” as the inventor of the famous sandwich. The sandwich was said to be named after the owner Arnold Reuben and it was back in 1914 when his restaurant had a sandwich named “Reuben special” in their menu.
But regardless of its true origin, Reuben sandwiches have invaded delis and eateries across the US with the basic recipe still intact. Variations may be done on some of the ingredients, but the original recipe still remained as favorite for sandwich eaters. One popular variation of the sandwich is called the “Rachel” sandwich and this version uses pastrami instead of the original corned beef. Sauerkraut is also substituted with coleslaw. Some other variations are called Blue Reuben, Virgin Reuben, and Grouper Reuben among others.