The Big Sandwich

This is a PARTY sandwich here in New York. When I first discovered this was when I worked in a deli as a teenager. I ate my first one at a friend’s eighteenth birthday party. Back then they came in two sizes. They were 3 feet long or 6 foot long hero’s and you could even order them ½ American & ½ Italian or all American or all Italian. They came with mayo, mustard and Italian salad dressing. Back then MOST people would order the salads like potato salad, macaroni salad and cold slaw on the side.

Now you can order theses sandwiches as small as one foot to eat for lunch. They also come much bigger and in all shapes and sizes, but no matter what the size and shape I still LOVE them.

I even make my own. At least ones up to 3 or 4 feet. The key to any good sandwich is the bread. I like a good crusty Italian bread that is wide enough hold two slices of salami next to each other and over lap by half.

I shred the lettuce and slice the tomato, onion and roasted red pepper first. I also prefer the Board Head brand cold cuts found hear in New York. This brand was started in NYC in 1905. All except for the Salami, for that I like the Di Lusso brand.

below is how to build your very own New York style sandwich.


1 loaf of Italian bread, hoagie, or hero

1 pound of sliced deli ham or Hot Ham Capocollo (depending on bread size)

1 pound of sliced Pepperoni (depending on bread size)

1 pound of sliced Genoa Di Lusso salami (depending on bread size)

½ pound of sliced mild Provolone

½ head Lettuce (shredded)

 2 to 3 large Tomatoes (sliced)

Red onion (sliced thin) (optional)

Roasted red peppers (Sliced thin) (Optional)


Using a serrated knife, slice the bread in half lengthwise. Begin with the bottom half of the bread by layering on the deli ham as seen in the picture above. Then add the pepperoni and lastly salami for the meats. Now add a layer of mild provolone cheese. Cover the cheese with a layer of shredded lettuce. Shredded lettuce is lettuce that has been cut into thin strips. Most delis use their meat slicer to “slice” the lettuce, tomatoes and onions very thin. Cover the lettuce with the slices of tomato. If you want to add onion and roasted red peppers on top of the tomato add it now. Here in New York catering orders leave these item off the BIG sandwich but they may serve them on the side. I guess not everyone likes onion on their sandwich as much as I do.

Lastly slice the BIG sandwich into 2 inch slices and serve. Long frilly toothpicks can help keep each slice together.  

Again, these big three foot heroes get served with Italian salad dressing, mustard, and mayonnaise on the side, so people can have a choice of the condiment they want to put on their slice of the sandwich. I used mayo on my American Hero but I use Italian dressing on my Italian hero.

NOTES: I have a peace of wood made of pine that is 1/2 inch thick and 3 feet long. I wrap the board in parchment paper to support the sandwich but you could easy use some heavy duty cardboard too.

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