No doubt the first Southern sandwich was the iconic Biscuit stuffed with Ham, Bacon, Egg or Sausage- from biscuit to bacon- an Iron Skillet was the vehicle to make these quick breakfast, lunch or supper sandwiches.
The South can’t lay claim to Hamburgers or Grilled Cheese Sandwiches but there’s a good chance the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato was dreamed up way down this way, with bacon fried up in an Iron Skillet. Even Baloney (go ahead, admit it- you know you love baloney occasionally)- and Hot Dogs are better fried in an Iron Skillet than at the finest Weinie Roast in town! From the working poor to the finest ladies luncheon- sandwiches are a Southern Staple. Iron Skillet Sandwiches take plain sandwiches to a different level. Take Hamburgers-
Here at Camellia’s Cottage, we have an ongoing list of our favorites when we travel. On our favorite Hamburger List-
- A tiny place in Sausalito, California-oh how I wish I knew the name! The hamburgers are made inside the window on a revolving grill, eaten out of hand still hot, delicious!
- Also, we agree on Shake Shack in New York City’s Theater District which always makes our top five and
- Yo’ Mommas – a New Orleans hole in the wall down in the French Quarter is just amazing with a side of their macaroni and cheese and yes! you read that right! You do need to be on foot for miles afterward! Now, their top list may change but mine always includes
- A Homemade Hamburger made stove top in what else? My Iron Skillet! After bacon is fried to a crisp, the drippings drained… fresh formed patties are fried until the outside has a crunch and the inside is still moist…oh my! Yes, it stays on my permanent list, especially if there is a summer tomato on it!
Now truly, for those who think they like their homemade hamburgers grilled outside– try adding Smoked Salt to the ground beef mixture along with the smoked bacon flavor from the pan drippings- you may never want to fire up the grill again! I learned this tip from a Southern yet also French trained chef who adds smoked salt to her collard greens! You can never get the Pit Barbeque flavor at home but a close second is to Oven Roast a small Pork Roast in that Iron Skillet, again using Smoked Salt until the outside of the pork roast is crunchy and crisp but the meat is still tender. Remove the roast, let it rest, then pull or chop, add your favorite Barbeque Sauce or make your own – drain the pork drippings, add ketchup, hot sauce, lots of lemon juice, more smoked salt and bubble on top of the stove until thickened. Serve on a good bun.
Obviously, a BLT must have a summer Tomato, crisp Lettuce- (my favorite is Romaine) and toasted bread. If this heat hasn’t zapped your energy, you can always add a Fried Green Tomato or even decorate it with a hard boiled egg. If you don’t like BLT’s, I’m gonna have to put you on the endangered species list along with the DoDo Bird!
Iron Skillet Sandwiches are fast, delicious and truly the one pan meal- use up bits and pieces in a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, or get creative by using two different types of cheeses. With this one- not just two different types of cheese- one is always a good quality sliced American Cheese (Come on y’all even Martha Stewart agrees on using American Cheese for the melting quality!) and I added fine grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I used day old Italian bread sliced thin and added sliced, pickled Jalapeno Peppers, then buttered the outside of the bread. Let the sandwiches sizzle on both sides in a bit of butter…I love that the grated cheese gets crunchy in the pan and around the edges.
For a quicker than Sloppy Joe’s, Skillet Sandwich, brown the beef and diced onions until crumbly the same way but add crushed thyme, red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper, put the lid on and simmer a few minutes. Pile on buns. Smear buns with yellow mustard, shake a few drops of hot sauce and a slice of pickle or two for what we call a Hot Beef sandwich. Finally, not strictly a sandwich, no one will argue with being fed a Handheld Meat Pie-
These are filled with a mix of ground beef and sausage, onions, garlic and dry thyme…fill some pastry and fry them up in Yo’ Momma’s Iron Skillet… Take a bite off the end of the Meat Pie, and much like Hot Beefs.. squirt some yellow mustard and hot sauce into the Meat Pie , you can’t eat just one!
Well, now that I’ve blown my diet and have gained up just writing this- I probably need to stop having dalliances in the kitchen with my Iron Skillet and eat salads for a day or two… but I know and you know…it won’t be long before I’ll be draggin’ out the cast iron and making more Skillet Sandwiches before the summer tomatoes are gone!
Iron Skillet Sandwiches, the ultimate fast one pan meal!
Love y’all, Camellia
*Meat Pies found in ‘Of Real Roux and Faux Beignets…’ (from 2/28/17 Camellia’s Cottage) *I use 73/27 ground beef for juicy Hamburgers, but lower fat content 80/20 for Hot Beefs and Meat Pies *I prefer thick sliced bacon for BLT’s and in Breakfast Biscuits, takes a little longer to cook but just tastes better. *Smoked Salt tip is from Bon Appetite, Y’all by Virginia Willis- wonderful cookbook if you’re lookin’, *Smoked Salt can be found in most large grocers or online.