Smoked Roast Beef with Spicy Cheddar Sauce—Lifeworks, Fort Worth, Texas
Ingredients: Eye of round, cheddar cheese sauce, local greens, frizzled onions, housemade brioche
Why it’s special: This is classic sandwich with a Texas twist—that smoky flavor, created by sous viding a big steak to an internal temperature of 128°F, cooling it completely then smoking it up a few degrees. The tomatoes are local, the onions are Tabasco-tinged and the cheese sauce has charred jalapenos.
Smoked BBQ Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese—Petersen Events Center at University of Pittsburgh
Ingredients: Smoked brisket, mac and cheese, barbecue sauce, Swiss cheese, French bread
Why it’s special: An unstoppable smoky, cheesy combo, this sandwich balances the ingredients so well it’s on the menu for an upcoming wedding. Here comes the barbecue!
Pimento Cheese Patty Melt—Virginia Commonwealth University
Ingredients: Beef patty, pimento cheese, fried green tomato, Texas toast
Why it’s special: Iconic diner classic, the patty melt, gets Southern-ed up with sassy pimento cheese and a crisp fried green tomato.
Why it’s special: Served at campus hot spot JJ’s Place, this sammie was part of an April Fool’s Day joke in which staff pretended it was everyone’s birthday who walked through the door, complete with games, decorations and cake. This nostalgic sandwich evokes party snacks perfectly.
PB&Chef J—Elon University
Ingredients: Three varieties of housemade peanut butter (made with local peanuts), three housemade jellies (made with local fruit), local bread, basil-balsamic reduction
Why it’s special: This PB&J on steroids was created for a chef’s takeover event, and the goal was “luxury.” We think that’s been achieved.