Test Kitchen

The Ultimate Steak Sandwich

We grew up spending our summers on the seacoast of New Hampshire and there was an abundance of beach boardwalk food at every corner, from fried seafood to sliced steak sandwiches. But they were mostly low quality, yet still delicious at the time, ingredients. Steak sandwiches, for example, were frozen ‘beef’ smothered with quickly grilled onions, American cheese the slathered with mayonnaise, seasoning and so on.

So for one super bowl party I did make mini grilled steak sandwiches and they were a big hit and had sliced short ribs for the meat. I then got to thinking of how to make the ultimate, amazing and top quality steak sandwich–something that would be a showstopper. I thought back to the early days of Washington when Morton’s steakhouse was a power base before it became an average cafeteria for an office building on Connecticut Avenue. We would always go there for their happy hour when they would bring out trays of their steak sandwiches and we would elbow our way over there and devour them. With that in mind, I came up with a cajun spiced steak sandwich, with caramelized unions, roasted red peppers, herbs, horseradish sauce, gruyere cheese on a brioche bun and it was amazing. Not easy. Not cheap but it was worth the extra work and you can make mini ones for parties of serve instead of burgers.


  • For the Steak:
    • 6 aged rib-eye steaks cut 1 inch thick
    • 1/2 cup Hungarian paprika
    • 1/3 cup David’s kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup black pepper, freshly ground
    • 1/3 cup garlic powder
    • 1/3 cup onion powder
    • 1/4 cup thyme, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup dried oregano
    • 2 tablespoons of instant coffee
    • 2 tablespoons black pepper, freshly ground
    • 2 1/2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • Caramelized onions
  • Roasted red peppers
  • 8 ounces of gruyere cheese, thickly grated
  • For the Sauce:
    • 1 cup of sour cream
    • 2 tablespoons of prepared horseradish
    • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon of stone ground mustard
    • 3-4 dashes of Sriracha
  • 12 brioche rolls/buns or 24 mini buns for appetizer sized sandwiches, and if you really want to have a strong onion hit, use onion rolls

Making It

  • Take all of the ingredients for the steaks and toss them together and rub the mix evenly on both sides of the steak, then pound the mix into the steak with a mallet to 1/2 inch thick, lightly drizzle olive oil on both sides and let rest in the refrigerator for 8 hours
  • Mix the ingredients for the horseradish sauce in a bowl and let rest for 3 hours so the flavor intensifies
  • Take the steaks out of the refrigerator and let rest for 30 minutes
  • Turn your gas grill to high and shut the cover for 15 minutes, grill the steaks 3-4 minutes, then flip and top with the cheese and cook covered for 4 minutes, put on the toasted buns, top with onions, red peppers and sauce and serve

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