JayPo’s Penalty Boxed Lunch: The Hot Salami Sandwich

Do Missourians really eat this?

Welcome to JayPo’s Penalty Boxed Lunch where we explore food from around the country! This week’s third official entry comes from the great state of Missouri, for which I could have chosen a few different entries to represent the Show Me State and wound up going with the Hot Salami Sandwich.

Food History!

Made famous at the James Beard Award-winning Giola’s Deli in St. Louis, the hot salami sandwich has somehow become synonymous with Missouri. Is it considered the official state sandwich? In my research, two other sandwiches contest for the the crown. The first being the St. Paul Sandwich, which is an egg foo young patty, pickles, onions, mayo and lettuce on white bread.  This is apparently popular in the middle of the state. The second is call The Gerber which sounds slightly more appealing with garlic butter, ham, and provel cheese (lol) served open-faced on an Italian roll. With those delectable descriptions, it wasn’t hard to choose the hot salami sandwich, which is simply thick-cut salami fried up, pepperoncini, onion and mustard on an Italian roll.

How I Made It!

I ordered thick cut salami from the deli, fried it up with some onions, added sliced pepperoncini peppers, melted American and Mozzarella cheese (I wasn’t going to pay for provel), and honey mustard (haters gonna hate) on a grilled Italian roll. It was a fine utilitarian sandwich, but nothing I would ever fathom making again.

What Does a Local Think? (thanks to Laura from St. Louis Game Time)

Do you think the hot salami represents your state accurately?

I think it’s a great example of what the state can offer - Missouri’s had a lot of immigrants settle over the years and over time they’ve blended their traditional foods with Midwestern ingredients to make something special.

How do you make your sandwich?

I make mine with a ton of cheese and a bit thinner sliced salami, and if you can get it smushed down between two ripping hot cast iron skillets it’s just as good if not better than a sandwich press. Just be careful and don’t grab either handle absent-mindedly.

How did I do?

I think you did pretty well! It looks better than the “clean out my fridge” fried rice that I made for dinner tonight, that’s for sure.

Where do you order your favorite hot salami?

If someone has to ask where to go for one, I’d send them to Gioia’s Deli on The Hill, but any old-school Italian sandwich shop in STL can probably make a killer one if you can’t make it to Gioia’s.