The secret to making a killer Reuben sandwich, according to a golf-club chef

You, too, can make a delicious Reuben sandwich at home.

Courtesy of Oakmont Country Club

Welcome to Clubhouse Eats, where we celebrate the game’s most delectable food and drink. Hope you brought your appetites.


We’re only a couple of years away from the centennial of the Reuben sandwich’s creation, but we’re not about to wait almost 700 days to show the handheld delicacy some much-deserved love.

You might assume that the sandwich was born in the Big Apple — with so many excellent delis in New York City, it’s a logical first guess. Yet, the sandwich has its roots in Omaha, Nebraska, specifically at the Blackstone Hotel, where Reuben Kulakofsky crafted the sandwich to feed a group of late-night poker players. One of those poker players was the owner of the hotel, and he quickly added the sandwich to the hotel’s restaurant. The rest, as they say, is history.

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These days, you can find Reuben sandwiches on menus all across the country, including at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif., where Chef Pierangelo Ramponi makes one that has developed a cult following amongst members of the club.

It should come as no surprise that an Italian chef has transformed a relatively simple sandwich into a delicious main attraction. After all, cooking in Italy is all about letting high-quality ingredients speak for themselves, and that’s essentially what Chef Ramponi has done with the Reuben at Oakmont.

How to make Oakmont Country Club’s Reuben

For those who want to make the sandwich to Chef Ramponi’s specs, you’ll need 4 to 5 ounces of corned beef, 3 ounces of Swiss cheese, 2.5 to 3 ounces of sauerkraut, 1.3 tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing, and two slices of rye bread that’s first buttered and toasted. (We recommend using a non-stick skillet on the stovetop.)

The secret sauce — literally — to Chef Ramponi’s Reuben Sandwich is Thousand Island dressing that’s spiked with a touch of sweet chili sauce. Ramponi adds a splash of the sweet chili sauce to every 1/3 cup of the dressing. “It gives a sweet and tangy kick to the sauce,” he says.

Although Chef Ramponi stresses the importance of using high-quality ingredients, he won’t urge you to make your own corned beef at home. “It’s a long process and I don’t suggest doing it at all,” he laughs. “I would suggest going to a nice Jewish deli or a German deli.”

While you’re there, also pick up the Swiss cheese and especially the sauerkraut. Going to a specialty purveyor for those ingredients — including a good bakery for the rye bread — will ensure that your finished sandwich is a memorable one. “The key for everything is getting good ingredients,” he says. “If you do that, honestly, you cannot make a mistake.”

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