Everyone's favorite sandwich is even better when it's homemade! This juicy Corned Beef Reuben is braised in dark beer using the low and slow method, then topped with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and scratch-made Russian dressing. What a classic!
What Makes a Great Reuben?
Are you a reuben snob? There are a bunch of us running around, and I've bumped into several over the years.
I bet if you asked twenty people, every single person would tell you a different way to make this popular deli sandwich. Better yet, they'd describe exactly where they were when they tasted the best reuben of their life.
From that moment on, I've been on a quest to make a reuben at home that tasted just as good. It's fun to watch their cutters pile on the beef, top it with melty swiss cheese, tangy sauerkraut and zesty Russian dressing.
I wish I could say I've mastered the process, but my Corned Beef Reuben recipe comes pretty close.
The ingredients in a Katz Deli reuben are a tradition that dates back to 1888. They make their own corned beef that's been aged for at least 30 days!
Katz adds sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and Russian Dressing between two slices of seedless rye bread. What sets their sandwich apart is how they make their corned beef, and how high they pile it on!
I can't reproduce their method of cooking, but I can make a mean corned beef brisket with some Guinness beer! This low and slow method helps my recipe come close to a New York deli classic. Here's what you'll need to make it happen.
- corned beef - cooked low and slow from scratch
- seedless rye or marbled bread - dense enough to hold up to fillings
- sauerkraut - mild or wild (it's your choice)
- Russian dressing - homemade recipe in recipe card!
- swiss cheese - sharp, yet mild and creamy
- butter for grilling - yields the best flavor
Prepare the corned beef the day before using my dutch oven method. Or, make it on the same day, but start early because the brisket takes 5 hours to cook.
Rinse the sauerkraut with cold water and drain. I like to mix the dressing with the sauerkraut before putting it on the sandwich. This may not be the traditional way of making a reuben, but it has its advantages.
First of all, it tones down the sourness of the sauerkraut. I've also found that it heats more evenly when grilling. But, mostly, it keeps the sauerkraut and dressing in place instead of spilling out of the bread.
To assemble the sandwich, pile the meat really high on one slice of the bread, then add slices of swiss cheese. Spread the other side of the bread with sauerkraut/dressing mixture.
Close the sandwich and spread the outsides with butter. Grill on medium low in a cast iron skillet or grilling pan for 3 minutes, then flip sandwich over and grill until the cheese melts throughly.
They're very similar, but the main difference is Russian dressing adds horseradish and chili sauce to the mix. If you look at the two dressings side by side, you'll notice that Russian dressing is a bit darker due to the color in the chili sauce.
Some are, but it's usually when pastrami is used instead of corned beef. I like my reubens with Russian dressing instead of mustard, but everyone has their own way of making this sandwich!
I never knew there were so many types of sauerkraut until I started making reubens. My favorite is a Bavarian type because it's mild and not so pungent. If you love that strong flavor, then look for a fresh sauerkraut that has a real bite.
- Since the meat is piled so thick on this sandwich, it's challenging to flip over in the pan. Use two spatulas or one that is strong enough to handle large items.
- Grill only one sandwich at at time to prevent crowding the pan. It will help you adjust the heat and flip easier.
- Use medium-low heat in the skillet so the bread won't burn while you're waiting for the cheese to melt.
- If the corned beef is cold, warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds before assembling the sandwich to aid in the heating process.
If you love this classic Corned Beef Reuben, enjoy these other recipes from my kitchen to yours!
- Dutch Oven Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Caprese Panini
- Pesto Grilled Cheese
- The Carolina Burger
- Sheet Pan Sliders