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Old 05-07-2016, 01:20 PM   #1
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How to bind chopped pepperoni, salami, and bacon

Hello All!

I have this sandwich I make that I think is pretty good, except that I have a problem with it falling apart.

How I make my sandwich

Basically I take sliced salami, sliced pepperoni, (precooked) bacon, and banana peppers and throw them into a food processor to grind it up fairly ground up but not pasty.

I then put it in a skillet with some olive oil and brown/crisp it a little and then I add some red wine vinegar and black pepper to taste and set aside.

Then I take a loaf of french bread (there's this "everything" french bread at my local store that has "everything" seasoning on top of it, which I like to use, vs. plain french bread). I cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the inside of the bread.

I squirt some horseradish sauce on the bottom side, then add a layer of sliced sharp chedder and pepper jack cheese. Then I add heap of the meat mix, and finally top with another layer of sliced sharp chedder and pepper jack cheese.

I then butter the skillet and press the sandwich on the skillet on each side for about a minute (like a cubano).

So this is one of my favorite sandwiches to make, and I think it's yummy! The problem is it's a little bit of a pain to eat, because there really isn't anything binding the meat together.

What I've Tried

So I've been trying to figure out what I can do to make it not fall apart. The first thing I tried is to shred/grate the cheese and mix it in with the meat. Unfortunately, that doesn't work. I assume it's because of the olive oil and vinegar, but I haven't tried outright removing them, as it's a crucial part of the flavor I'm going for.

Next time I get a chance to make this sandwich, I was thinking maybe I would try browning the meat without adding the oil/vinegar, and instead sprinkle them on the top while building the sandwich. I figure this might help, but I'm not entirely sure it will completely help, since these meats are a bit fatty in their own right.

I was also thinking I could go the route of making it a patty (like making a hamburger patty), where I mix an egg and some breadcrumbs and cook it as a patty. I'm not so sure I really want to do that though. I'm not outright opposed to it, but I already feel like the flavor is where I want it, so I'd like to avoid throwing new flavors into the mix (though admittedly, eggs and breadcrumbs are fairly neutral).

But I'm also not sure I dig the idea of a patty for this sandwich in general. I like the mouth feels of heaping mass of chopped meat, and I actually don't mind if there's some amount of "fall apartness". I just really want to reduce it a bit somehow.

Help!

I'm certainly down for experimenting but I'm not by any means even fractionally rich, so I can only indulge in this pleasure about once a month or so, so I was hoping I could maybe see if anybody else out there might have any ideas?

If you got this far, thanks for reading my TL;DR!

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Old 05-07-2016, 01:28 PM   #2
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Yu could try melting the cheese over the top of the cooked meats in the skillet to hold them together.

Also, don't cut the bread all the way through. Leave a hinge along the long bottom edge as with a submarine sandwich etc. Then fill the bread with the cheese at the opening.
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Old 05-07-2016, 01:52 PM   #3
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Hello Andy,

Thanks for the tips!

I will for sure try leaving a hinge on one side of the bread instead of fully cutting in half. I think this will definitely help with flipping the sandwich when I press it, as well as containing it a bit. Thanks!

As for melting the cheese on top of the meat in the skillet.. I'm skeptical. The cheese melts during pressing already. Although maybe melting it in the skillet first will leave it less compact so more chance for the cheese to melt down into it. But I'm still skeptical because as mentioned, I've already tried grating the cheese and mixing it in with the meat, which melts during press, and I think permeates the meat moreso (though admittedly not a dedicated separate layer on top), but that didn't help. Marking as tentative.

That did give me an idea I might try first, though. I think I'm going to try making a cheese sauce (shred the cheese, coat in flour or corn starch, melt into some milk). I feel like this *might* do the trick as far as giving it a degree of keeping it together, without going full on patty-mode.. but I'm kind of skeptical about how it will work out vs. pressing :/
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:30 PM   #4
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You could try making a meat salad out of the ingredients. Squirt your horseradish sauce in with the meat and maybe some chopped onion or something to your liking..

You are creating your own problem by chopping the meat in a food processor. Just use it sliced and layer it like a regular sandwich..problem solved..
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post

...You are creating your own problem by chopping the meat in a food processor. Just use it sliced and layer it like a regular sandwich..problem solved..

That's what I was thinking too, Rock.
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:44 PM   #6
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Thank you for the advice, Rocklobster! You are right, I am creating my own problem, and yes, I could just leave it sliced. However, I do not want to leave the meat sliced. Texture and consistency of food is an important part of my food eating experience, and I feel just leaving the meat sliced doesn't bring what I want to the table!
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:52 PM   #7
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How to bind chopped pepperoni, salami, and bacon

Maybe rather than pulverizing it in the FP, cut the meat into strips and use it that way.

Good luck, and BTW, welcome to DC!
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slinkhi View Post
Thank you for the advice, Rocklobster! You are right, I am creating my own problem, and yes, I could just leave it sliced. However, I do not want to leave the meat sliced. Texture and consistency of food is an important part of my food eating experience, and I feel just leaving the meat sliced doesn't bring what I want to the table!
You might just need to accept that this is messy to eat, like tacos and sloppy Joes. Use a fork to eat what falls out of the sandwich
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:51 PM   #9
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In case anybody was curious, I went ahead with making a thick cheese sauce with the pepperjack/sharp cheddar, and mixed that into the meat.

I started out trying to not fully cut the bread (leave a hinge) but I was having issues with doing that vs. keeping everything same level across for pressing, and I was feeling good about the way the meat was holding together with the cheese sauce, so I went ahead and cut it all the way.

I had minimal issues with this coming out the ends when pressing, as long as I was careful to press enough to get some compression but not so much to make it all splooge out.

My only regret is I feel I used a little bit too much cheese sauce to meat ratio, which I did because I figured that would be the only cheese I include on the sandwich. Ended up a little too creamy for my taste, so next time I'm going to only add *just* enough cheese sauce to bind the meat and no more, and then stick with adding sliced cheese while building the sandwich.

Overall, I think I'm happy with how this turned out though! Thank you all of you for your tips and suggestions :)
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:39 PM   #10
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Hi slinkhi, and welcome to DC.

I was just reading through this thread, and am glad to hear you had success! Just for another idea, you could slice and toast some baguette rounds and use your meat/pepper/cheese blend as a dip.

Another possibility is toasting slices of your French bread, and having open faced sandwiches. Or even un-toasted. French bread is thick, and sometimes open faced is kind of nice, so the goodies don't squish out when you bite into it.
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