Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: The Reuben at Roegels Barbecue

I didn't really think I liked ruben sandwiches...then I met this beast.
I didn't really think I liked ruben sandwiches...then I met this beast. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

I'm not sure what it was. Maybe the sauerkraut. Growing up with a German grandmother who was revered for her cooking, there was always plenty of the pickled cabbage lying around, but I never took to it. George Carlin once described himself as a child as a fussy eater, which he said was a euphemism for big pain in the ass. Clearly, I was a big pain in the ass.

But, I grew up and began to appreciate my eastern Eurpean heritage. Still, I never found the taste for the ruben. I tried a few over the years, but most fell flat. But, everyone kept emailing me about Roegels Barbecue and it was then I encountered what I have to believe is the world's greatest version of the sandwich, and it made me want to start wearing lederhosen under my boots.

This sandwich is a big, beastly mess. The toasted rye bread barely contains the cured and smoked brisket, slaw and Russian dressing. It's definitely a two hander. The brisket is, like most things at Roegels, blissfully smokey and wondrous. When you happen to get a little fat in a bite, it's like Texas Christmas.

The in-house made slaw is perfectly tangy with a bit of a crunch that cuts through the fatty brisket and blends well with the crusty bark. But, somehow, its the Russian dressing that pulls it all together. That hint of sweetness makes the whole damn thing sing like George Straight covering "Danke Schoen," which I want to hear immediately (get on that, Georgie).

It's a masterpiece of a sandwich, which is probably why they only serve it on Thursdays. The long line stretching out the front door at lunch last Thursday is evidence plenty are wise to this genius. Don't be a big pain in the ass like I was. Get down there and grab you some of that goodness.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke