#PigOutOKC is brought to you by the Oklahoma Pork Council. Twice a month we’ll be delving into restaurants and recipes that bring home the bacon (among other delicious cuts of pork). Experiencing your own pork-fueled adventure? Use the hashtag #PigOutOKC to let the rest of us in on the fun.
One of the reasons I was so eager to work with the Oklahoma Pork Council on reviews and features is that pork, moreso even than chicken or turkey, is a true culinary chameleon. I believe Homer Simpson said it best when he was told that ham, bacon, and pork chops all come from the same creature.
“Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.”
Pork can be steaks, roasts, and stew meat. Grind it up for meatballs, or season and cure it for bacon or salami (you can have a little, as a treat). It’s the Room of Requirement of meat—whatever you need, it can be.
That got me thinking of another Room of Requirement food: sandwiches. Big or small, simple or elaborate, hot or cold, sandwiches are a form factor that can accommodate every taste and every situation. Which means sandwiches with pork are basically the perfect food for everyone (minus vegetarians, but that’s up to them).
So I’ve collected some of my favorite sandwiches from across the metro that include pork. I hope you see a few of your favorite on the list, but I’m even more hopeful that you’ll find some new ones to try. And, before you get upset with me, this is not a definitive list by any means.
3000 Paseo, OKC
Katsu Sando - $10
What I love about Gun Izakaya is absolutely everything. But I’m especially taken with their fried pork sandwich, the Katsu Sando, which shows off chef/owner/fashionable male Jeff Chanchaleune’s penchant for taking ideas two levels past where a normal brain would go. A sausage sandwich? Great. What if you smoked it first? Awesome. What if you pounded out the smoked sausage thinly, breaded, and fried it? Whoa. This dude gets it. Add on some spicy bulldog sauce and use the ridiculously supple milk bread Gun makes and you’ve got a sandwich for the ages.
427 NW 23rd St., OKC
Big John - small $7.39, whole $10.49, NY-size $17.99
Named for owner Eric Fossett’s grandfather, the Big John is a sandwich with a question: You think you’ve got what it takes?
With four different cured meats piled high on a hoagie roll—we’re talking salami, cotto salami, capicola, and mortadella—along with provolone, a basil vinaigrette, pepperoncini, and the usual mix of lettuce, tomato, and onion, this is the sandwich equivalent of training for a triathlon. Stretch before, during, and after.
11 NE Sixth St., OKC
Burger Pig - $8
Is a hamburger a sandwich? That’s a tough one. On the one hand, it clearly is. And that’s the only hand I care to look at right now, so let me tell you about the Burger Pig from Burger Pig—a burger made with a blend of ground pork and chorizo, topped with nutty manchego cheese, a dollop of bacon-tomato jam, a smattering of pickled red onions, and a toupee of arugula. Yeah. That’s how we’re going to talk about lettuce from now on.
This sandwich has spice without too much heat. The burger is juicy and wonderful. Even with pickled onions, my kids ate far more of this sandwich than I was willing to share; a fact that will certainly make an appearance in my will.
This Iz It
2831 NE 23rd St., OKC
Pork chop sandwich - $5.50
A bit farther down NE 23rd Street and most usually go, well on the way out to Spencer, diners will find This Iz It. Hard as it may be to forgo the chicken and waffles, I’m all about the fried pork chop sandwich with fries. It’s simple and straight to the point. Buttered, toasted bread topped by a fried pork chop and a couple pickle slices. Maybe hit it with some hot sauce if you’re feeling froggy, but it’s great all on its own.
121 NE Second St., OKC
Pork Frito - $6
Frito (often fritto) means “fried” in Italian. On Bar Cicchetti’s small menu of bocadillos (aka “snack sandwiches”) the pork frito is seasoned chopped pork, packed together into a patty, breaded, and fried. Then in gets a smear of lemon-caper aioli and a small wig of mustard greens. (I told you. We’re doing this.)
If I might make one minor suggestion: Bar Cicchetti makes their own peppadew hot sauce, which is tangy and has just the barest pop of heat. It’ll take the already tasty pork frito to new heights, if you’re so inclined.
C’est Si Bon
Multiple locations in the metro
Cochon De Lait - $8.99
Pork got a bad rap for years because nervous cooks were so scared of a little pink in their meat that they overcooked every drop of juice from it. Cochon de lait (“pig in milk”) is a dish of slow-roasted, shredded pork that really concentrates those natural flavors, with Creole mayonnaise and house-made coleslaw on an airy hoagie bun. It’s messy, but you won’t mind.
2524 North Military Ave., OKC
Charbroiled pork banh mi - $3
I love a banh mi and pork-as-filling is really the only way to go. Chicken is too mild a flavor to really stand up to the pickled veggies, cilantro, and raw jalapenos. But chargrilled pork? Oh, it’s got plenty of oomph. I love the way the meat caramelizes against the grill, adding layers of sweet and salty flavor to the juicy meat. Don’t worry about dripping, though—those freshly baked baguettes are basically like tasty Swiffers, soaking up all that juice so it can be unleashed when you take your next bite.
Back Door Barbecue
315 NW 23rd St., OKC
Q-ban - $9.50
The barbecue Cuban, or Q-ban, at Back Door Barbecue is a revelation on a ciabatta bun—one of my least-favorite breads, but it works like gangbusters here. Filled with pulled pork, smoked ham, fresh pickles, and melty Swiss cheese before it’s pressed and grilled to perfection, it’s the best new version of one of my favorite sandwiches of all time. You can get a lot of great food at Back Door, but the Q-ban is my must-have sandwich every time.
3701 N. Youngs Blvd., OKC
Weiner Schnitzel - $8.75
I definitely didn’t know what a weiner schnitzel was for a long time. I’m not from a German family, but I do come from a long line of hot dog eaters, so for years, I figured it was some kind of sausage.
It is not. Weiner schnitzel is like the best fried chicken sandwich you’ve ever had, except it’s not chicken. They take a pork loin cutlet, pound it out nice and thin, cover it in buttery bread crumbs, and fry it. It’s served with mayonnaise, lettuce, onion, and tomato on a pretzel bun. I love it. I love it so much. It’s buttery and sweet and crunchy and just so perfect. Get a cup of vegetable beef soup on the side. It’s also perfect. Oh, and a devil dog for dessert.
You know what? Don’t bother leaving Ingrid’s.
The Oklahoma Pork Council represents the interests all of pork producers throughout the state, promoting pork and pork products, funding research and educating consumers and producers about the pork industry. Learn more about the OPC, find recipes and more at OKPork.org.