Does Reuben’s Meat Come From? Know More

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The cultural impact in America is seen in the people’s lifestyles and food. One such food is the much-loved Reuben sandwich. This sandwich has murky origins, but it is a fan favorite for many during lunch hours, consisting of corned beef, rye bread, thousand island dressing, and swiss cheese. But do you know where the Rueben sandwich meat comes from?

Does Reuben's Meat Come From

The Reuben sandwich is corned beef on rye topped with sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, and swiss cheese. The man component of the Reuben sandwich is corned beef. Corned beef comes from cows, and this type of meat is actually from the brisket flank of a cow.

Origins Of Corned Beef 

Although Ireland has been a significant supplier of salted meat since the Middle Ages, the phrase ‘corned beef’ is thought to have been coined by the English in the 1700s to characterize the size of the salt crystals used to cure the meat (they were as big as corn kernels). It is linked to St. Patrick’s Day, but not in the way you may assume.

When Irish immigrants arrived in America, they found that the salt pork and bacon they were used to were pricey luxury foods, so they substituted corned beef. On St. Patrick’s Day, people eat corned beef because of this.

Origins Of The Reuben Sandwich 

The Reuben sandwich appears to have originated in New York Jewish delis, a modern mainstay of the city’s Jewish delis. In 1914, a hungry actress named Annette Seelos came to Rueben’s deli at night. Reuben’s Restaurant and Deli was located on east 58th street, and the actress wanted to grab a quick bite to eat – his daughter recalled this anecdote who saw Seelos come and was recognized due to her roles in Chaplin’s movies.

She requested a large sandwich, so Reuben assembled one with ham, turkey, Swiss, coleslaw, and Russian dressing on rye bread. This sandwich was named the “Rueben Special” due to its instant popularity.

Invention And First Appearance

The Reuben sandwich we love today is very different sounding from this version, which directly leads us to Nebraska. Some claim the Reuben sandwich was invented in the 1920s. Some claim it was invented by Bernard Schimmel who worked at the Blackstone Hotel. Schimmel was requested one day by his poker pals to make corned beef and sauerkraut sandwiches.

Schimmel, a European-trained chef, gave it his own twist by draining the sauerkraut, combining it with Thousand Island dressing, and topping it on dark rye bread with Swiss and handmade corned beef. But it was his grilling that was the icing on the cake. 

The first time a Reuben sandwich appeared on a restaurant menu appears to be in the main dining room of the Blackstone in 1934 when the sandwich was only 40 cents. This appears to put an end to the dispute, at least for the time being.

Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher Reuben Sandwiches 

Vegetarian variations, known as “veggie Reubens,” eliminate the corned beef or replace it with vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers, wheat meat, and mushrooms. Vegan versions can include non-dairy cheese, dressing, butter, and the aforementioned wheat meat. Wheat meat is colloquially known as tempeh or mushrooms and is also known as seitan in some parts of the United States.

It is, nonetheless, regularly served in kosher eateries. Non-dairy imitation cheese, vegetarian corned beef, or eliminating the meat or the cheese are all options for kosher versions. 

Rachel Reuben 

This is also a type of Reuben sandwich. There is a replacement of the corned beef with turkey or pastrami and the sauerkraut is then replaced with coleslaw. This turkey version is known as a “Georgia Reuben” or “California Reuben” in some parts of the United States, particularly Michigan, and it may also ask for barbecue sauce or French dressing instead of Russian dressing. The name “Reuben and Rachel” may have come from a song written in 1871. 


The Reuben Sandwich is a timeless classic that is loved by many. The cultural influence of this sandwich can also be found in many countries through the proliferation of various sitcoms. This widely loved and appreciated food sandwich has a lot of controversy surrounding it, and so it is essential to note that there needs to be a lot of clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Do We Need To Rinse Brisket Before Cooking?

It depends on the individual if they want to rinse the brisket before cooking or not. This is a very personal choice to be made since t is not a requirement as well.

2. How Is Corned Beef Cooked?

Corned beef is cooked by boiling it instead of braising or smoking it like pastrami is cooked.

3. How Long Should Corned Beef Be Cooked For? 

A two to three-pound beef brisket needs at least three hours to be converted into corned beef.

Does Reuben’s Meat Come From? Know More

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