The Definitive Holiday Sandwich Ranking

Every year, I see people trying Thanksgiving knock it down a few pegs. I get it, the pilgrims were not the best house guests, but you'd be in a pissy mood too if you had spent so much time on a boat that didn't even have a buffet or water slides.

You can't create such a great holiday without a few black eyes. I'm sure the whole smallpox blanket fiasco was a complete accident. I doubt that someone gave a bunch of blankets to Sarah Goodwife, had her cough up a lung all over them, and then said "here's a good gift for the Wampanoag." These are some of the same people who drowned women because they thought their ability to do math meant they were witches. I question their understanding of infectious diseases and biological warfare.

But maybe I'm wrong and they knew precisely what they were doing, in which case, they're complete scumbags.

Regardless, Thanksgiving is without a doubt my favorite holiday. It's nothing but food and football. I guess you could throw "family" in there for a nice tidy triumvirate of Fs. Fortunately, food and football can help you avoid that last one.

One of the best things leading up to Thanksgiving Day is that it's Holiday Sandwich Season. To me, a holiday sandwich is any sandwich that marries succulent roast turkey with tart cranberry sauce, As long as those two requirements are met, feel free to experiment.

I love these so much that I decided to test some of them for you, not because I had to but because I'm a hero.

Each contender is going to get a score out of 10. Just like diving or one of those other dumb Olympic sports where you win and lose based on the Russian judge's mood.

Publix Turkey Cranberry Holiday Sub

Publix is the grocery store equivalent of the Upright Citizens Brigade in that anyone who goes there will try to find weave into any conversation that they possibly can. It's a Florida staple like beaches, sunshine, and bath salts.

Publix's offering consists of oven-roasted turkey, smoked gruyere cheese, bacon, and cranberry-orange relish.

Major props to them for trying something different than the rest of the crowd. They could've just thrown some stuffing on their or dunked it in gravy and called it a day, but that isn't the Publix way.

The stand-outs in this li'l fella are the smoked gouda and the bacon. The smokiness and saltiness go nicely with the tart cranberry orange relish.

But tradition is a big part of Thanksgiving for a lot of people and if you're one of those traditionalists, this isn't going to be what you're looking for. For that, I have to take away a couple of points.

Still, I thought it was delicious.

Get the Italian five-grain bread and get that shit pressed. You're welcome.

Score: 7.9

Wawa Gobbler

Arguably the State of Pennsylvania's greatest East-West rivalry is between two convenience store chains that can churn out some really good food: Sheetz and Wawa

I grew up in the central part of the state, the DMZ of the Great Sheetz-Wawa War. However, while there were no Wawas anywhere near where I lived, I still heard the legends of a heroic sandwich that only appeared for a few months each autumn, like Thanksgiving's version of the Great Pumpkin: The Gobbler.

Consisting of turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and gravy nestled within a soft, yet fairly sturdy hoagie roll, it's your prototypical holiday sandwich.

The Gobbler is the sandwich that tastes the most like the Thanksgivings I'm familiar with and was the sandwich with the most dominant turkey flavor. Some might prefer that, but I see the turkey as the foundation of the sandwich, while the other ingredients are the ones that garner the oohs and aahs.

It's a messy and delicious sandwich that might give Wawa the edge in its war with Sheetz.

Score: 8.8

Earl of Sandwich Holiday Turkey

I feel I need to be transparent here: this was the sandwich that made me fall in love with the holiday sandwich genre, so perhaps I'm blinded by the white-hot passion of a first love. I'll do my best to remain objective.

People (read: me) forget that Earl of Sandwich is a national chain and not just one of the most wallet-friendly dining options at Walt Disney World's shopping and dining complex, Disney Springs.

This pretty lady features turkey, cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing, gravy, mayo (a weird flex, but I'll allow it) piled onto "Artisan" bread so you know it's good.

That artisan bread is one of the keys to this sammich's greatness. I'm a big proponent of sandwich structural integrity. It's often the most overlooked aspect of sandwich design, which is a travesty. It's especially important in the holiday sandwich world as the guts of the sandwich can be pretty messy. Earl of Sandwich's bread has this all nailed. It's perfectly toasted and keeps all the goodness intact and not all over your shorts.

Anyone with a weird thing for texture may not like the softer insides, but that's a problem you'll run into with any holiday sandwich. The toasted bread also takes care of this by giving the outside a nice, light crispiness.

The cornbread stuffing is a standout. It offers up a little additional sweetness that plays well with the cranberry sauce and the gravy.

All-in-all it's perfect.

Score: 10


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